Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida Bulls coach Jim Leavitt doesn't like Big Four talk

TAMPA — Count coach Jim Leavitt decidedly among those who do not like the new billboard on I-275 touting the Bulls' arrival to the "Big Four" of the state's elite football program.

"Somebody said it talks about us being in the Big Four. That's not me. Totally not me," Leavitt said Tuesday after his weekly conference with the media. "I don't know how it got up, who put it up, but I had nothing to do with it."

The billboard, on northbound I-275 just south of the I-4 interchange, was put up by USF's athletic department and shows the "Big 3" with the 3 crossed out and replaced with a 4. USF's logo is shown with that of Florida, Florida State and Miami, with the message "Welcome to the Club Bulls Fans!" It's a celebration of unbeaten USF's 17-7 win at Florida State on Sept. 26, but Leavitt said it's a bit over the top.

"I've been asked through the years 'Are we part of the Big Four?' and I've always maintained that … all I'm saying is for us to even have a discussion, you can't even discuss those kind of things unless you win one of those games. By winning one game, it doesn't necessarily put us in the Big Four. Let other people talk about that stuff. We won one game, and that's it.

"I grew up here. I have great respect for those three programs. We have not won national championships. We have not won conference championships. What gives us the right to sit there and say, because we beat Florida State up there, all the sudden now, like we've won all these championships and done all these things? That's not me. That's never been me. I don't want anybody ever to think here I'm the guy having anything to do with that. That bothers me."

Leavitt said the message he wants to project is still a humble one, albeit one that doesn't translate well to billboards.

"When a billboard goes up like that, what bothers me is I don't want people to sit there and think I think we're all that, because we're not," Leavitt said. "We're a program that's trying to get competitive, a program trying to build, a program trying to give an opportunity to some of the young people to get their degrees who didn't have an opportunity in this area."

ATTENDANCE: The final numbers for football season tickets have 24,185 sold and distributed, a dropoff of 13.3 percent from last year's record high of 27,879. The athletic budget had anticipated a dropoff of 15 percent, so it's slightly above expectations, and the Bulls have sold about 1,500 "miniplans," which allow fans to pick three of four remaining home games for $50.

USF's next game has No. 8 Cincinnati coming to Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 15, with the home schedule wrapping up with a long-awaited game against No. 11 Miami on Nov. 28.

THIS AND THAT: The volleyball team (9-4) has designated Friday's home match against West Virginia as its "Dig Pink" match, with fans encouraged to make donations toward breast cancer awareness. More than 700 college and high school teams are participating in the event and hoping to raise $1 million. … The men's soccer team (7-1-1, 3-1-1), ranked fifth or higher in all five national polls, has a key match tonight at Louisville, ranked as high as No. 11. The Bulls return home to face St. John's on Saturday night. Women's soccer (5-4-3) has its final home matches this weekend, with Providence on Friday and Connecticut on Sunday.

Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

South Florida Bulls coach Jim Leavitt doesn't like Big Four talk 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 9:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.