Miami football won't schedule Bulls after 2013
TAMPA -- USF football suddenly has a limited window of opportunity to get its first win against Miami.
The Bulls have extra incentive to pull off the upset Saturday at Miami, as the Hurricanes have told USF athletic director Doug Woolard that they are not interested in continuing the rivalry beyond 2013, when the existing six-game contract ends.
The two teams, who first played in 2005, are in the second year of a five-year run of playing on Thanksgiving weekend, but as the Bulls looked to extend the series, the Hurricanes have already moved in other directions.
The original contract was signed when Paul Dee was Miami's athletic director, and new AD Kirby Hocutt is declining to continue the series. Miami associate athletic director Chris Freet said Tuesday that "at this point, we are not interested in extending the deal," noting that Miami's 2015 schedule is already complete, including a home game with Cincinnati. There is one opening in 2014, Freet said, but the Hurricanes are looking at neutral-site options, much like a discussed 2013 game at Yankee Stadium. Miami hasn't ruled out renewing the rivalry with USF down the road, but that would be in 2016 at the earliest.
Beating the state's traditional three powers is USF's best way to merit consideration as being on par with the state's "Big Three," and the Bulls did just that in beating Florida State in Tallahassee last season. The Bulls lost in their first game against Florida in September, but they get another shot at FSU in Tampa in 2012, and go back to Gainesville in 2015.
By 2013, USF could have more than seven conference games as the Big East eyes potential expansion. USF athletic director Doug Woolard has scheduled other games against BCS conference opponents outside the state -- the Bulls open next season at Notre Dame, with games scheduled against Michigan State (2013, 2017), N.C. State (2014) and Indiana (2015-16).
GOING HOME: USF defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick was an All-American defensive end at Miami, and he'll see a familiar face on the other sidelines Saturday in head coach Randy Shannon, who was his defensive line coach in 1992 and a graduate assistant in 1991 on the Hurricanes' national championship squad. Miami linebackers coach Micheal Barrow was a teammate of Patrick's from 1989-92, but don't expect a lot of nostalgiac chitchat before the game.
"Mike and I won't talk. Randy and I won't talk this week," Patrick said. "That's just the philosophy of the program that we all grew up in. It's a very competitive nature. They know where my mind is and know what I want to do. There's not much to be said. It's enemy grounds."
It was the same last weekend when Patrick went up against another Miami teammate, Bernard "Tiger" Clark, now the linebackers coach at Pittsburgh. "We hugged and that was it," Patrick said.
Patrick went up against Miami with USF last season, and said returning to Miami makes the trip special, even if it's not to the Orange Bowl he knew as the Hurricanes' home. "The colors and the U, I'm not going to be much more excited than any other game, but deep down, there's something there," he said. "I'm not going to make a big deal about it."
THIS AND THAT: While it makes the preceding loss to Morgan State all the more disappointing, USF's women's basketball team got a quality nonconference win against Auburn on Monday night, getting 33 points from junior guard Andrea Smith. The Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the SEC in the preseason. ... USF softball will open its new 1,500-seat stadium, called USF Softball Park, on Feb. 10 against N.C. State. The Bulls will make good use of the new arena, hosting tournaments on six consecutive weekends through mid-March. Their first 34 games are all home contests, either in Tampa or Clearwater.