USF’s effort vs. Oklahoma Saturday certainly has made an impression on one school. Three days after playing the No. 2 team in the nation even for a quarter, the Bulls have inked a two-game deal with the University of Florida to play each other in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
“We’re very appreciative of (Florida director of athletics) Jeremy Foley and (UF) coach (Ron) Zook for their willingness to agree to these games,” USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon said. “We’ve been aggressive from the very start with our football program, and we’ve grown in rapid fashion over the course of five-plus seasons.
“In the course of our first 59 games, since starting football in 1997, we’ve already played Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky, and we have a win over Pittsburgh,” Selmon said. “That’s rapid growth. Now, scheduling one of the state’s ‘Big Three’ speaks volumes for where our program is headed.”
USF will travel to Gainesville for both games, facing the Gators Sept. 13, 2008 and Sept. 5 of 2009.
One man not at all concerned with the announcement was USF coach Jim Leavitt. The Bulls’ boss is too focused on Saturday’s encounter with North Texas to worry about a game six years in the making.
“I don’t have any thoughts about it,” Leavitt said. “I hope that I can get through tonight, and I hope that tomorrow comes with another new day, and that’s about as far ahead as I can think about. I’ll let other people deal with all those kinds of things. I’ll worry about North Texas and hope I can get through practice today and that we have a good one.”
“I mean, I’ve been watching film all day and night of North Texas,” Leavitt said. “I was told that an announcement like that was made, and I thought, ‘Oh,’ right back to North Texas. I haven’t thought about it. I haven’t thought about it at all. I’m going to leave here, and I’m going to go sit in a chair, and I’m going to watch North Texas on film and hope that we can play hard enough to compete with them because they’re good.”
Florida (4-1) currently sits at No. 6 in the Associated Press’ poll, jumping up one spot with its 41-34 victory at home vs. Kentucky, and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll.
In addition to enticing Florida into a matchup, the Bulls’ performance vs. Oklahoma definitely affected AP voters, too. The writers dropped the Sooners one spot in their poll, from No. 2 to No. 3, after Oklahoma only beat USF 31-14 Saturday. The Sooners remained steady at No. 3 in the coaches’ voting.
Texas is now No. 2 in both polls, trailing only defending champion Miami.