USF announces 3-game football series with Louisville (UPDATED)

USF renews its rivalry with Louisville starting in 2022. (LOREN ELLIOTT | Times)
USF renews its rivalry with Louisville starting in 2022. (LOREN ELLIOTT | Times)
Published January 18 2018
Updated January 18 2018

USF announced Thursday it has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — Coach Charlie Strong's former team — starting in 2022, giving the Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.

USF visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 24, 2022 and Sept. 19, 2026; and hosts Louisville on Sept. 21, 2024. The Bulls, former rivals with Louisville in Conference USA, the Big East and American Athletic Conference, are 5-6 all-time against the Cardinals.

The two-for-one deal, while rare, will add $1 million to the Bulls' coffers. According to the series contract, Louisville will pay USF a total of $1.2 million for the two games the Cardinals will host, and USF will pay Louisville $200,000 for the '24 game in Tampa.

The buyout is $1 million per game,  a significant boost from previous USF contracts with Power Five opponents. Michigan State, for example, paid USF only $250,000 to opt out of a return game in Tampa after the Bulls played the Spartans in East Lansing in '13.

The Cardinals are the second ACC opponent USF will face over the next seven years. The Bulls begin a two-game series against Georgia Tech on Sept. 8 at Raymond James Stadium.

They also face Illinois at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 15. Additionally, USF has three games set with Texas (2020, '22 and '24), and hosts Wisconsin in its '19 opener in the return contest of its two-game series with the Badgers.

"The USF and Louisville programs have featured some of the most exciting players in college football over the last few seasons," Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan said in a school news release.

"We are excited to have Louisville returning to Raymond James Stadium and to add a three-game series with an exciting, top-level opponent with which we share a great deal of history."

USF also announced it has moved previously set game dates with BYU, Massachusetts and San Jose State.

The Bulls and BYU now will begin their two-game series in Tampa on Oct. 12, 2019, moving the Cougars' trip to Tampa up three years from the original '22 date. USF visits BYU in '21.

USF also rescheduled its '17 home game with UMass, canceled due to Hurricane Irma, for Oct. 22, 2022 in Tampa. The Bulls play at UMass on Oct. 6 this season.

USF also moved a home game with San Jose State back three years to Sept. 9, 2023. The return game of a two-game series with the Spartans, which began last August, was originally slated for '20.

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