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Oracle Insight: What to watch for in fall 2012

With the fall sports season just over a month away, the majority of the sports schedule is set. In a season that marks the opening of the newly renovated USF Sun Dome and a football visit from Florida State, there is plenty of action to look forward to. The Oracle takes a look at the five most important sports dates of the 2012 fall sports season.

Friday, Aug. 24
Though there is just one sport being played, the first Friday of the school year is valuable all the same. After a full week of classes, students can wind down by supporting the USF volleyball team at 7 p.m., which will play against Wisconsin in the opening game of the USF invitational.

The game marks the opening of the USF fall sports season and the debut of Courtney Draper, the new USF volleyball coach. Draper was named the replacement of Claire Lessinger, who stepped down due to an illness in her family.

Saturday, Sept. 1
The first day of the first full month of the athletics season holds a special place in the hearts of USF fans.

Led by Skip Holtz, who is fresh off a contract extension, the USF football team will get started on a season with high expectations, taking on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at 7 p.m. in their home opener.

Fans will get their first ingame taste of the football team, which comes into the season expecting big things after falling flat last season, winning only five games and missing out on a bowl berth. The volleyball team will also be in action, playing a double header in the N.C. State invitational.

Saturday, Sept. 29
The game that has been circled on the schedule since it was announced will be played on the second to last day of September.

The Bulls and FSU will duke it out at Raymond James Stadium during USFs annual Hall of Fame Weekend.

USF will look to win a second consecutive game over the Seminoles after a 17-7 win in Tallahassee on September 26, 2009, jumping to a 14-0 lead on the strength of the arms and legs of then-freshman quarterback BJ Daniels, who passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns, and led the team with 126 rushing yards in his first career start. Florida State was No. 18 in the country at the time.

Saturday, Oct. 27
In a season where the Bulls will play 10 of their 12 games on the traditional day of the week reserved for college football, Homecoming Saturday looks to be eventful as always.

For the second time in three seasons, the Bulls will take on the Syracuse Orange in their Homecoming game, this time in SuperBull XVI.

USF lost its last two homecoming games, against Cincinnati in 2011 and Syracuse in 2010. Both games were tight affairs, including a 37-34 loss to Cincinnati last season, when Daniels passed for a career high 409 yards, but the Bulls lost on a two-yard touchdown run from Bearcat quarterback Zach Collaros with 12 seconds to go.

Saturday, Nov. 10
Keeping up the theme of eventful fall Saturdays, USF fans will finally get their first look at the newly renovated USF Sun Dome and its brand new basketball courts when the USF mens basketball team opens up their home schedule against a familiar rival.

The Bulls will match up against the UCF Knights in the first game of a high-expectation season.

The Bulls are coming off their first NCAA tournament appearance in 20 years, and the first two NCAA tournament wins in school history. They possess a 19-6 edge in the all-time series against UCF including just one home loss, but the Knights have won two of the last three games in the series.