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South Florida Bulls football

South Florida Bulls football
40px2015 South Florida Bulls football team
First season 1997
Head coach Willie Taggart
3rd year, 6–18 (.250)
Home stadium Raymond James Stadium
Stadium capacity 66,321 (41,441 lower bowl)
Stadium surface Grass, Tifway Bermuda 419
Location Tampa, Florida
Conference The American
All-time record 103–62 (.624)
Postseason bowl record 4–2 (.667)

Green and Gold

Fight song Golden Brahman March
Marching band Herd of Thunder
Rivals UCF Knights

The South Florida Bulls football team represents the University of South Florida in the sport of American football. The Bulls compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Athletic Conference (The American). The team plays its home games in Tampa, Florida. The Bulls began playing in 1997, holding their first team meeting under a shade tree as the school had no proper football facilities on campus.


Jim Leavitt era (1997-2009)

Jim Leavitt, previously the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, was hired as the team's first head coach.

After competing their first four years as a Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) independent, the Bulls moved to Division I-A, now Division I FBS, in 2001 but remained independent. They joined Conference USA in 2003 until becoming a member of the Big East Conference in 2005.

The Bulls' starting quarterback for the 2007 South Florida Bulls football team was sophomore Matt Grothe, who was awarded the Big East Rookie of the Year award in 2006 after being the most productive freshman in total offense with 258.5 yards per game. South Florida was also home to defensive end George Selvie, who was named the school's first Consensus All-American in 2007.

South Florida received increased press coverage for their upsets of Top 25 ranked teams such as West Virginia (in 2006 and 2007), Louisville (in 2005) and Auburn (in 2007) and Florida State (2009). The 2007 football season marked their first ascent into the AP Poll, first placing at #23, rising to #18 in Week 4, jumping to #6 after the win against West Virginia, rising one more spot to #5 in week 6 after a victory over FAU, and jumping 3 more spots to #2 with 11 first place votes after beating UCF. The Bulls' high ranking was short lived, as South Florida lost its next 3 games and tumbled out of the rankings. However, the Bulls rebounded towards the end of the season, finishing the regular season ranked #21 in the BCS standings and #23 in the AP poll. Following their final regular season game, they faced unranked Oregon in the Brut Sun Bowl. Oregon defeated the Bulls by the score of 56-21, in which USF set a Sun Bowl record for most points allowed to an opponent. USF was dropped from the national rankings in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today polls following the loss in this bowl game.

USF won its first bowl game in its second bowl appearance with a victory over former Conference USA rivals, East Carolina on December 23, 2006 in the Bowl. The previous year, USF lost to NC State in the Bulls' first-ever bowl appearance, the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Leavitt remained as the team's head coach throughout this period. He was fired on January 8, 2010 after an investigation revealed that during halftime of a game against Louisville, he grabbed a player by the shoulder pads and struck him across the face two times. The investigation also claimed that Leavitt interfered with the investigation by telling several coaches and players to change their stories. Leavitt maintains he never struck the player, but was merely trying to console him, and after a wrongful termination suit against USF, the school eventually settled with Leavitt for $2.75 million.[5] Leavitt went on to serve as linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers, which in his first season as an NFL coach, 2011, reached the NFC Championship for the first time since 1997.

Skip Holtz era (2010-2012)

On January 14, 2010, Skip Holtz was hired away from East Carolina and named the team's second head coach.[1] USF declined in Holtz's tenure, going 8-5, 5-7 and 3-9 in his three seasons. His firing from USF was announced by Doug Woolard on December 2, 2012 after 3 seasons.[2] Holtz was subsequently hired by Louisiana Tech as its new head coach.

Willie Taggart era (2013-present)

On December 8, 2012, USF announced that Willie Taggart will be the third head football coach in USF football history. He previously coached at Western Kentucky.[3] The Bulls struggled in Taggart's first year, posting a 2-10 record.

