Old Dominion and the University of South Florida are close to finalizing a home-and-home football series that would bring the Big East team to Foreman Field in 2014 with a return game in Tampa in 2016, football coach Bobby Wilder said.
Granted, this is not finalized and there's always a chance it may not happen. And honestly, we're hoping it doesn't, because there are so many reasons why this would be a bad idea that we're going to have to make a list. Ready?
1. This would likely be Old Dominion's first home game ever in FBS. While they're a very good FCS team right now, the Monarchs don't move up to FBS until 2014, when they join the smoking crater of Conference USA. That would put USF on the wrong side of the excitement gap before the ink on the contract is even dry. I dread being on the wrong side of the excitement gap. It never goes well.
2. You would only be getting one home game back from them? If that sounds bad, consider this. According to the linked article, the only other FBS team that Old Dominion has a 1-for-1 series with is Idaho, which doesn't have a conference to play in and is probably destined for FCS in a few years. Is that all USF can get out of a deal with Old Dominion? Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is going 2-for-1 with Old Dominion (and the 1 is only because Frank Beamer recruits the hell out of the Norfolk area) and everyone else is giving them payday games.
3. Doesn't USF already have to give Western Kentucky a home-and-home? That was reportedly one of the clauses in Taggart's WKU contract -- if another school hired him away, they owed the Hilltoppers a series. So if this really does happen, USF would be adding an Old Dominion series to that series? When is USF going to have time to play some more legitimate opponents? Which leads to...
4. With the way the future bowl structure is set up, shouldn't USF start scheduling more aggressively instead of less? Beginning in 2014, the highest-rated conference champion outside the power five gets into one of the access bowls. There's no way beating a first-year FBS team is going to help you, even if you bury them by 40 points. USF really needs to step it up.
And they don't have to go crazy and start playing payday games here. I would hope USF is talking to some of their soon-to-be-former conference mates (like Syracuse or Pittsburgh) to see if they still want to play non-conference games. Or find the power-conference schools who will still be willing to give you a series. Or schedule more games against Mountain West or MAC opponents. We're totally OK with the Nevada series, for example. And I know it's hard to predict which MAC teams will be good far ahead of time, but at least take a chance with a few of them. The Ball State 1-for-1 series was questionable at the time, but even that would be realistic with the situation USF is in now.
Polls are still going to matter for a school like USF, as long as they're outside the power conferences. All of these other options would do more for your perception, your rankings, and your strength of schedule than playing Old Dominion will.
5. That 2016 home schedule is looking FAAAAAAAAN-TASTIC! Not only would USF be playing Old Dominion if this series pans out, but they already scheduled an FCS game for that year against Towson. Plus whatever crummy conference games they have that year. 1-800-GO-BULLS! OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY FOR YOUR CALL! DREAM IN GREEN AND GOLD!
Your thoughts? USF can do better than this, can't they?