A green and golden opportunity

That white flag is symbolic of many things for USF athletics, especially the football program.

First off, when that white flag rose in front of the Administration Building on Friday, it symbolized USF’s rise to the top tier of college athletics, a place in one of the nation’s most respected — and feared — conferences.

It symbolizes a fast ascension into a BCS conference for Jim Leavitt and the little football project he helped start nine years ago. After eight seasons of life in I-AA as an independent and a member of Conference USA, the Bulls have found a new home in the Big East.

What Leavitt and Co. have done — create a football program out of thin air and have it ready for the big time in eight seasons — isn’t amazing. It’s near unbelievable.

Helmets off, Mr. Leavitt.

Optimism, though, deserves to be met with some skepticism.

That white flag, with the words Big East written across it, also symbolizes potential hardship for USF in the coming years.

On Friday, when the flag reached the top of the pole, it didn’t flap. It was too heavy.

Perhaps it was eerie foreshadowing for a program that is headed into a league of bigger, faster and smarter foes than it is accustomed to.

With only four seasons of I-A experience under its belt, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the program could struggle this season. After all, USF didn’t exactly scare any future opponents last season.

But if we’ve learned anything from USF’s football program, we’ve learned it can adjust. It has adjusted and succeeded despite not having a chance to get used to a set of conference opponents. Almost every year, USF has had to prepare for different foes.

Now, not anymore. Win or lose, the Bulls will finally find an identity.

The Big East provides a chance for the Bulls to finally plant their spikes firmly into the turf and keep them there.

That white flag is symbolic of many things, we know. One thing it isn’t, though, is a sign of surrender.