NOTEBOOK: AAC football schedule released

USF’s full schedule was unveiled after the AAC announced its complete football schedule Tuesday. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

The wait is over.

The schedule for coach Jeff Scott’s first season as USF coach is complete after the AAC released its football schedule Tuesday afternoon.

The Bulls open conference play on the road for the first time since 2016 when they face defending East division champion Cincinnati on Oct. 3. USF’s conference home opener is the following week against East Carolina on Oct. 10.

Highlighting the Bulls’ eighth season in the conference are games against both teams from last year’s AAC Championship, as USF travels to both Cincinnati and Memphis.

Also of note, the Bulls only play one non-War on I-4 weekday game, facing Tulsa at Raymond James Stadium on Friday, Oct. 23.

USF may also escape playing a game in frigid conditions this season as its trips to cold-weather cities, Cincinnati and Philadelphia (Temple), both come in October. The Bulls’ only road games in November are to defending AAC champion Memphis on Nov. 7 and Houston the following Saturday.

Rounding out the schedule are back-to-back home games. USF faces Navy on Nov. 21 and War on I-4 rival UCF on Black Friday, Nov. 27.

Combined with its nonconference schedule, which begins with a trip to face Texas on Sept. 5, the Bulls face five teams that finished the 2019 season in the AP Top 25: No. 25 Texas (Sept. 5), No. 21 Cincinnati (Oct. 3), No. 17 Memphis (Nov. 7) and No. 24 UCF (Nov. 27). Additionally, eight of the Bulls’ 11 FBS opponents went to bowl games last season, with five of them victorious.

Kickoff times and television details will be announced at a later date — though at the very least, it’s already known that the two Friday games (Tulsa and UCF) will be broadcast on an ESPN network. The 2020 season marks the first under the league’s extension with ESPN, which will see a number of games aired on over-the-top service ESPN+. However, no fewer than 40 games will air on ESPN’s linear networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU).

With the departure of UConn, the AAC will operate as an 11-team league without divisions for at least the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Rather than using those divisions to determine which teams play in the conference championship like it had since 2015, the top two teams at the end of the regular season will play each other Dec. 5.

USF’s full schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 5 — at Texas
Austin, Texas

Saturday, Sept. 12 — Bethune-Cookman
Raymond James Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 19 — Nevada
Raymond James Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 26 — at Florida Atlantic
Boca Raton

Saturday, Oct. 3 — at Cincinnati

Saturday, Oct. 10 — East Carolina
Raymond James Stadium

Saturday, Oct. 17 — at Temple

Friday, Oct. 23 — Tulsa (TV: ESPN network)
Raymond James Stadium


Saturday, Nov. 7 — at Memphis
Memphis, Tenn.

Saturday, Nov. 14 — at Houston

Saturday, Nov. 21 — Navy
Raymond James Stadium

Friday, Nov. 27 — UCF (TV: ESPN network)
Raymond James Stadium


Report: Strong to join Alabama as analyst

Former USF coach Charlie Strong appears to have his next job.

Strong, who was fired in December after losing 14 of his last 18 at USF, is set to become a defensive analyst for Nick Saban at Alabama, according to a report Tuesday by ESPN’s Chris Low.

The report comes after Strong visited Tuscaloosa over the weekend, according to various Alabama media outlets.

The move to the Crimson Tide comes after a report last month by the Tampa Bay Times that Strong was considering a similar position with Dan Mullen at Florida.

The analyst position is limited in terms of on-field coaching ability and does not count toward the 10 on-field assistants allowed under NCAA regulations, meaning USF will still be on the hook for Strong’s $3.1 million buyout, according to the Times.


Serrat retires

USF women’s basketball forward Silvia Serrat has retired from the sport due to constant injuries, she announced Monday on Twitter.

Serrat, who arrived prior to the 2017-18 season as a five-star recruit out of Spain, never played a single game for the Bulls. She had been hampered by knee injuries, undergoing her third right-knee surgery back in September.

In a “Dear Basketball” letter, Serrat wrote, “You taught me so many things. I gave you everything. You were my escape. I LOVED you. And then you were taken away from me. We had many setbacks. I still loved you through those. … But then, whenever I was seeing light at the end of the tunnel, it wasn’t a light. It was just the end of OUR tunnel.”

Serrat, who would have been no less than a redshirt sophomore next season had she returned, is an academic junior, adding in her tweet that she will still complete her education at USF.


Pair of pitchers pick up honors

A pair of USF pitchers — one from baseball and one from softball — earned AAC Honor Roll mentions, the conference announced Monday.

Baseball’s Carson Ragsdale struck out 10, allowing one run on one hit Sunday against Marist in the redshirt junior’s first game back since missing last season due to Tommy John surgery.

Softball’s Georgina Corrick struck out 19 in 14 innings in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on her way to a 1-1 record over the weekend. Against No. 15 Georgia on Sunday morning, not only did the junior strike out nine, but she provided all the offense the Bulls needed: A two-run homer that lifted the Bulls to a shutout victory.