Season-by-season results

Statistics correct as of the end of the 2012-13 college football season
NCAA Division I champions Conference Champions Division Champions Bowl Eligible Undefeated Season
Year NCAA Division Conference Conference Division Overall Conference Coach Final Ranking
Games Win Loss Tie Pct. Games Win Loss Tie Pct. Standing
1997 I-AA Division I-AA Independent N/A 11 5 6 0 .455 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
1998 I-AA Division I-AA Independent N/A 11 8 3 0 .727 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
1999 I-AA Division I-AA Independent N/A 11 7 4 0 .636 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
2000 I-AA Division I-AA Independent N/A 11 7 4 0 .636 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
2001 I-A Independent N/A 11 8 3 0 .727 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
2002 I-A Independent N/A 11 9 2 0 .818 0 0 0 0 .000 N/A Jim Leavitt -
2003 I-A C-USA N/A 11 7 4 0 .636 8 5 3 0 .625 T-3rd Jim Leavitt -
2004 I-A C-USA N/A 11 4 7 0 .364 8 3 5 0 .375 T-6th Jim Leavitt -
2005 I-A Big East N/A 12 6 6 0 .500 7 4 3 0 .571 T-3rd Jim Leavitt -
2006 FBS Big East N/A 13 9 4 0 .692 7 4 3 0 .571 T-4th Jim Leavitt -
2007 FBS Big East N/A 13 9 4 0 .692 7 4 3 0 .571 T-3rd Jim Leavitt -
2008 FBS Big East N/A 13 8 5 0 .615 7 2 5 0 .286 6th Jim Leavitt -
2009 FBS Big East N/A 13 8 5 0 .615 7 3 4 0 .429 T-4th Jim Leavitt -
2010 FBS Big East N/A 13 8 5 0 .615 7 3 4 0 .429 T-5th Skip Holtz -
2011 FBS Big East N/A 12 5 7 0 .417 7 1 6 0 .143 T-7th Skip Holtz -
2012 FBS Big East N/A 12 3 9 0 .250 7 1 6 0 .143 8th Skip Holtz -
2013 FBS The American N/A 12 2 10 0 .167 8 2 6 0 .250 8th Willie Taggart -
2014 FBS The American N/A 12 4 8 0 .363 8 3 5 0 .428 7th Willie Taggart -
Totals 213 117 96 0 .549 88 35 53 0 .398

Bowl game appearances

Season Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA Coach Notes
2005 December 31, 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl L NC State 0 14 Jim Leavitt notes
2006 December 23, 2006 Bowl W East Carolina 24 7 Jim Leavitt notes
2007 December 31, 2007 Sun Bowl L Oregon 21 56 Jim Leavitt notes
2008 December 20, 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl W Memphis 41 14 Jim Leavitt notes
2009 January 2, 2010 International Bowl W NIU 27 3 Jim Leavitt notes
2010 December 31, 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl W Clemson 31 26 Skip Holtz notes
Total 6 bowl games 4–2 144 120


File:USF football game vs UCF.jpg
Halftime show in a 2007 USF Bulls game played at Raymond James Stadium

Raymond James Stadium is a $168.5 million facility which opened September 20, 1998 with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Chicago Bears. Two weeks later, the Bulls debuted in their new home with a 45-6 win over The Citadel in front of 32,598 fans.[4] From 1998 to 2007, only the lower half of the stadium has been typically opened for USF games, allowing for a capacity of 41,441,[5] although the upper deck has been opened numerous times to accommodate crowds in excess of what the lower bowl can handle. However, as of 2008, USF has opened the upper deck for every home game and is selling season tickets in the upper deck as well. The largest crowd to see the Bulls play a home game came on September 28, 2007 against then #5 ranked West Virginia, when 67,012 saw the #18 Bulls win.[6] The Bulls played at Houlihan's Stadium in 1997.

The Bulls have continued to enjoy a winning edge in Raymond James, building a 43-11 record since 1998.[7] , including one streak of 21 straight victories at home.[8]

Current Pro Players

National Football League (10)

Arena Football League (8)

Canadian Football League(2)


Bulls football games currently air on the radio in Tampa on Sports Radio 98.7 The Fan WBRN-FM. Play-by-play man Jim Louk is teamed with color analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Robinson in the booth for the broadcasts. Many of the televised games air locally on ESPN Plus outlet WFTS-TV. Some replays of the games can be seen on Bright House Sports Network. Due to USF's affiliation in the American Athletic Conference, most games can be seen on one of the many channels ESPN owns.


As a young program that has grown rapidly and shifted conferences several times, USF has developed few lasting rivalries. The most noteworthy has been the South Florida-UCF football rivalry against in-state opponents the University of Central Florida Knights. The matchup had been the subject of much discussion and fan enthusiasm since the 1990s, but it was not until 2005 that a game was scheduled. The two schools met in a four-year home-and-away series through 2008. USF won each of the matches, which drew substantial crowds, but declined to schedule any further games.[9][10] However, the series resumed as an annual conference game when UCF joined the American in 2013.[11]

Before major conference realignment in the early 2010s, candidates for a future rivalry game included Louisville, another former member of Conference USA before its move to the Big East/The American; West Virginia; Rutgers; and Miami, with whom USF began a 6-year Thanksgiving weekend series in 2008. The last 4 games of the USF/UM series (2010–2013) were televised by one of the ESPN networks.[12] Louisville and Rutgers both left The American after the 2013 season, respectively for the ACC and Big Ten.

