What Does "Rock Bottom" Really Look Like?

Brian Blanco

We all toss that phrase around a lot after every game USF plays, but maybe we need to clearly define what "rock bottom" really could look like.

Every week, it seems like Collin calls me or texts me after a USF loss and tells me, "This is it, we're at rock bottom, this is the bottom."

Maybe it's rock bottom on the field. The Bulls weren't competitive at all against Miami. They struggled to move the ball until the Hurricanes pulled their starters. They gave up 540 yards of offense and 49 points, and that was with Miami being charitable and punting deep in USF territory late to limit the damage. There was some noticeable give-up in some of the players -- go back and look at a couple of those Duke Johnson runs late in the first half where it looked like the Bulls were letting him score. USF doesn't belong on the same field as Miami right now, nor do they belong on a field with a lot of other teams.

But it's not rock bottom off the field. It can get a lot worse than that. Rock bottom for the program is something that cannot be recovered from. Rock bottom is if for whatever reason, Willie Taggart can't get it turned around. Rock bottom is when the program is a complete mess, filled with players who can't play, fans who don't care, coaches who aren't interested in taking on the task, and no money to do anything about it anyway.

Rock bottom is a derelict program like UAB, another young, metropolitan school where it seemed like the most obvious thing in the world to start a football program. They were in Birmingham, surrounded by talent, and certainly they could grab enough players to build a competitive team after Alabama and Auburn got their fill. But they never got there. Never really got close.

Sure, UAB has a steep hill to climb because their trustees -- a bunch of possibly vengeful Bammers -- stifle their best intentions to grow the program. (They've wanted an on-campus stadium for awhile, but the trustees spiked it a few years ago, and now their new president won't reconsider.) But the Blazers aren't good at anything. They play in a semi-condemned stadium, they missed out on two chances to get out of Conference USA, and you don't hear anything about any of their teams unless they're losing by 40 points to some SEC school for a paycheck. Rock bottom is when no one cares, and you feel like a sucker because you still do. Rock bottom is when you power cycle through coaches and ADs and none of them can turn things around. Rock bottom is when even die-hard fans lose hope that things will ever get better.

If you think rock bottom can't happen here... keep being patient. Keep sitting on your hands and rationalizing and accepting excuses. Don't ask any tough questions. Don't #DoSomething. Rock bottom might just get here, and you won't realize that's where we ended up until it's too late.

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