TAMPA — USF coach Jeff Scott began his thoughts on conference realignment with a disclaimer.
“First of all,” Scott said Tuesday, “no one knows, right? There’s really nobody in charge.”
But over the coming days, weeks and months (if not years), the various somebodies who are in charge of college sports are going to look at the Bulls as a potential candidate for the Big 12, ACC or wherever else. And Scott knows there’s only one thing he can do about it.
“The best thing that we can do to help ourselves is to improve our team,” Scott said. “Go win.”
USF admittedly hasn’t done enough of that lately. The Bulls went 1-8 last year in Scott’s first season and are 13-22 since their high-profile loss to UCF in 2017. They can’t change that past, but they can start changing the future while overhauling their reputation in the process.
Scott, like everyone else, doesn’t know when this round of realignment will end or where it will go, beyond Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC by 2025. The Big 12 has talked with the Pac-12 about a potential partnership. The Big 12 could look into poaching Group of Five schools like USF — or the AAC could end up adding the Big 12 castoffs. As Scott said, no one knows at this point.
But Scott does know that USF has a skilled administrator in charge. Athletic director Michael Kelly worked in the ACC and the College Football Playoff, so he’s well connected to the powerbrokers who will be shaping the sport’s future (and USF’s spot in it).
Beyond that, Scott is eager to tout USF’s positives. The Bulls are in a great area. They’ve had flashes of football success and are in the middle of a $25 million facilities upgrade that includes the new-look locker room.
To Scott, there’s only one ingredient missing.
“I just want to see our football team be a team on the rise…” Scott said. “I really feel like if we can hit this at the right time, that we’re going to put ourselves in the best position possible….
“The biggest impact we can have on however this realignment goes for South Florida is improving our brand on TV each and every week.”
Translation: Go win.
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