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South Florida hoping to shed perception as underachievers with strong stretch run in Big East

Five years after soaring into the limelight as one of the nation's fastest growing college football programs, the South Florida Bulls are struggling to become relevant again.

An uncharacteristic 2-3 start has drawn attention to a shaky won-loss record that suggests USF's meteoric rise not only has leveled off, but is in gradual decline.

The Bulls have yet to win a Big East title, much less flirt again with the level of success they achieved while climbing to No. 2 in the country in October 2007.

Skip Holtz's team dropped its conference opener to Rutgers last month and returns to league play Saturday at Temple hoping to end a three-game skid that includes a road slipup at Ball State and last week's 13-point home loss to then fourth-ranked Florida State.