TAMPA — The Big East released its 2008 football schedules Monday, and USF has four national TV games, matching the most of any conference team.
Three USF games — a Friday game at Central Florida on Sept. 5, a Thursday home game against Pittsburgh on Oct. 2 and a Thursday game at Cincinnati on Oct. 30 — have been designated for broadcast on ESPN. The regular-season finale Dec. 6 at West Virginia will go on ESPN or ESPN2. Either way, no Big East team has more games on ESPN's main network than USF.
"We are pleased with the spotlight that ESPN and the Big East have presented to our program," athletic director Doug Woolard said in a statement. "USF is on the rise and ESPN recognizes that we are an attractive team to college football viewers across the country."
USF had hoped to finish the season at home against Rutgers with a national TV game on Thursday, Dec. 4, but now it will close at West Virginia, as it did with a huge upset two seasons ago.
The Bulls have three bye weeks, but none coincide with their weeknight games, so they'll have short weeks leading up to the UCF, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati games. USF has a full week to prepare for the finale at West Virginia, a potential league championship game; the Mountaineers have a key rivalry game at Pittsburgh eight days before meeting the Bulls.
MORE FOOTBALL: The Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry will move back to its traditional Thanksgiving slot for the next two years. The longtime Thanksgiving event was moved to the day after in 1996. The switch back accommodates a Thanksgiving night ESPN broadcast. … Saints running back Reggie Bush failed to show up for a scheduled deposition in a civil lawsuit against the former Southern Cal star. … Former Minnesota assistant Everett Withers was named North Carolina defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. … Arkansas is raising the price of general admission tickets from $35 to $45 to cover rising expenses.
BASEBALL: Senior second baseman Dexter Butler, the only USF player named to the Big East preseason all-conference team, has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. Butler, who has started 158 games the past three seasons, did not play in the opening series against Indiana State. Freshman Jonathan Koscso started for him.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.
USF 2008 schedule
Sept. 5at UCF (7, ESPN)
Sept. 20at FIU
Sept. 27at N.C. State
Oct. 2Pittsburgh (ESPN)
Oct. 18 Syracuse
Oct. 25at Louisville
Oct. 30at Cincinnati (ESPN)
Dec. 6at West Virginia