USF football schedules future games against non-conference Power-Five teams

By Josh Fiallo, SPORTS EDITOR
On January 23, 2018

Mark Harlan, USF Athletics Director, announced two new series, one against North Carolina State and another against Louisville.
ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

USF Athletics Director Mark Harlan announced Monday that USF has scheduled a home-and-home football series against North Carolina State that will begin in 2021.

The first game of the series will be both teams’ season opener for the 2021 season and will be played in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Wolfpack’s on-campus stadium. The first game is set to be played on Thursday, Sept. 2, but the Wolfpack has the option to move the '21 game to Sept. 4 if it notifies USF by Feb. 1 of that year, according to the contract.

Though the game is years away, both USF (No. 21) and N.C. State (No. 23) have sustained success as of late, as both programs finished the season in the Associated Press Top 25 and have played in three straight bowl games.

Both programs will make $300,000 per game, according to the contract. If either school elects to back out of the game, the buyout is $500,000 if done at least 36 months before the scheduled date of the game. The buyout number then increases $1 million if a team cancels between 18 months and 36 months before the contest. If one school cancels within 18 months of a game's scheduled date, the buyout goes to $1.995 million.

"We are excited to add N.C. State, a high-quality program that has played in four straight bowl games, to our football schedule," Harlan said. "Bulls football is sustaining a run of tremendous success and we will continue to seek exciting, top-level opponents to challenge during the non-conference season and bring to Raymond James Stadium."

The announcement of adding the Wolfpack comes just four days after Harlan announced USF football would play a three-game (one home, two away) series against Louisville starting in 2022.

The Bulls currently have 11 non-conference games against Power-Five opponents over the next seven seasons, which will likely only increase their schedule strength in upcoming seasons.

Next season, USF’s non-conference schedule will include home games against Elon on Sept. 1 and Georgia Tech on Sept. 8 along with away games at Illinois on Sept. 15 and at UMass on Oct. 6.

Of the Bulls’ four non-conference opponents next season, only Georgia Tech won more than four games. Last season, Louisville and N.C. State won a combined 16 games.

"The USF and Louisville programs have featured some of the most exciting players in college football over the last few seasons," Harlan said. "We are excited to have Louisville returning to Raymond James Stadium and to add a three-game series with an exciting, top-level opponent with which we share a great deal of history."

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