USF’s most anticipated fall sports matchups

The Bulls football team will be looking to play spoilers against a couple of nationally-ranked opponents this season. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Many USF Athletics programs are gearing up for challenging but exciting opportunities this semester.

Led by new head coach Alex Golesh, USF football will attempt to rebuild its program and return back to the AP Poll for the first time since 2018. 

Women’s soccer will also look to rebound after losing in their respective conference tournaments. 

As these teams take the field once again, there are some notable matchups in store that fans will want to follow closely.

Football – USF vs. Alabama, Sept. 16

Arguably the most difficult opponent the Bulls have faced in years, the Alabama Crimson Tide are a perennial SEC powerhouse led by head coach Nick Saban. The only other time the teams played each other was in 2003, which resulted in a 40-17 loss for the Bulls.

Alabama has won six National Championships since Saban was hired in 2007, compiling a 194-27 record. The Crimson Tide also went 14 seasons before being defeated by an unranked opponent, which was snapped by a loss against Texas A&M in 2021. 

Last season, a Golesh-led Tennessee team defeated Alabama 52-49. The game will be broadcasted nationally on ABC.

  Football – USF at Texas-San Antonio, Nov. 17

USF will face off against conference newcomers UTSA in a difficult road tilt on Nov. 17 that is sure to be an offensive shootout.

Senior Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country, winning the Conference USA MVP award last season. Harris threw for 4,063 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2022, also adding 602 yards rushing along with nine touchdowns. 

Under head coach Jeff Traylor, the Roadrunners finished last season ranked No. 25 in the country – their first time finishing in the AP Poll in program history. 

Women’s soccer – USF vs. Florida Atlantic, Oct. 26

The Owls will travel to Tampa to take on the Bulls to close out women’s soccer’s regular season. 

Last year, FAU defeated USF 2-1 in an Aug. 28 matchup. The last time the Bulls defeated the Owls at home was in 2009 in a 1-0 victory.  Florida Atlantic finished last season with an 11-8-3 record, falling in the third round of the Conference USA tournament to UTSA.

This game will also mark Bulls head coach Denise Schilte-Brown’s final regular season home match. Schlite Brown was selected to become the head coach of Tampa Bay’s USL Super League team which will begin play in 2024.

Volleyball – USF vs. Georgia Tech, Aug. 26

Volleyball will begin its season at Amalie Arena for the Road 2 Tampa Bay Invitational, playing against No. 20 Georgia Tech. 

With three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, the Yellow Jackets are annually one of the top squads in the country. They finished last season with a 21-8 record, falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Marquette.

Georgia Tech head coach Michelle Collier played volleyball at USF from 1998 to 2002, where she was teammates with current USF head coach Jolene Shepardson. 

 South Florida will also take on Florida during the tournament on Aug. 27 at the Yuengling Center.

Men’s Soccer – USF vs. Indiana, Sept. 8

In its second home game of the season, Men’s soccer will face Big 10 powerhouse, Indiana on Sept. 8.

The Hoosiers have won eight national championships in their history and made it all the way to the title game last year before losing to Syracuse in penalty kicks, 7-6, after a 2-2 draw. This year, they were ranked No.2 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.

Their roster features talent such as forward and midfielder, Samuel Sarver and Patrick McDonald. Saver and McDonald played vital roles on the 2022 College Cup team. Both players were named to the  2023 Big 10’s players to watch on Aug. 21

Men’s Soccer – USF vs. Clemson, Sept. 12

Four nights later, USF will host another ranked opponent in Clemson on Sept. 12. The Tigers were ranked the No.9 ranked team on the preseason poll.

Clemson also appeared in the 2022 NCAA tournament, falling to UCLA in the second round, 2-1.

Players such as Tigers forward and midfielder Ousmane Sylla and Mohamed Seye could make it difficult for the Bulls to come out with a win. Sylla led the team in goals, points, assists, and game-winning goals last year and was named to the 2022 All-AAC first team.  Seye received All-conference third team honors.