This doesn't have much to do with UF, but it includes an SEC team and a state team, so let's discuss.
(YES! Please God, let these teams play each other in a bowl game.)
When Saban was asked why a team like USF is doing so well this season, his answer implied that USF players could have played at UF or FSU. If they had the grades.
First of all, we all know FSU takes anyone with a UF rejection letter, so I have a problem with the implication that UF and FSU are on the same academic level. (I'm also a huge UF snob, can you tell?) And while every university has student-athletes who probably wouldn't get in without their athletic talent, I can't believe Saban would make a blanket statement like that. According to US News and World Report, Bama and USF are both considered "more selective". But to support Saban's claims, Bama is 91 in the US News rankings and USF is unranked in the third tier with Ole Miss, LSU, West Virginia, and Louisville. (UF is 49, Miami 52, and FSU is 112.) However, USF is third place in the state when it comes to funding where Alabama is a flagship university.
The real reason why USF got so good so quickly is where Leavitt is recruiting; Tampa Bay. Think about this...USF doesn't have the money that UF or FSU has to travel to recruit kids, so the staff stays local. It also helps that USF has campuses in St. Pete, Lakeland, and Sarasota. If you include Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties as Tampa Bay Area counties, a whopping 40 kids are from those seven counties.
It seems like everyone loves to talk about how fast kids from Miami and Daytona are, and how big the linemen in North Florida can be. But Plant, Hillsborough, Armwood, Jefferson, Lakeland, Sarasota Booker, and Manatee have been competing for state titles for a decade. Leavitt and Urban have figured out how much talent was under recruited here. (Perhaps you've heard of the Lakeland Dreadnaught Association at UF?) But guys like Saban get excited over five stars in Miami who are recruited by 14 schools. Plus, the Tampa Bay kids have a chip on their shoulder.
As much as USF is excited over their top-10 ranking, getting called out by a SEC team is a sign you've arrived. Now, let's see if the Bulls can handle the heat.