It's easy to get a bit jealous when you read about UConn signing a home-and-home agreement to play Boise State in football in 2014 and 2015. That after they had already agreed to a series in the same two years against BYU earlier this month. Meanwhile, Cincinnati signed their own deal yesterday to play Michigan in both football and basketball. The Huskies and Bearcats may be getting left behind like USF is, but they're at least still scheduling big.
What is USF's scheduling plan? Do they have a plan?
Here's the problem. The 2013 schedule is actually pretty good. The Bulls go to Michigan State, they play Miami at home, they have a couple of home warmups, and then they have eight Big East conference games. But after that, it's pretty ugly. USF needs two games for the 2014 season -- the only non-conference games on the books are a payday game against Western Carolina, and a home game against NC State, a matchup that was scheduled eons ago. (USF traveled to Raleigh for the first game of the home-and-home way back in 2008.)
2015 only needs one game, but the three games on the docket (Florida A&M, Indiana, and Nevada) aren't exactly compelling or helpful for a team that will need style points in a league without automatic access to BCS 2.0. 2016 includes a road game at Indiana and 2017 includes home games with Stony Brook and Michigan State.
The big question is, when is USF going to land someone compelling for a future schedule, home or away? Indiana, NC State, and Michigan State have all been on the schedule for years. In fact, the last time USF added a power conference game, either home or away, was in January 2009, as part of the home-and-home with Florida State that they got when FSU needed a last-minute home game and USF had leverage. (Notre Dame went on the schedule in 2008. The two Indiana and Michigan State games were scheduled way back in 2006, although the dates have changed since then.)
Ever since then, the Bulls have been content to sign up with the Nevadas and Ball States and Florida Atlantics of the world, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Lately they've been dragged into rumors of playing Old Dominion, and they've locked in their annual FCS opponents several years in advance so they wouldn't have to pay too much for them later. Still, is that the new strategy now? Just fill up the schedule and not worry about marquee value or whether anyone will buy tickets?
Here's the money quote from Doug Woolard in that 2006 article about adding the Hoosiers and Spartans:
"Our fans deserve these types of home and series with BCS opponents and are important for our football program as well," said USF director of athletics Doug Woolard. "Games of this caliber are beneficial to the Big East Conference and will add national exposure and recognition for the University of South Florida and the Tampa Bay area."
If they're that important, and fans deserve them, how come USF hasn't come up with any in over four years? Even if they have to go out on the road to play them, like Cincinnati is with their Michigan game? You all are out here trying to make #DoSomething into a mantra for the entire program, so... well... do something.