The Bulls get another such opportunity with Miami coming to town.
"It's big for us," coach Skip Holtz said. "It's big from a national image standpoint. I've talked since I've been (here) that all these games are big.
"I'm appreciative to (athletic director) Doug Woolard and the athletic department for the games we have scheduled this year with Miami and Notre Dame and next year with Florida State and Miami.
"It's a great opportunity for us to make a splash from a national standpoint against teams that have won national championships and competed at that level."
Of course, Miami isn't at the national championship level this year and, by arriving with a 5-5 record, is struggling to get to six wins and bowl eligibility.
USF also needs one more win to get the necessary six-win level, but, unlike the Hurricanes who will have only one more opportunity, the Bulls will have two more games to follow.
Both will be at home -- against Louisville the day after Thanksgiving and against West Virginia the following Thursday night. Holtz noted the significance of being at home following the Bulls' return from Syracuse.
"When you get back at 5 o'clock in the morning," he said, "and you say that was our last road trip, you feel pretty good about knowing your last three are going to at home back at Raymond James Stadium and have an opportunity to play in front of our home crowd, family and friends."
--USF has taken big steps in the running game on both sides of the ball. The Bulls are averaging better than 205 yards a game rushing in 2011, about a 60-yard per game leap over 2010. They are holding opponents to 108, a 17-yard improvement over last year.
--Backup QB Bobby Eveld was the guy who engineered last year's win over Miami, taking over as a true freshman in the second half when starter B.J. Daniels was injured. Eveld tied the game with a rushing touchdown with two minutes left, then had a big completion in overtime to set up RB Demetris Murray's one-yard dive for the deciding score.
--USF will wear special uniforms and helmets for the game against Miami in recognition of the Wounded Warrior Project that supports members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been injured serving their country. Traditional green and gold will be infused with a stars-and-stripes pattern on USF's helmets and uniforms, which are custom-made by Under Armour. Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off later with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
SERIES HISTORY: Miami leads USF 2-1 (last meeting, 2010, USF 23-20 OT).
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: USF has rushed for over 200 yards in each of its last two games and run for at least 175 in six of its nine. The only time the Bulls failed to get into triple-digits was against Cincinnati, when they ran for 99. Injuries have hit the wide receiving corps, but the Bulls still have managed to throw for an average of over 263 yards a game and are coming off a 254-yard effort in the win over Syracuse.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: With the exception of the loss at Pittsburgh, when it couldn't contain Ray Graham, USF has been tough to run on. The Panthers put Rutgers in a minus-7 hole rushing for the game and allowed Syracuse only 108 on the ground. Four teams have failed to hit the 100 mark on the ground, and Pitt is the only team that has run for more than 118. The Bulls also have 31 sacks on the year to go with 10 interceptions.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know I've ever had a quarterback that has made the progress from one year to the next that B.J. Daniels has from last year to this year." -- Coach Skip Holtz, on his junior QB B.J. Daniels.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Miami at USF, Nov. 19 -- Miami comes into the game needing one more win to become bowl eligible, same as USF. A bad sign for the Bulls is that the 5-5 Hurricanes have been an up-and-down team recently and are coming off a "down" game with their loss at Florida State. The Hurricanes know they can't take the Bulls lightly because of their overtime loss at home to USF a year ago.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Be patient. Miami is susceptible to giving up a big play, whether it be on defense or special teams, so waiting for the right opportunity is critical. The Bulls' run defense will face a challenge from the Miami running back tandem of Lamar Miller and Mike James.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
LB DeDe Lattimore -- The sophomore has taken over the team lead in tackles with 66 stops, 10 of them for losses (5.5 sacks). H has eight sacks in his career.
DE Ryne Giddens -- Giddens has begun to live up to what was expected of him when he arrived 2010 and played briefly as a freshman before being injured and granted a medical redshirt. He has 5.5 sacks to tie LB DeDe Lattimore for the team lead in that category and leads all linemen in tackles with 40.
QB B.J. Daniels -- His patience will be the key for the Bulls. He has been a much more mature leader as a junior, which is to be expected, and cut back on his interceptions. He has only five in 303 pass attempts against 12 touchdown passes.
--Sophomore WR Terrance Mitchell, who played in only the first four games before going out with a concussion, could be out the rest of the season. The Bulls could apply for a medical redshirt year for the speedster who also is a solid punt returner.
--Senior WR A.J. Love aggravated a stress fracture in his foot and is questionable for the game against Miami.
--Junior RB Darrell Scott, who did not play at Syracuse after exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and injuring his wrist the week before, has been cleared to return against the Hurricanes. He actually could have played against the Orange but sat as a precaution.
--WR Stephen Bravo-Brown also should be available for Miami.