South Florida Bulls football
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (January 2010)|
|USF Bulls football|
|First season||1997 (FCS), 2001 (FBS)|
|Head coach||Willie Taggart|
|Home stadium||Raymond James Stadium|
|Stadium capacity||66,321 (41,441 lower bowl)|
|Stadium surface||Grass, Tifway Bermuda 419|
|All-time record||103–62 (.624)|
|Postseason bowl record||4–2|
Green and Gold
|Fight song||Golden Brahman March|
|Marching band||Herd of Thunder|
The USF Bulls football team represents the University of South Florida in the sport of American football. The Bulls compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Athletic Conference (The American). The team plays its home games in Tampa, Florida. The Bulls began playing in 1997, holding their first team meeting under a shade tree as the school had no proper football facilities on campus. Jim Leavitt, previously the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, was hired as the team's first head coach.
After competing their first four years as a Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) independent, the Bulls moved to Division I-A, now Division I FBS, in 2001 but remained independent. They joined Conference USA in 2003 until becoming a member of the Big East Conference in 2005.
The Bulls' starting quarterback for the 2007 South Florida Bulls football team was sophomore Matt Grothe, who was awarded the Big East Rookie of the Year award in 2006 after being the most productive freshman in total offense with 258.5 yards per game. South Florida was also home to defensive end George Selvie, who was named the school's first Consensus All-American in 2007.
South Florida received increased press coverage for their upsets of Top 25 ranked teams such as West Virginia (in 2006 and 2007), Louisville (in 2005) and Auburn (in 2007) and the Florida State Seminoles (2009). The 2007 football season marked their first ascent into the AP Poll, first placing at #23, rising to #18 in Week 4, jumping to #6 after the win against West Virginia, rising one more spot to #5 in week 6 after a victory over FAU, and jumping 3 more spots to #2 with 11 first place votes after beating UCF. The Bulls' high ranking was short lived, as South Florida lost its next 3 games and tumbled out of the rankings. However, the Bulls rebounded towards the end of the season, finishing the regular season ranked #21 in the BCS standings and #23 in the AP poll. Following their final regular season game, they faced unranked Oregon in the Brut Sun Bowl. Oregon defeated the Bulls by the score of 56-21, in which USF set a Sun Bowl record for most points allowed to an opponent. USF was dropped from the national rankings in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today polls following the loss in this bowl game.
USF won its first bowl game in its second bowl appearance with a victory over former Conference USA rivals, East Carolina on December 23, 2006 in the Papajohns.com Bowl. The previous year, USF lost to NC State in the Bulls' first-ever bowl appearance, the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Leavitt remained as the team's head coach throughout this period. He was fired on January 8, 2010 after an investigation revealed that during halftime of a game against Louisville, he grabbed a player by the shoulder pads and struck him across the face two times. The investigation also claimed that Leavitt interfered with the investigation by telling several coaches and players to change their stories . Leavitt maintains he never struck the player, but was merely trying to console him, and after a wrongful termination suit against USF, the school eventually settled with Leavitt for $2.75 million. Leavitt went on to serve as linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers, which in his first season as an NFL coach, 2011, reached the NFC Championship for the first time since 1997.
On January 14, 2010, Skip Holtz was named the teams 2nd head coach. His firing from USF was announced by Doug Woolard on December 2, 2012 after 3 seasons. Holtz was subsequently hired by Louisiana Tech as its new head coach.
After a period of turmoil in the conference during the early 2010s led to a formal conference split along football lines in 2013, the FBS schools in the original Big East, including South Florida, will reorganize as The American Athletic Conference effective in July 2013.
