USF, Miami Ink Six-Game Football Series

TAMPA, FLA. -- (May 31, 2007) By agreeing to play on Thanksgiving Weekend in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, USF and Miami have now put the finishing touches on a six-game football series that actually started with the teams' first meeting October 1, 2005 in Miami.


USF and Miami will play September 26, 2009 in Raymond James Stadium before the final four games of the series move to Thanksgiving Weekend with the anticipation of national television opportunities. The 2010 and 2012 games will be at Miami, while the 2011 and 2013 games will be in Tampa.


"It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with (Miami A.D.) Paul Dee and the management at ESPN in bringing this series to fruition," says USF Director of Athletics Doug Woolard. "We have always shared a strong desire with Miami to make a long-term series happen, and at the same time ESPN has expressed it has a strong desire to have rivalry matchups like this one available for its Thanksgiving Weekend selections. We think this is a great game for fans of college football."




"When I came here 11 years ago, people always asked me what goals I had for the program, what they were, where we're supposed to go. And I don't always share it, but probably one of the things I wanted the most for the University of South Florida was to be a part of when you say Florida, Florida State, Miami, and you say South Florida, you say it with the same breath. To do that is probably one of the most powerful things there is because you have to change the history of football in the State of Florida, and to do that, most people will say, is difficult.


"Throughout the years as we have been building, I noticed the only way you are ever going to do that is you have to play them. You've got to play one of those schools, you've got to play them for a number of years and you've got to play them in your own stadium. That to me shows a lot of credibility, and we've talked about the team that is the most powerful team in the history of football, I think, in the State of Florida, is Miami. They've won more national championships than anyone else and nobody can argue that fact. You can talk about those three schools and you can talk about the University of South Florida moving in the right direction.


"I don't want anyone to say we are a part of the big three unless we beat them. I've had people talk about in the media that we have risen to a higher level and how good are we compared to them. I want to come out and say that we are not part of the big three unless we play them and beat them. We've been working on this game for a long time – years – because I really felt like the game that could put us in position to change history of football in the state of Florida is a series with Miami. Through a lot of work we've been able to schedule Miami for five years straight, three times in Tampa. To me, that's one of the most powerful moves that have ever happened in the history of our program because it's not like its two games there and one game here.


"You can do things a whole number of ways, but perception-wise (Miami) obviously recognized the fact that we're a player in all this. And to play three times in Tampa and two times in Miami is one of the most powerful moves that has ever happened since I have been here and it gives us the chance and gives us the opportunity. We know we have to recruit extremely well. We've got to continue to build. Our goal is always going to be to win the BIG EAST Championship, but in this state to get an opportunity like this with five-years continuous – three times Tampa – that's an opportunity for us, a huge opportunity for us to change the thinking and perception of football in Florida. "


"I am excited as I can be about it. I am just really excited about the opportunity to play one of the top teams in Florida football history."



"We're pleased to expand this series by two more games. The University of South Florida is a tremendously successful new program in college football, having just started Division I-A football in the last decade, and in that time they have had outstanding success. We're playing not only USF, but a Big East Conference school."



 "Coach Leavitt has done a tremendous starting the football program at USF," said Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon. "These games will be a great experience for college football fans throughout the entire state of Florida."


While finalizing the Miami series, USF has also moved previously announced dates with Florida and Indiana. USF is still scheduled to play at Florida in 2010, but has now moved the second game in the series to 2015. Meanwhile, a home date originally scheduled at Raymond James Stadium in 2011 with Indiana will be played in 2016. The actual dates for the Florida and Indiana games are to be determined at a later time.



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