USF strengthens non-conference schedule

USF hasn’t faced Syracuse since the 2012 season when the Bulls lost to the Orange 37-36.

USF football bulks up its non-conference schedule by renewing a series with Syracuse University playing a home-and-home series in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The Former Big East foe will travel to Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 12, 2015 making Syracuse the fourth ACC team scheduled to make the trip since 2013 including the 2013 National Champion FSU in 2015 and 2016. The Bulls will make the reciprocal trip the following season to play in the Carrier Dome on Sept. 17, 2016.

This will be the ninth meeting between the two teams who played together in the Big East from 2005-2012. USF boasts a 6-2 record against Syracuse from their days in the Big East, but the Orange have taken two of the past three games including a 37-36 victory in their last meeting.

USF continues to build a strong non-conference schedule for the upcoming seasons, pitting the Bulls against top conferences such as the Big Ten where USF has eight games scheduled over the next six seasons. The Big Ten schedule starts Saturday when the Bulls take on Maryland and continues Sept. 27 when they travel to Camp Randall Stadium to take on the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers.

Not only is a tougher schedule better for the program, but also the players. It gives the players a place in the national spotlight, giving them a chance to prove their worth on the biggest stage.

“It’s important because it shows we are a powerhouse, we are a big time program and we’re getting back to where we once were,” freshman quarterback Mike White said. “They use to call this program a sleeping giant. Well, we’re waking up and we’re ready.”

The Bulls have fared well in the past with a 23-11(.676) record in non-conference games since 2008.

With strength of schedule weighing more heavily than in recent years, new Athletic Director Mark Harlan has made it a point of emphasis to bring the big names to USF.

“We are very excited to renew a home-and-home series with Syracuse,” Harlan said in a press release. “We are committed to playing a very competitive non-conference schedule against some the top teams in the country and it is exciting to be able to bring these programs to Tampa.”

USF now has 13 games on the schedule against teams from the “Big Five” conferences and looks to continue bringing these marque games to the USF football program.