Winning streaks on the line in TCU-South Florida

Updated: October 9, 2003, 9:01 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Something has to give Friday night when 18th-ranked TCU puts a share of the nation's second-longest winning streak on the line against Conference USA newcomer South Florida.

The Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-0 C-USA) are one of 11 Division I-A teams that remain undefeated. Their string of seven consecutive victories ties them with Oklahoma and Minnesota -- 13 behind Ohio State's nation-best 20-game winning streak.

South Florida (3-1, 2-0), meanwhile, has won 21 in a row at home, second to Miami's streak of 25 straight at the Orange Bowl.

"One team's is going to break," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

"The important thing to remember is that if you lose that doesn't mean you're out of the conference race. You still have a chance. We lost twice last year and were still able to win the conference."

South Florida is making quite an impression in its inaugural season in C-USA. The Bulls won their conference opener 28-0 at Army two weeks ago and pulled what arguably was the biggest win in the program's seven-year history when they beat Louisville 31-28 in double overtime Saturday.

TCU, coming off a 27-0 victory over Army, becomes the first team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 to visit Raymond James Stadium. South Florida lost its only other game against a ranked opponent, 31-14 at Oklahoma last season.

"Every game is a big win to me," Leavitt said of last week's win over previously unbeaten Louisville. "Any time you win a game it is big, I don't care who you're playing."

Patterson said Leavitt has done an outstanding job and called the Bulls a "great addition" to the conference.

"It exposes people to a different part of the country," Patterson said.

"For our kids, it allows them to go to a place in the country they may have never seen. A lot of them have never been outside the state of Texas. It lets them understand other parts of the United States. That's part of the college experience, and it makes them really appreciate what they have and are able to do here."

TCU has thrived despite key injuries, including the shoulder separation that's sidelined quarterback Tye Gunn the past three games. Brandon Hassell filled in, leading victories over Vanderbilt, Arizona and Army.

Patterson said Gunn, who's 6-0 as a starter, will start against South Florida. Hassell will play, too.

"You have to have someone who is confident and patient against a team like South Florida," Patterson said. "I've been saying this all along: we won't win because of Tye Gunn but with him using the people around him."

Leavitt said the Horned Frogs are formidable with Gunn or Hassell.

"They are both very good," Leavitt said. "They both can throw, and they both can run, and they are both very capable."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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