USF may not have captured any titles in its 22-season football history, but it has managed to haul in its share of titlists.
Thursday’s news that the Bulls have scheduled a three-game football series with Alabama reminded us that USF has played ― and in some cases, will keep playing ― seven programs that have won a national title since the dawn of the BCS era (1998-on). USF’s record against the seven teams are in parentheses.
Marquel Blackwell and Co. fell to the No. 2-ranked Sooners, 31-14, in 2002. At the time, it was the biggest game in program history. USF outgained Oklahoma 328-229 despite the lopsided score. The Sooners honored then USF athletic director and former Oklahoma great Lee Roy Selmon at halftime.
’Noles have rolled in the last three meetings since USF’s 17-7 upset in B.J. Daniels’ starting debut in ’09. Bulls players climbed into the stands at Doak Campbell Stadium to celebrate with fans after the upset.
This rivalry will have been dormant for a dozen years when the Bulls and 'Canes meet again in 2025. USF’s only win in the series actually occurred in Miami.
USF’s 26-23 overtime win in 2007 ― on Matt Grothe’s 21st birthday ― gave Bulls their first ranking ever. Grothe, out of Lakeland Lake Gibson High, remains one of the program’s all-time greats.
Bulls fell, 38-14, in Gainesville in Game 2 of the Skip Holtz era. Played at high noon on Labor Day weekend, it may have been one of the hottest games in Florida Field history.
Thanks to a 31-26 triumph in the ’10 Meineke Car Care Bowl, Bulls can say they own the three-time national champions. B.J. Daniels threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third to lead USF.
Bulls thumped in Birmingham, 40-17, in 2003 opener. But the game was actually tied 7-7 before the Tide ripped off 10 points in a 26-second span at the end of the first half. A number of USF fans, many painted in green and gold, went home disappointed.