The Athletic Department is ready to make Raymond James look like USF’s own stadium.
USF, appearing on its first nationally televised game of the season this Friday on ESPN2 against No. 23 Rutgers, plans to do away with the Buccaneers’ red and white (also Rutgers colors) on the field, painting green and gold in its place.
Associate athletic director Tom Veit said Wednesday the Athletic Department will decorate the field before Friday’s game.
“We always try to get the field painted for a national broadcast and for homecoming,” Veit said. “But it all depends on the Buccaneers’ (schedule). We can only do it if they don’t play at home within a week and a half.”
Veit said painting the field, decorating the end zones and painting the USF iconic “U” at the 50-yard line will cost “a few thousand dollars,” requiring new sod to be put down – as well as painted – and then replaced after the game.
According to Veit, this might be the only time USF gets to paint the field, since the Bucs host New Orleans the Sunday following USF’s homecoming against Pittsburgh on Nov. 4.
Friday night lights: Coach Jim Leavitt knows the importance of Friday’s game against Rutgers.
It’s on ESPN2, and though Leavitt does not want to shy away from national television, he said at Tuesday’s luncheon, “I think high school football should have Fridays.”
However, following Wednesday’s practice, Leavitt clarified his statement, explaining he was disappointed with the missed opportunity to have recruits attend the game.
“If I say that (Fridays should just be about high school football), it also says I don’t want to be on national TV,” Leavitt said. “And I do.”
“We won’t have any recruits there because they will be playing (their games), but you also don’t want to hurt yourself with (no) television.”
Leavitt added that he knows why television is so interested in this game in particular. He said it’s not just an interesting Big East matchup – the media wants to see Rutgers, the new darling of college football, even though Friday’s game was scheduled to appear on ESPN2 months before the season started.
“This game is not about South Florida,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “This game is about Rutgers. No. 23. 4-0. That’s the story here. Not South Florida. The story is Rutgers.”