- Statistics correct as of the end of the 2012-13 college football season
|NCAA Division I champions||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Bowl Eligible||Undefeated Season|
|Year||NCAA Division||Conference||Conference Division||Overall||Conference||Coach||Final Ranking|
|1997||I-AA||Division I-AA Independent||N/A||11||5||6||0||.455||0||0||0||0||.000||N/A||Jim Leavitt||-|
|1998||I-AA||Division I-AA Independent||N/A||11||8||3||0||.727||0||0||0||0||.000||N/A||Jim Leavitt||-|
|1999||I-AA||Division I-AA Independent||N/A||11||7||4||0||.636||0||0||0||0||.000||N/A||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2000||I-AA||Division I-AA Independent||N/A||11||7||4||0||.636||0||0||0||0||.000||N/A||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2005||I-A||Big East||N/A||12||6||6||0||.500||7||4||3||0||.571||T-3rd||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2006||FBS||Big East||N/A||13||9||4||0||.692||7||4||3||0||.571||T-4th||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2007||FBS||Big East||N/A||13||9||4||0||.692||7||4||3||0||.571||T-3rd||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2008||FBS||Big East||N/A||13||8||5||0||.615||7||2||5||0||.286||6th||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2009||FBS||Big East||N/A||13||8||5||0||.615||7||3||4||0||.429||T-4th||Jim Leavitt||-|
|2010||FBS||Big East||N/A||13||8||5||0||.615||7||3||4||0||.429||T-5th||Skip Holtz||-|
|2011||FBS||Big East||N/A||12||5||7||0||.417||7||1||6||0||.143||T-7th||Skip Holtz||-|
|2012||FBS||Big East||N/A||12||3||9||0||.250||7||1||6||0||.143||8th||Skip Holtz||-|
|2013||FBS||The American||N/A||0||0||0||0||.000||0||0||0||0||.000||TBD||Willie Taggart||-|
Bowl game appearances
|2005||December 31, 2005||Meineke Car Care Bowl||L||NC State||0||14||Jim Leavitt||notes|
|2006||December 23, 2006||PapaJohns.com Bowl||W||East Carolina||24||7||Jim Leavitt||notes|
|2007||December 31, 2007||Sun Bowl||L||Oregon||21||56||Jim Leavitt||notes|
|2008||December 20, 2008||St. Petersburg Bowl||W||Memphis||41||14||Jim Leavitt||notes|
|2009||January 2, 2010||International Bowl||W||NIU||27||3||Jim Leavitt||notes|
|2010||December 31, 2010||Meineke Car Care Bowl||W||Clemson||31||26||Skip Holtz||notes|
|Total||6 bowl games||4–2||144||120|
Raymond James Stadium is a $168.5 million facility which opened September 20, 1998 with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Chicago Bears. Two weeks later, the Bulls debuted in their new home with a 45-6 win over The Citadel in front of 32,598 fans. From 1998 to 2007, only the lower half of the stadium has been typically opened for USF games, allowing for a capacity of 41,441, although the upper deck has been opened numerous times to accommodate crowds in excess of what the lower bowl can handle. However, as of 2008, USF has opened the upper deck for every home game and is selling season tickets in the upper deck as well. The largest crowd to see the Bulls play a home game came on September 28, 2007 against then #5 ranked West Virginia, when 67,012 saw the #18 Bulls win. The Bulls played at Houlihan's Stadium in 1997.
Current Pro Players
National Football League (14)
- Nate Allen - Safety, Philadelphia Eagles
- Mike Jenkins - Cornerback, Oakland Raiders
- Terrell McClain - Defensive Tackle, Carolina Panthers
- Carlton Mitchell - Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
- Jerome Murphy - Cornerback, St. Louis Rams
- Stephen Nicholas - Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons
- Jason Pierre-Paul - Defensive End, New York Giants
- Mistral Raymond - Safety, Minnesota Vikings
- George Selvie - Defensive End, Dallas Cowboys
- Jacquian Williams - Linebacker, New York Giants
- Kayvon Webster - Cornerback, Denver Broncos
- Maikon Bonani - Placekicker, Tennesee Titans
- Sam Barrington - Linebacker, Green Bay Packers
- B.J. Daniels - Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Arena Football League (7)
- Jarriett Buie - Defensive End, Tampa Bay Storm
- Richard Clebert - Defensive Line, Tampa Bay Storm
- Glen Gaunt - Quarterback, Orlando Predators
- Matt Grothe - Quarterback, Orlando Predators
- DeAndrew Rubin - Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Storm
- Terrence Royal - Defensive End, Tampa Bay Storm
- Ryan Schmidt - Offensive Guard, Orlando Predators
Canadian Football League(1)
United Football League(4)
- Frank Davis - Offensive Guard, Las Vegas Locomotives
- Taurus Johnson - Wide Receiver, Hartford Colonials
- JR Reed - Safety, Florida Tuskers
- Huey Whittaker - Wide Receiver, Florida Tuskers
- Jeremy Burnett - Strong Safety, Free Agent
- Marc Dile - Offensive Guard, Free Agent
- Andre Hall - Running Back, Free Agent
- Anthony Henry - Cornerback, Free Agent
- Matt Huners - Offensive Guard, Free Agent
- Amarri Jackson - Wide Receiver, Free Agent
- Tyrone McKenzie - Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Kawika Mitchell - Linebacker, New Orleans Saints
- Ben Moffitt - Linebacker, Free Agent
- Trae Williams - Cornerback, Free Agent
- Kion Wilson - Linebacker, San Diego Chargers
Bulls football games currently air on the radio in Tampa on Sports Radio 98.7 The Fan WHFS-FM. Play-by-play man Jim Louk is teamed with color analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Robinson in the booth for the broadcasts. Many of the televised games air locally on ESPN Plus outlet WFTS-TV. Some replays of the games can be seen on Bright House Sports Network. Due to USF's affiliation in the American Athletic Conference, most games can be seen on one of the many channels ESPN owns.
