USF, FSU to play home-and-home in '09, '12
USF won't have to wait until Thanksgiving for a shot at one of the state's "Big Three" programs. USF and Florida State have announced that the two schools will meet in a home-and-home series, with the first meeting in Tallahassee on Sept. 26 this fall and the return game in Tampa on Sept. 29, 2012.
"This is a milestone moment for our program and a tremendous opportunity for our players,” USF coach Jim Leavitt said in a statement. "Florida State has a great football tradition and we have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They will present our team with a great challenge and we embrace that."
The Times' Brian Landman first reported the possibility of a home-and-home series on his blog on Monday after speaking with Seminoles athletic director Randy Spetman. USF had a full schedule for this fall but will move its previously scheduled Oct. 10 game at Indiana to the 2015 season to free up an opening for the Seminoles.
"We are pleased to have added USF to our football schedule," Spetman said in a release on FSU's official site. "Anytime you can play a quality in-state opponent, everybody wins because it generates excitement for fans of both schools throughout the state."
This news means that USF will play all three of the state's other BCS conference schools in the next two seasons -- the Bulls and Miami will play each year for the next five seasons on Thanksgiving week, and USF is scheduled to play a game in Gainesville against the Gators in 2010 and again in 2015.
To accommodate the 2012 game, USF has shifted its scheduled game at Michigan State until 2013, with the Spartans' return game to Tampa now scheduled for 2017. The Indiana series has been shifted as well, with the Tampa game in 2015 and the Bloomington game in 2016. Here's the official release from USF, along with a year-by-year look at future nonconference schedules. Presuming the Bulls continue to play two nonconference BCS teams each year, the Bulls are fully booked on BCS opponents through the 2013 season.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden acknowledged in July the possibility of the two teams meeting, though he expressed some reluctance because of the danger of losing to the Bulls. "You usually try to find somebody that you've got a chance to win, instead of getting your nose bloodied," he said.
-- Greg Auman and Brian Landman, Times staff writers