The Bulls are going bowling in Birmingham this year and will be facing the South Carolina Gamecocks; their first SEC opponent since playing the Florida Gators in 2010.
After finishing their season with a program high 10-2 record, USF was rewarded with one of the conference’s bigger bowl games. Weeks of speculation and projections from the talking heads of college football had the Bulls landing in one of three different bowl games: the local St. Petersburg Bowl, the Military Bowl at Navy’s home field in Annapolis, MD, and the Birmingham Bowl.
Both the Military Bowl and the St. Petersburg Bowl have American conference teams squaring off against an ACC opponent, a conference that the Bulls have a 1-1 bowl record against and an overall record of 21-25. USF’s biggest bowl win to date was against an ACC opponent, Clemson, in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl; Skip Holtz's only bowl appearance as USF’s head coach.
After losing to his alma mater and previously coached school, Western Kentucky, in the Miami Beach Bowl last year, Bulls head coach Willie Taggart will be leading his team to their second bowl game during his tenure. Taggart’s “Gulf Coast Offense” will be on full display as they play against a Gamecocks defense that surrenders over 200 rushing yards per game.
South Carolina comes into the game with a 6-6 record, doubling the amount of wins that the Gamecocks were able to scrape together in the previous season. Former Florida head coach, Will Muschamp, is in his first year in the same position at South Carolina after leaving the Gators in 2014 and making a one year stop at Auburn as their defensive coordinator in 2015. In fact, this will be the second consecutive appearance of a Muschamp coached team at the Birmingham Bowl after Auburn played against Memphis in the bowl game last year.
The Bulls will look to expand their winning bowl record from 4-3 on December 29, 2016 in Birmingham, AL. The Birmingham Bowl will be nationally televised on ESPN with kickoff being at 2 P.M. (EST).