As a young program that has grown rapidly and shifted conferences several times, USF has developed few lasting rivalries. The most noteworthy has been the UCF–USF football rivalry against in-state opponents the University of Central Florida Knights. The matchup had been the subject of much discussion and fan enthusiasm since the 1990s, but it was not until 2005 that a game was scheduled. The two schools met in a four-year home-and-away series through 2008. USF won each of the matches, which drew substantial crowds, but declined to schedule any further games. However, the series resumed as an annual conference game when UCF joined the Big East in 2013.
Before major conference realignment in the early 2010s, candidates for a future rivalry game included Louisville, another former member of Conference USA before its move to the Big East/The American; West Virginia; Rutgers; and Miami, with whom USF began a 6-year Thanksgiving weekend series in 2008. The last 4 games of the USF/UM series (2010–2013) will be televised by one of the ESPN networks. Louisville and Rutgers will both leave The American after the 2013 season, respectively for the ACC and Big Ten.
Logos and uniforms
Statistics and rankings
- The Bulls received their first ever pre-season Top 25 ranking on August 1, 2007 when they and head coach Jim Leavitt were ranked #21 in the Coaches Poll.
- Bill Gramatica holds the record for the longest field goal in school history at 63 yards.
- USF was ranked for the first time exactly 10 years and 10 days after its inaugural game against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997.
- USF rose at an unprecedented pace, earning an AP ranking 104 polls after becoming a full-time, bowl eligible FBS member in 2001. Boise State had the previous record, getting ranked after 115 AP polls during their seventh season.
- USF became the fastest team in the modern era of college football to go from upstart NCAA FBS school to a top-10 ranking on Sunday, Sept. 30. There were 106 AP polls and 112 Coaches Polls since USF became a full-time FBS member in 2001.
- The same can be said about the top-5 ranking, which took USF 107 weeks to achieve.
Golden Brahman March (Fight Song)
- USF Bulls are we,
- We hold our standard upright and free.
- For Green and Gold we stand united.
- Our beacon lighted and noble to see.
- USF Bulls are we,
- For USF will always be.
- With all our might we fight the battle
- here and now, and we will win the victory!
- Shout: S-O-U-T-H F-L-O-R-I-D-A
- South Florida, South Florida
- Go Bulls!
- (return to chorus)
- Hail to Thee, our Alma Mater
- May thy name be told,
- Where above thy gleaming splendor,
- Waves the green and gold.
- Thou our guide in quest for knowledge.
- Where we all are free
- University of South Florida,
- Alma Mater, Hail to thee!
- Be our guide in truth and wisdom
- As we onward go,
- May thy glory, fame and honor
- Never cease to grow;
- May our thoughts and prayers
- be with thee through eternity,
- University of South Florida,
- Alma Mater, Hail to thee!
Future non-conference opponents
|Western Carolina||Florida A&M||Towson||Stony Brook||Elon|
|Maryland||Indiana||at Indiana||Illinois||at Illinois|
|NC State||at Maryland||Florida State||Wisconsin||Michigan State|
|at Wisconsin||at Florida State|
- Hayes, Matt (2007-10-05). "Meet the driving force behind South Florida". Rivals.com. Retrieved 2005-10-05.
- Official Big East website
- "Ex-coach Jim Leavitt sues USF". tampabay.com. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- http://www.tampabay.com/sports/college/usf-settles-ex-coach-jim-leavitts-lawsuit-for-275-million/1144945. Missing or empty
- "South Florida Hires Skip Holtz". ncaafootball.fanhouse.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- McMurphy, Brett (December 2, 2012). "USF fires Skip Holtz, sources say". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/south-florida-hires-willie-taggart-to-take-over-struggling-football-program/2012/12/08/84e8ae90-4142-11e2-8a5c-473797be602c_story.html. Missing or empty
- University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 12
- University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 10, sixth paragraph.
- University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide. Includes the 2006 results
- University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 142, 1st game of 2000 season to 4th game of 2003 season
- Greg Auman (September 6, 2008). "Should USF play UCF every year?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- Greg Auman (April 29, 2011). "USF says no contracts proposed for football with UCF". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- Mike Bianchi (December 7, 2011). "Finally, Big East gives UCF some much-needed good news". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Sports: USF adds statement series with Hurricanes
- Bill Gramatica - ArenaFootball.com — The Official Web site of the Arena Football League AFL
- Game Preview: UCF at No. 5 USF - GoUSFBulls.com—Official Athletics Web Site of the University of South Florida