USF football could host Rutgers on early Thursday
I'll stress that this is for now only a possibility, but there's a real chance USF football could be starting its 2012 Big East football season a few weeks earlier than usual, and at a potential disadvantage.
As the league starts working out its conference football schedule now that Temple is on board, one scenario being considered has USF playing host to Rutgers on ESPN on Thursday, Sept. 13, just five days after the Bulls travel to Nevada for a game. The schools, we remind you, have no veto power in conference scheduling -- if you don't have a game scheduled, it's fair game for ESPN and the Big East, which will start working together Thursday in slotting the dates for 28 Big East conference games for 2012.
The game would be part of a ridiculous opening month for new Rutgers coach Kyle Flood, who opens at Tulane on Sept. 1, then plays at home against I-AA Howard on Sept. 8, then would visit USF on a short week, then play at Arkansas on Sept. 22. USF opens at home against I-AA Chattanooga, then travels to Reno on Sept. 8, then (right now) has an open date before traveling to Muncie, Ind., to play Ball State on Sept. 22 before returning home to play Florida State on Sept. 29.
Both teams would be operating on short weeks and both would have to travel once within that short week, but it's hard to compare Rutgers' 1,100-mile trip to Tampa with what the Bulls will do, picking up three time zones and traveling 2,800 miles from Reno back to Tampa. It's hard to imagine USF agreeing to such a scenario, but again, the schools don't have a say in that matter, only a hope for a fair scenario.
If ESPN wants a Big East game the week of Sept. 15, it doesn't have many other options -- Temple is the only other Big East team without a nonconference game already scheduled that week, according to FBschedules.com.
USF had scheduled the Nevada game -- its farthest regular-season trip west in a decade -- with the expectations of a bye the following week. The Big East won't make such assurances, however, so it's up to whatever window ESPN chooses for one of its most-viewed rivalries. The league schedule could be released in about two weeks, though Cincinnati and Temple still have non-conference openings on their schedules, so the conference wants to help facilitate those games as well.