Logos and uniforms

USF's uniforms worn from 2008 to 2009

Statistics and rankings

  • The Bulls received their first ever pre-season Top 25 ranking on August 1, 2007 when they and head coach Jim Leavitt were ranked #21 in the Coaches Poll.[13]
  • Bill Gramatica holds the record for the longest field goal in school history at 63 yards.[14]
  • USF was ranked for the first time exactly 10 years and 10 days after its inaugural game against Kentucky Wesleyan in 1997.[15]
  • USF rose at an unprecedented pace, earning an AP ranking 104 polls after becoming a full-time, bowl eligible FBS member in 2001. Boise State had the previous record, getting ranked after 115 AP polls during their seventh season.[15]
  • USF became the fastest team in the modern era of college football to go from upstart NCAA FBS school to a top-10 ranking on Sunday, Sept. 30. There were 106 AP polls and 112 Coaches Polls since USF became a full-time FBS member in 2001.[15]
  • The same can be said about the top-5 ranking, which took USF 107 weeks to achieve.[15]

School Songs

Golden Brahman March (Fight Song)

USF Bulls are we,
We hold our standard upright and free.
For Green and Gold we stand united.
Our beacon lighted and noble to see.
USF Bulls are we,
For USF will always be.
With all our might we fight the battle
here and now, and we will win the victory!
Shout: S-O-U-T-H F-L-O-R-I-D-A
South Florida, South Florida
Go Bulls!
(return to chorus)

Alma Mater

Hail to Thee, our Alma Mater
May thy name be told,
Where above thy gleaming splendor,
Waves the green and gold.
Thou our guide in quest for knowledge.
Where we all are free
University of South Florida,
Alma Mater, Hail to thee!
Be our guide in truth and wisdom
As we onward go,
May thy glory, fame and honor
Never cease to grow;
May our thoughts and prayers
be with thee through eternity,
University of South Florida,
Alma Mater, Hail to thee!

Future Opponents

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
9/5 vs Florida A&M 9/3 vs Towson 9/2 vs Stony Brook 9/1 vs Elon 8/31 at Texas vs Nevada 9/25 vs BYU 9/3 vs Texas 9/2 at Western Kentucky 8/31 at Western Kentucky
9/19 at Maryland 9/10 vs Northern Illinois 9/9 vs Illinois 9/15 at Illinois 9/11 at Georgia Tech 9/10 vs Georgia Tech 9/7 at Texas
9/26 at Florida State 9/17 at Syracuse 9/16 vs Wisconsin 9/23 at BYU
10/10 vs Syracuse 9/24 vs Florida State 9/23 at Northern Illinois
vs Cincinnati vs UCF vs Cincinnati vs UCF
vs Memphis vs UConn vs Houston vs UConn
vs SMU vs East Carolina vs Temple vs East Carolina
vs Temple vs Navy vs Tulsa vs Tulane
@ UCF @ Cincinnati @ UCF @ Cincinnati
@ UConn @ Memphis @ UConn @ Houston
@ East Carolina @ SMU @ East Carolina @ Temple
@ Navy @ Temple @ Tulane @ Tulsa



  1. ^ "South Florida Hires Skip Holtz". Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  2. ^ McMurphy, Brett (December 2, 2012). "USF fires Skip Holtz, sources say". Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 12
  5. ^ University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 10, sixth paragraph.
  6. ^ 67,018
  7. ^ University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide. Includes the 2006 results
  8. ^ University of South Florida Bulls 2006 Football Media Guide (pdf file) page 142, 1st game of 2000 season to 4th game of 2003 season
  9. ^ Greg Auman (September 6, 2008). "Should USF play UCF every year?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ Greg Auman (April 29, 2011). "USF says no contracts proposed for football with UCF". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Mike Bianchi (December 7, 2011). "Finally, Big East gives UCF some much-needed good news". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ Sports: USF adds statement series with Hurricanes
  13. ^
  14. ^ Bill Gramatica - — The Official Web site of the Arena Football League AFL
  15. ^ a b c d Game Preview: UCF at No. 5 USF -—Official Athletics Web Site of the University of South Florida
  16. ^

External links