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  1. Florida

USF’s history vs. national title programs

Alabama is among seven Bulls foes with a national title to its credit.
Published May 24, 2019

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.


Oklahoma (0-1)

South Florida quarterback Marquel Blackwell (10) escapes the pressure of Oklahoma defender Jimmy Wilkerson (45)  Saturday, Sept. 28, 2002, during a game  in Norman, Okla.   (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)
South Florida quarterback Marquel Blackwell (10) escapes the pressure of Oklahoma defender Jimmy Wilkerson (45) Saturday, Sept. 28, 2002, during a game in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

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.

FSU (1-3)

South Florida defensive tackle Keith McCaskill (91) and his USF teammates celebrated with five sacks in its 17-7 stunner against FSU in 2009. The Bulls have not fared as well against FSU since that upset.  [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]
South Florida defensive tackle Keith McCaskill (91) and his USF teammates celebrated with five sacks in its 17-7 stunner against FSU in 2009. The Bulls have not fared as well against FSU since that upset. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]

’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.

Related: Before UCF-USF scheduling feud, 'Noles played anywhere, any time in quest for national respect


Miami (1-5)

South Florida's Kevin Gidrey (45) leads his team onto the field to celebrate after the Bulls' 23-20 overtime win over Miami. The teams renew the rivalry in 2025. [AP Photo/J Pat Carter]
South Florida's Kevin Gidrey (45) leads his team onto the field to celebrate after the Bulls' 23-20 overtime win over Miami. The teams renew the rivalry in 2025. [AP Photo/J Pat Carter]

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.

Related: USF agrees to 2-for-1 football series with Miami


Auburn (1-0)

South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe celebrates a 26-23 overtime win over Auburn in 2007. [AP Photo/Dave Martin]
South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe celebrates a 26-23 overtime win over Auburn in 2007. [AP Photo/Dave Martin]

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.


Florida (0-1)

South Florida running back Moise Plancher (3) gets wrapped up by Florida Gators linebacker A.J. Jones (16) during Florida's 38-14 victory over the Bulls in 2010. It's the only time the programs met.  [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]
South Florida running back Moise Plancher (3) gets wrapped up by Florida Gators linebacker A.J. Jones (16) during Florida's 38-14 victory over the Bulls in 2010. It's the only time the programs met. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]
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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.

Clemson (1-0)

Bulls head coach Skip Holtz gives USF president Judy Genshaft a hug on stage after a 31-26 over Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bow in Charlotte, NC. Genshaft would fire Holtz two years later. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times]
Bulls head coach Skip Holtz gives USF president Judy Genshaft a hug on stage after a 31-26 over Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bow in Charlotte, NC. Genshaft would fire Holtz two years later. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times]

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.

Alabama (0-1)

USF receiver Huey Whittaker holds on to a Ronnie Banks' pass for a gain of 37 yards in the second quarter.  USF Bulls play Alabama Crimson Tide in their season opener at Legion Field in Birmingham, Al., on Saturday (8/30/2003).
USF receiver Huey Whittaker holds on to a Ronnie Banks' pass for a gain of 37 yards in the second quarter. USF Bulls play Alabama Crimson Tide in their season opener at Legion Field in Birmingham, Al., on Saturday (8/30/2003).

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.

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