TAMPA — USF suddenly has a limited window of opportunity to get its first football win against Miami.
With the Bulls looking for an upset Saturday at Miami, the Hurricanes have told athletic director Doug Woolard they are not interested in continuing the rivalry beyond 2013, when their six-game contract ends.
The teams, which first played in 2005, are in the second year of a five-year run of playing on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Bulls wanted to extend the series. The original contract was signed when Paul Dee was Miami's athletic director. New AD Kirby Hocutt is declining to continue the series. Miami associate athletic director Chris Freet said Tuesday that "at this point, we are not interested in extending the deal," noting that Miami's 2015 schedule is complete, including a home game with Cincinnati.
There is one opening in 2014, Freet said, but the Hurricanes are looking at neutral-site options, much like a discussed 2013 game at Yankee Stadium.
Beating the state's traditional three powers is USF's best way to merit consideration as being on par with them. The Bulls beat Florida State in Tallahassee last season. They lost their first game against Florida in September. They get another shot at FSU in Tampa in 2012 and go back to Gainesville in 2015.
By 2013, USF could have more than seven conference games as the Big East eyes expansion. Woolard has scheduled other games against BCS conference opponents outside the state: next season at Notre Dame, Michigan State (2013, 2017), N.C. State (2014) and Indiana (2015-16).
GOING HOME: USF defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick was an All-America defensive end at Miami, and he will see a familiar face on the other sideline Saturday in coach Randy Shannon, who was his defensive line coach in 1992 and a graduate assistant in 1991 on the Hurricanes' national title squad.
Also, Miami linebackers coach Micheal Barrow was a teammate of Patrick's from 1989 to 1992.
"Mike and I won't talk. Randy and I won't talk this week," Patrick said. "That's just the philosophy of the program that we all grew up in. It's a very competitive nature. They know where my mind is and know what I want to do. There's not much to be said. It's enemy grounds."
It was the same last weekend when Patrick went up against another Miami teammate, Bernard Clark, the linebackers coach at Pittsburgh. "We hugged, and that was it," Patrick said.
Patrick went up against Miami with USF last season and said returning to Miami makes the trip special, even if it's not to the Orange Bowl he knew as the Hurricanes' home.
"The colors and the U, I'm not going to be much more excited than any other game, but deep down, there's something there," he said. "I'm not going to make a big deal about it."
THIS AND THAT: Though it makes the preceding loss to Morgan State all the more disappointing, the USF women's basketball team got a quality nonconference win against Auburn on Monday, getting 33 points from junior G Andrea Smith. The Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the SEC in the preseason. … USF softball opens its 1,500-seat stadium, USF Softball Park, on Feb. 10 vs. N.C. State. The Bulls will make good use of the new arena, hosting tournaments on six consecutive weekends through mid March. Their first 34 games are home contests, either in Tampa or Clearwater.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.