By Brad Meyer | Published 08/07/2020 | USF Football
It was just a few months ago when ESPN's Phil Steele came out with his ranking of college football schedules (visit thread here). The South Florida Bulls were named as having the second toughest strength of schedule in college football.
In a rebuilding year, that may not sound so exciting. But for fans, playing a strong schedule is so much more entertaining than beating up on undermanned teams. Surely it limits your chances for the "undefeated season" and a claim for a "national championship", but we'll leave that phoniness for others to strive for.
The Bulls non-conference opponents have slowly walked away from the agreed upon schedule. Starting with Bethune-Cookman in July, the schedule is slowly being unwound. The Wildcats, members of the MEAC, came off the schedule as the conference canceled all fall sports. B-C would have been the Bulls home opener falling a season-opener at Texas.
Yes, Texas. The one-game road trip that started as a three game series featuring the new Charlie Strong against his former team, the Longhorns. After a shortening to one game in Austin, it appears the Bulls will not be the selected non-con game on the Longhorns Covid-adjusted schedule, despite GoUSFBulls.com still listing it as happening on September 5. Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope, still.
Also on that GoUSFBulls.com schedule is a home game against the Nevada Wolf Pack, on September 19. However, on the official Wolf Pack site, the game at South Florida has been erased. The Mountain West allows its members to play two non-conference opponents in 2020. The Bulls apparently did not make the cut.
In recent days, the American Athletic announced its conference football plan. The Bulls will play a conference schedule (hopefully) of eight games while granted the permission to schedule up to four non-conference games.
The Bulls still have in-state FAU on the schedule. It was originally to be played in Boca Raton on September 26. As far as it is known, the game is still on. This game has an intrigue factor as the Owls are currently coached by two former USF head coaches Willie Taggart (Head Coach) and Jim Leavitt (Defensive Coordinator) along with other familiar names like Raymond Woodie and Kevin Patrick.
With Bethune-Cookman a solid out and Texas and Nevada inching closer to the door each day, what are the Bulls options? Differing opinions on non-conference opponents abound. Some believe we should stay regional and reduce costs. Traveling to a top program likely would not result in the typical pay day game either. So, who to schedule?
At this point we're not even sure of how fans will be involved, regarding seating, tailgating, etc. At this point, it really is a "what's best for the team" situation. And what is best for the team is low-cost games. The more the better. As coach Jeff Scott begins his rebuild, the Bulls cannot go without games. Certainly practices can take the team a long way, but competition will help to build the team and shape its camaraderie for next season and beyond.
So please, let's let not negatively criticize the new schedule as it comes about. Yes we had the second best schedule in the country - now we just need games. After all, we should all be grateful for a program willing to play and ready to get student-athletes and fans back to some form of normalcy.
For a look at potential new opponents, please visit this link. It will take you to the main forum and a current discussion on available teams by date.