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South Florida Bulls football
AmericanFootball current event.svg.png Current season
100px 150px
First season 1997 (FCS), 2001 (FBS)
Head coach Skip Holtz
Home stadium Raymond James Stadium
Stadium capacity 66,321 (41,441 lower bowl)
Stadium surface Grass, Tifway Bermuda 419
Location Tampa, Florida
Conference Big East
All-time record 103–62
Postseason bowl record 4–2
Current uniform
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Colors Green and Gold            
Fight song Golden Brahman March
Marching band Herd of Thunder
Website GoUSFBulls.com

The South Florida 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 Big East Conference. 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.[1] 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 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.[2] South Florida is also home to senior defensive end George Selvie, who was named the school's first Consensus All-American in 2007.[3]

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 Florida Atlantic University, and jumping 3 more spots to #2 with 11 first place votes after beating the University of Central Florida. 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 the unranked Oregon Ducks 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, the East Carolina Pirates on December 23, 2006 in the Papajohns.com Bowl. The previous year, USF lost to the NC State Wolfpack 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 [1]. Leavitt maintains he never struck the player, but was merely trying to console him, and is currently suing USF.[4]

On January 14, 2010, Skip Holtz was named head coach.[5]

HistoryEdit

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Division I-AA
Year Overall Record Conference Standing Bowl Game
Independent
1997 5 - 6 N/A N/A
1998 8 - 3 N/A N/A
1999 7 - 4 N/A N/A
2000 7 - 4 N/A N/A
Division I-A
Year Overall Record Conference Standing Bowl Game
Independent
2001 8 - 3 N/A N/A
2002 9 - 2 N/A N/A
Conference USA
2003 7 - 4 5 - 3 T - 3rd
2004 4 - 7 3 - 5 T - 6th
Big East
2005 6 - 6 4 - 3 T - 3rd Meineke Car Care [L], vs North Carolina State 0-14
2006 9 - 4 4 - 3 T - 4th Papajohns.com [W], vs East Carolina 24-7
2007 9 - 4 4 - 3 T - 3rd Sun [L], vs Oregon 21-56
2008 8 - 5 2 - 5 6th St. Petersburg [W], vs Memphis 41-14
2009 8 - 5 3 - 4 T - 4th International [W], vs Northern Illinois 27-3
2010 8 - 5 3 - 4 T - 5th Meineke Car Care [W], vs Clemson 31-26
2011 5 - 7 1 - 6
Total 107-66 29-34

StadiumEdit

File:USF football game vs UCF.jpg

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 Citadel in front of 32,598 fans.[6] 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,[7] (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.[8] The Bulls played at Houlihan's Stadium in 1997.

The Bulls have continued to enjoy a winning edge in Raymond James, building a 43-11 record since 1998.[9] , including one streak of 21 straight victories at home.[10]

Current Pro PlayersEdit

National Football League (10)


Arena Football League (7)

Canadian Football League(1)

United Football League(4)

Free Agents(11)

MediaEdit

Bulls football games currently air on the radio in Tampa on 970 WFLA-AM. 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 Big East Conference, most games can be seen on one of the many channels ESPN owns.

RivalsEdit

Due to the youth of the program and the aggressive growth that it has experienced, establishing a permanent rival has posed somewhat of a challenge. Rapidly changing conference affiliations and a quick ascension through the NCAA football ranks have made an annual rivalry difficult. On the heels of upsets that have garnered national attention, the seeds of rivalry have been planted with powers such as Louisville and West Virginia. Additionally, due to the close geographic proximity of the two schools, the University of Central Florida has expressed interest in extending their four game series with the Bulls' by establishing an annual home-and-home series. However, according to the Tampa Tribune report released on 7 July 2007, USF does not plan on renewing the game with UCF after 2008.[11]

Likely candidates for a future rivalry game include Louisville, another former member of Conference USA before its move to the Big East; West Virginia; Rutgers; and Miami, with whom USF has announced a 6-year series to be played on Thanksgiving weekend. The last 4 games of the USF/UM series (2010–2013) will be televised by one of the ESPN networks on Thanksgiving weekend.[12] With UM locked up for 6 years, USF appears very unlikely to continue the series with UCF, but instead seems focused on potentially establishing a rivalry with Miami.[13] After the 2009 win against #18 Florida State University (USF-17 FSU-7), FSU is another potential candidate for a huge in-state rival.[citation needed]

Recently the Big East Conference plans to create a 12 team model that includes the UCF Knights. While the conference expansion landscape of college football is fluid, the addition of UCF to the Big East would indeed jump start the "The War on I-4" again. A rivalry between South Florida and UCF will easily reform, especially if UCF is able to knock off the Bulls in their first few seasons in the league.

To date the most likely rivalries grow in the future for South Florida include West Virginia, Rutgers, Miami, and UCF.

For more on the USF-UCF games, see The War on I-4.

Logos and uniformsEdit

File:BigEast-Uniform-USF-2008-2009.png

Statistics and rankingsEdit

  • 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.[14]
  • USF has won every home opener in school history (11-0).
  • Bill Gramatica holds the record for the longest field goal in school history at 63 yards.[15]
  • USF plays in the largest stadium (65,657), the stadium with the largest student section (12,501) and has the largest enrollment (44,038) of any school in the Big East.[16]
  • USF was ranked for the first time exactly 10 years and 10 days after its inaugural game against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997.[16]
  • 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.[16]
  • 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.[16]
  • The same can be said about the top-5 ranking, which took USF 107 weeks to achieve.[16]

School SongsEdit

Golden Brahman March (Fight Song)

Chorus:
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)

Alma Mater

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!

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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