The USF football team will be going bowling for a sixth straight year when they travel to Charlotte, N.C. to take on Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The game is on Friday, Dec. 31 and is scheduled for a 12 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.
"It's a great honor to be selected by the Meineke Car Care Bowl," said USF Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard. "Executive Director Will Webb, Charlotte Collegiate Football and the wonderful volunteers associated with the bowl have established a terrific reputation for hosting a game and event that is truly first class. We had the opportunity to experience their hospitality firsthand, when we made our inaugural bowl trip to Charlotte in 2005. Our fans had a wonderful time and there is no doubt they will be very excited to return."
The Bulls finished the regular season 7-5, winning four of its last six, including two overtime victories, with all six games being decided by fewer than eight points, and the two losses by seven or less. This will mark USF's second trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, having made their inaugural bowl-game appearance in 2005. The game will be the first-ever meeting between USF and Clemson, as the Bulls look to increase their streak of eight-win seasons to five.
"I'm extremely excited for this coaching staff, these players and our fan base about having the opportunity to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl," USF head coach Skip Holtz said. "This group has worked extremely hard throughout the year, so a trip to Charlotte is the perfect way to finish off the season. I've been fortunate enough to have many great bowl experiences during my career and I hear that the Meineke Car Care Bowl is as good as any bowl in the country. It is a first-class operation and we're really excited to have the opportunity to represent the BIG EAST conference. We're looking forward to a great week and a great game in Charlotte."
USF joins Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech as the only six schools that have made a bowl appearance in every season as a BCS league member. The Bulls are 3-2 in five bowl appearances. In their first season in the BIG EAST, the Bulls made their first trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, losing a 14-0 decision to N.C. State. In 2006, the Bulls beat Eastern Carolina 24-7 in the Papajohns.com Bowl. USF lost to Oregon in the Brut Sun Bowl in 2007, and then won its next two bowl games, a 41-14 victory over Memphis in the 2008 MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl and a 27-3 win in the 2010 International Bowl over Northern Illinois.
"Currently, our program is riding a wave of momentum behind first-year head coach Skip Holtz. I think people around the country recognize that and it was reflected in our selection by the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Coach Holtz has done a magnificent job with this football team and program in just a short time. He has provided outstanding leadership from day one and built a very competitive product on the field. I am so proud of our football team. They have shown tremendous character throughout the year and the young men and their outstanding coaching staff are very, very deserving of this opportunity."