TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 1: Coach Skip Holtz of the South Florida Bulls directs play against the West Virginia Mountaineers December 1, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
(I made one change to the story. Didn't know the onside kick rule had changed to pretty much outlaw those high one-hoppers, so that's why USF's onside kick seemed so dumb. There's probably no good way to onside kick now.)
High-stakes poker players don't obsess that much over the money they win or lose. Sure, they need to protect their bankroll, but they think about it in a different way. They believe if they make good decisions, they'll come out ahead in the long run.
In an individual hand, though, luck takes over. You can make a great read of your opponent, get all your money in as a big favorite, and get outdrawn. Good process, bad outcome. Or you can get your money in weak, but still win. Bad process, good outcome. USF's win over Nevada was definitely a case of bad process, good outcome.
There were so many reasons USF shouldn't have won the game. Like the 13 penalties for 107 yards, including two pairs of back-to-back pre-snap fouls. Or B.J. Daniels sailing about 10 different passes. Or the ongoing special teams Dumpster fire. Today it was a double-clutch snap that led to a missed extra point, Terrence Mitchell muffing a wobbly punt at the sideline, Lindsey Lamar running a kickoff out from deep in the end zone and barely making it to the 10-yard line,
whatever the hell that onside kick was supposed to be, and a bad punt snap that Justin Brockhaus-Kann couldn't handle and did an amazing job just to get the kick away.
Here was the epitome of bad process, good outcome. I didn't have time to count it myself and I won't get to see a replay until Monday... but remember the Nevada fumble right at the goal line that USF recovered? On that play and the play before it, Collin swears the Bulls only had 10 players on the field. Talk about sucking out on the river.
While it's good for us because it makes our blogging experience much richer, this is a pretty unstable team so far, and the disorganization and bad decision-making on this team is reaching a critical point. You can't have back-to-back false starts inside your own 10-yard line and then call a timeout. You can't punt from midfield down by 11 with seven minutes to go when your defense is tired and has given up almost 500 yards to that point. (Another bad process, good outcome.) Maybe it was the heat of the moment, or the heat, or everyone underestimating how good Nevada really is, but the fans in the USF section and the fans sending tweets to me were absolutely disgusted with how things were going. It really felt like a loss could have been a tipping point, where fans lost faith in Skip Holtz and he would have to win them back.
And then Daniels throws it deep, and the ball's in the air for what seems like 30 seconds, hovering right in front of us in the stadium, and Andre Davis (what a game he had) is in single coverage, and the defender's grabbing him, and he's running under the ball, and it doesn't matter. Ship it.