The 2008 USF football schedule was announced by the BIG EAST on Monday afternoon and the Bulls already have four nationally televised games on ESPN or ESPN2, including a huge showdown in Morgantown in the season finale.
2008 USF Football Schedule
TAMPA – After setting ESPN viewing records in 2007, the University of South Florida football program will again be a favorite of the worldwide leader in sports in 2008.
Sat. Aug. 30 Tennessee-Martin
Fri. Sep. 05 at Central Florida (7 p.m., ESPN)
Sat. Sep. 13 Kansas
Sat., Sep. 20 at Florida International
Sat. Sep. 27 at North Carolina State
Thu. Oct. 02 PITTSBURGH (ESPN)
Sat. Oct. 18 SYRACUSE
Sat. Oct. 25 at LOUISVILLE
Thu. Oct. 30 at CINCINNATI (ESPN)
Sat. Nov. 15 RUTGERS
Sat. Nov. 22 CONNECTICUT
Sat. Dec. 06 at WEST VIRGINIA (ESPN/ESPN2)
The 2008 schedule was announced by the BIG EAST on Monday afternoon and it is highlighted by four nationally televised games on ESPN or ESPN2. The television coverage of the remaining games will be announced at a later date.
"We are pleased with the spotlight that ESPN and the BIG EAST have presented to our program," said USF athletic director Doug Woolard. "USF is on the rise and ESPN recognizes that we are an attractive team to college football viewers across the country. It appears the 2008 season is something the entire community of Tampa Bay will be excited about. We have a challenging home schedule for our fans, a wealth of national exposure and great opportunity to continue the growth of the USF brand."
The 2008 season opener is against Tennessee-Martin at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 30. It will be the first meeting between the programs.
USF's second game of the season at UCF will be showcased by ESPN to a national audience on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. The Friday night format was good to the Bulls in 2007, when a record crowd of 67,012 watched as Tampa's hometown team defeated No. 5 West Virginia, 21-13, at Ray Jay. Jim Leavitt's program owns a 3-0 all-time record against UCF, including a 64-12 win in 2007.
In week three, USF will host defending Orange Bowl champion Kansas on Saturday, Sept. 13. The marquee matchup is yet to be picked up for television. KU owns a 1-0 lead in the all-time series, thanks to a 13-7 win in Lawrence in 2006.
USF will hit the road for two consecutive weeks to close out the non-conference season, beginning with a trip to face Florida International in Miami on Sept. 20. The following week USF will be in Raleigh to face North Carolina State on Sept. 27. USF owns a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series with FIU. N.C. State won the only meeting between the programs, 14-0, in the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2005
The BIG EAST Conference season begins with another ESPN game, as the Bulls host the Pittsburgh Panthers on Thursday, Oct. 2. No game time has been established for the home conference opener.
After six games in six weeks to open the 2008 season, USF close the regular season with six games over the final nine weeks, including byes on Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Nov. 29.
Syracuse, who has never defeated USF, will come to Ray Jay on Saturday, Oct. 18. The Bulls went to the Carrier Dome in 2007 and beat the Orange 41-10.
A two-game road trip begins at Louisville on Oct. 25 and is followed by a short turn-around for a Thursday night game at Cincinnati on Oct. 30. The showdown with the Bearcats will be nationally televised by ESPN. Last season the Bearcats upset the Bulls, 38-33, in Tampa. USF was successful against Louisville, posting a 55-17 win Tampa last year. USF carries a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with UofL.
The final two home games of the season will come in succession on Saturday, Nov. 15 against Rutgers and Saturday, Nov. 22 against UConn. The Bulls will look to avenge a pair of heartbreaking losses on the road to the Scarlet Knights and Huskies last season. USF is 1-2 against Rutgers and 3-2 against UConn.
Coach Leavitt's team, which is 1-1 all-time in weather below 40 degrees, caught a break in the November/December scheduling by only having to make one road trip during the cold weather months.
That road trip will be the season finale, which is away from Tampa for the third straight year, and will be played at West Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 6. The game will be broadcast by either ESPN or ESPN2. USF, which has won two straight against the Mountaineers, ended the 2006 campaign in Morgantown with a 24-19 win.
USF has a 2-1 lead in the all-time series versus WVU. USF is 2-0 in season finales since joining the BIG EAST.
The scheduling of four guaranteed ESPN/ESPN2 games prior to the start of the season, is a record for USF and a sign of its prominent place in college football.
Last season USF had three guaranteed games on the ESPN/ESPN2 prior to the season and had its North Carolina game picked up by ESPN. The Bulls have played 19 of their last 20 games on the ESPN body of networks, including ESPN Regional and ESPNU. Their streak of 19 straight was snapped by an appearance on CBS for the 2007 Brut Sun Bowl.
Dates and times are tentative and subject to change. The announcement of television coverage will generally be announced on a weekly basis during the 2008 season and could be announced as late as six days prior to games.