There’s something in the air and it’s not just the holiday spirit — for the first time in five years, the USF football team is bowl eligible.
After a rocky start to the season, coach Willie Taggart surprised everyone with elusive plays and dominating strategies to launch the team to a 6-4 record.
However, not everyone seems to feel the jubilee. Though over 40,000 students are enrolled at USF, Raymond James Stadium remains depressingly empty at each game.
In Saturday’s home game against No. 21 Temple, USF fought tooth and claw and walked away with a 44-23 victory. After the game, the few students in attendance stormed the field to show their appreciation and support of the team.
According to the Tampa Sports Authority, an actual crowd of 18,470 attended the game, leaving the stadium less than half full. Embarrassingly, this was the second-largest crowd of the season behind the 21,928 who came for the season opener against Florida A&M.
There is no question that such a low turnout affects the morale of the team. It is unacceptable that a prominent school like USF has a seemingly nonexistent turnout, especially when it comes to the student body.
Turn on your TV during football season and you will see stadium after stadium filled with students. The University of Florida and Florida State have some of the highest-attended games in the state, averaging at 89,682 and 77,337 through Week 8, respectively. If we want this program to be taken seriously, we need to show them the support they deserve.
In the past, students have complained about the stadium being so far away, claiming the 25-minute drive is a hassle. But USF has taken care of that issue by providing free transportation for students.
You literally just need to show up on campus and get on a bus. The rest is taken care of.
And did I mention the game is free for students, too?
Previously, many have chosen to remain home due to the sad — yet entirely realistic — fact that watching your team get beat week after week is in no way enjoyable. While true fans donned the green and gold regardless, many simply did other things with their time.
Thanks to Taggart and the determination of this current group, however, it appears those days are gone.
It’s time for students to take some pride in this team and in this school and show up. Make your voice heard.
The last home game of the season is Friday night against Cincinnati at 8. Put on your Bulls T-shirt, grab that face paint and start filling those stands.
Show the nation that USF is a school to be admired. There is no reason we shouldn’t be flooding the stadium week after week.
I know that binging “How To Get Away With Murder” is an appealing way to spend your evening, but perhaps consider pushing it off to another night. This team needs you and, frankly, it’s ridiculous if you aren’t there.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.