USF football adds Stony Brook, Elon in '17, '18
USF football has lined up two more Division I-AA opponents for future home openers, agreeing to deals to play host to Stony Brook in 2017 and Elon in 2018.
The Bulls now have I-AA teams lined up for the next six seasons -- the last two games the Bulls added to future schedules were I-AA opponents, with Western Carolina opening the 2014 season and Towson opening in 2016. This fall's schedule opens against McNeese State, and the Bulls will play Florida A&M to open 2015.
The Bulls have faced both new opponents before -- USF beat Stony Brook 59-14 in 2010 and beat Elon 28-13 in 2007, after splitting two games with the Phoenix in the Bulls' first two seasons of football in 1997-98.
USF was able to secure both home games at a relatively inexpensive cost -- the Bulls will pay Stony Brook $425,000 to come to Tampa in 2017 and $400,000 to Elon the next year. USF has protected itself against opponents backing out of the contract -- Stony Brook would pay the same $425,000 to cancel the game, and that cost doubles to $850,000 after Sept. 1, 2016; Elon has the same clause at $400,000 and $800,000. USF can cancel the game at a $250,000 penalty, doubling to $500,000 within a year of the scheduled kickoff. Elon signed the contract on Dec. 10 and Stony Brook signed its deal Feb. 22; the agreements were released to the Times on Wednesday in response to a public records request.
USF has played host to at least I-AA opponent in all of its 16 seasons -- it's a common practice among most major programs to secure a home game without having to play a road game in return. The Bulls still have openings for nonconference games as soon as the 2014 season, with home-and-home series lined up against Michigan State (away in 2013, home in 2017) and Indiana (home in 2015, away in 2016), with home games to finish series against Florida Atlantic (2013), Miami (2013), N.C. State (2014) and Nevada (2015). USF has a contract to play a future game against Florida in Gainesville, though that game isn't tied to a specific season.