With good reason is USF excited about having Penn State and Miami on this year’s football schedule. The credibility curve is further accelerated for a program only in its ninth season. Along with membership in the Big East Conference, the PSU-Miami parlay is further testimony as to how far and how fast USF has come. Plus, the Bulls pick up hefty guarantees, especially at PSU, which accommodates 110,000 live ones.
But in the long run, two other – decidedly less glamorous – games will be even more important to the program: Florida A&M and the University of Central Florida. They’re both home (FAMU-Sept. 10, UCF-Sept. 17) this season, and they both promise what Big East schools can’t: a natural rivalry with a good local draw.
Amid all the talk of being in a BCS conference and the attendant national attention and recruiting boost, the Bulls need to put fans in the stands at the Ray-Jay.FAMU’s loyal alumni travel well, and there’s every expectation that an I-4 rivalry will generate big crowds in Orlando as well as Tampa.
USF President Judy Genshaft and Athletics Director Doug Woolard have been justifiably praised for working to make these two games happen. Their success is critical to USF’s football fortunes. It’s not enough to bring in Rutgers and Connecticut.