USF-West Virginia surge opens upper deck
For only the fourth time in its short history, USF has opened the upper deck of Raymond James Stadium. A steady stream of calls on the first day of individual-ticket sales convinced Bulls officials to open the east side of the upper deck for USF's Sept. 28 game against Big East preseason favorite West Virginia.
The three previous times the upper deck has been opened -- all in 2005, against Florida A&M, Central Florida and West Virginia -- produced the three largest crowds since USF's very first game, all getting at least 43,000 fans. The lower level is not completely sold out, but sales have been enough that USF is freeing up more seats. The excitement isn't just on USF's end, either: opponents are typically allotted 3,000 tickets to sell to their fans, but West Virginia has already requested 4,000, with nearly two months until kickoff.
-- I've gotten a few e-mails from fans curious about USF's family plan (two adult and two children's season tickets for $300) and how the Bulls will ensure that kids are using the kids' tickets. Assistant athletic director Jim Louk tells me USF is having special tickets made for this promotion, so that the "child's ticket" will be marked as such, and ticket-takers will be asked to eyeball ticketholders accordingly. (I'm thinking you could sneak a 10-year-old in with an adult ticket, just not vice versa).
-- Expect news on Thursday on Alabama transfer running back Jamar Taylor, who is eagerly waiting to hear if he's been accepted into USF. I'm hearing a fair amount of optimism that'll work out, but pulling off a hardship waiver to allow him to play this season could be another challenge, if only from the logistics of the season starting in four weeks. USF went 3-for-3 on those last year, so don't rule anything out.