TAMPA — USF football has three nationally televised weeknight games in 2009, including home games against Cincinnati and West Virginia.
The Bulls open Big East play Oct. 3 at Syracuse, then have a bye week before a Thursday home game against conference champion Cincinnati on ESPN. The Bulls travel to Pittsburgh on Oct. 24, then have a short turnaround, coming home to play West Virginia on Friday, Oct. 30, on ESPN2. Then another bye before playing Thursday, Nov. 12 at Rutgers on ESPN, the last home game Nov. 21 against Louisville, then what should be a chilly regular-season finale Dec. 5 at Connecticut on either Ch. 28, ESPN or ESPN2.
It's a schedule that shows how much ESPN likes the Bulls — only Pittsburgh and West Virginia, with five each, have more games on ESPN, ESPN2, Ch. 28 and Ch. 8. The Bulls will have nine days or more to prepare for four of their conference games.
NCAA on Tebow: When Florida quarterback Tim Tebow leaves for the Philippines next week, he won't have to worry about the mission trip affecting his NCAA eligibility.
A day after Gators coach Urban Meyer told lawmakers in Tallahassee that Tebow returned for his senior season partly because he was granted a waiver from the NCAA to raise money for the orphanage his father helps out with in the Philippines, the NCAA clarified its position.
Tebow was not given special permission to raise money for Uncle Dick's Home, said Erik Christianson, director of public and media relations for the NCAA. Tebow always has been allowed to promote the orphanage as long as he abides by NCAA guidelines.
Christianson pointed out in an e-mail that the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association is a charitable organization that is separate from Uncle Dick's Home. All donations to Uncle Dick's Home go directly to the orphanage and not to Bob Tebow's association or the Tebow family, and no member of the Tebow family serves on the orphanage's board of directors or staff. So donations to the orphanage from the university or any of the school's boosters would be allowed under NCAA rules, Christianson said.
South Carolina: New quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus says former Jefferson High star Stephen Garcia, who has had several run-ins with the law since arriving on campus in Columbia, is now engaging, attentive and ready to work.
"He's much more curious, and I think he knows it's his time," said Mangus, who gave the sophomore-to-be a clean slate since the former UF quarterback and assistant coach joined Steve Spurrier's staff. "All in all at this stage, no complaints."
Mangus thinks Garcia's game will step up as he practices in the spring — and believes his starter will stay out of trouble and play in the April 11 spring game.
Coker officially back: Eight years after leading the Hurricanes to a BCS national title and more than two years after they fired him, Larry Coker returned to college football with a raucous welcome at Texas-San Antonio, which plans to kick off its first season in 2011. The school has an enrollment of about 28,000, but still has no football facilities, no schedule and no players. "We've got such a great opportunity to build here, and really do it from the ground up and do it the right way," Coker said at his introduction.
Tennessee: Running back David Oku finally signed with new coach Lane Kiffin. The Midwest City, Okla., native, who rushed for 5,802 yards and 72 touchdowns at Carl Albert High, chose the Vols again, after initially committing in October, then deciding to make visits to Syracuse and Auburn.
Information from Times wires contributed to this report.