Notre Dame as opener? Thank President's Cup golf
To fully appreciate the value of USF getting to play Notre Dame in a season opener, with months of excitement in advance and a larger platform for such a big game, Bulls fans first need to thank the President's Cup golf tournament, which will be in Melbourne, Australia, in two months.
When USF and Notre Dame originally agreed to play in 2011 -- back in January 2008 -- the game was to be played on Nov. 19, which would have meant Notre Dame and Miami in back-to-back weeks. A week after the original announcement, the game was moved to Oct. 1 (in the fifth week of the season) so it would not conflict with NBC's coverage of the President's Cup.
And then in February 2010, a month after Skip Holtz was hired and the incredible storyline of Holtz returning to South Bend added to the game's intrigue, USF athletic director Doug Woolard took advantage of an offer to move the game to the season opener.
"I thought this game could mean so much to the university, the entire university, on so many platforms, and I think it worked out that way," Woolard said on the field after the game. "It just kept building. When I had a chance to move it, I thought it'd be significant. I thought people would talk about it from June until (now) and it certainly worked out."
One more note from that original announcement -- Notre Dame cut USF a check for $850,000 to come to South Bend, and the Bulls get an additional payment from the Big East for the TV revenues from playing a national game on NBC. It's close to a million dollars in all in addition to one of the biggest wins in school history. That's now the most lucrative victory in USF football history, topping the $650,000 the Bulls got to go to Auburn in 2007.