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USF Bulls to visit UCF, miss West Division powers next football season

The Big East unveiled its conference football opponents for 2013 on Tuesday, and there's good and bad news for USF. The Bulls don't have to play West Division powers Boise State and San Diego State but will reopen its rivalry with Central Florida in Orlando.

USF could have anticipated four of its eight conference games from existing rivalries — home against Cincinnati and Louisville, at Rutgers and Connecticut — because the opposite was played this season. The other four games have USF hosting new arrivals Memphis and SMU, and traveling to face UCF and Houston.

The last game in the USF-UCF rivalry was in Orlando, but that in 2008, and the league can't recognize the alternating sites in every existing rivalry in the league. Instead of Boise and San Diego State — easily the toughest teams this season from those in the 2013 West — the Bulls get SMU, Houston and Memphis, which combined for a 15-21 record.

SMART MOVE: When new football coach Willie Taggart says his quarterbacks have to be smart to succeed in his system, don't worry about Bulls commitment Mike White, who accepted a scholarship offer 15 minutes after getting on the bus after a state championship win in Orlando on Saturday.

White, a 6-foot-5, 195-pounder from University School in Fort Lauderdale, was just a one-year starter but wowed Bulls coaches last spring and earned the scholarship offer with strong play in a state semifinal win against Clearwater Central Catholic.

White drew interest from Ivy League programs Princeton, Columbia and Yale, and carries a 4.3 weighted grade-point average, 3.9 unweighted.

"My decision-making ability is a strength on the field," said White, also a top-tier pitcher. "Being a pitcher helps with the mental part of the game."

University had another lanky standout sign with the Bulls last year, DE Daniel Perry. White, who is considering graduating early to enroll at USF in January, was recently named the state's Class 3A player of the year.

DEGREES OF SUCCESS: USF football will have 11 seniors graduating at Saturday's fall commencement: LB Sam Barrington, FB Chris Breit, OG Danous Estenor, DT Cory Grissom, LB Kalin Hall, RB Lindsey Lamar, S Jon Lejiste, WR Victor Marc, RB Demetris Murray, TE Andreas Shields and CB Kayvon Webster.

THIS AND THAT: It's probably not a coincidence that outgoing Big East members Louisville and Rutgers are playing at Boise State in football as parting gifts from the league next year. … Watch for USF men's basketball to take a long look at sophomore Musa Abdul-Aleem, who missed the first seven games with a foot injury and made a cameo debut in USF's loss at Oklahoma State last week. Abdul-Aleem is a physical guard whose size and strength could be an upgrade for the Bulls, but he'll need to get into rhythm quickly with Big East play just weeks away. … One name to keep an eye out for as Taggart builds his coaching staff is Jay Harbaugh, son of 49ers coach Jim and a quality control assistant with uncle John's Ravens. Taggart is like a brother to Jim and considers father Jack Harbaugh his mentor. Jay worked as a student assistant while studying at Oregon State.

USF Bulls to visit UCF, miss West Division powers next football season 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:34pm]

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