TAMPA — Thing is, they're fun to watch.Another night, another game of empty upper decks at Raymond James Stadium for USF. We thought about the record college football crowd that saw Tennessee and Virginia Tech play Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, 156,990 people. Martin Truex led at the half.At least Saturday's crowd for Northern Illinois was larger than the one for the opener against Towson, for whatever that's worth. Likewise USF's reported double secret in-person presentation to the Big 12 on Friday. Good turnout there: Jeff Vinik in person, Tony Dungy on video.But the crowd was larger Saturday, announced at 36,557. The actual attendance was probably around 10,000 fewer, but it beat 22,000 and change last week.There's such a long way to go.Because this team is fun to watch.If it can get you through the turnstiles once, you might just come back."We want to get to where it used to be," linebacker Auggie Sanchez said. "My brother (Armando) played here when they filled the place up. That's what we want."They played like it, with a convincing 48-17 win over Northern Illinois, which featured more than 600 yards of offense, only the second time that has happened in program history.Okay, so all it means at the moment is that USF would be a powerhouse in the MAC.But the Bulls overpowered this team even without Marlon Mack. They made quick, methodical work of what could have been a pre-bear-trap game before next week's possible bear trap at Syracuse before the Sept. 24 game, back here against No. 3 Florida State. Got all that?Get all this:USF's Quinton Flowers threw for 350 yards and tied a career high with four touchdown passes. Receiver Rodney Adams ran for a touchdown and caught one. Darius Tice stepped in for Mack and ran for a career-high 120 yards. The defense stepped up, too. The Bulls are 2-0 for the first time under Willie Taggart. They have put up 97 points through two games. They are a winning product.Yes, those empty upper decks are a reminder of what USF is up against. But this team is worth a look."I appreciate it," Taggart said of the crowd. "It was nice. It was loud."By the way, AAC juggernaut and college football flavor of the month Houston pounded Lamar in front of thousands of empty seats. Guess you can't play Oklahoma every week. Just saying.Northern Illinois was never going to be a pushover. The Huskies have played in a record six straight MAC championship games and went to the Orange Bowl a few years back, which is more than USF has ever done.No matter. USF took care of business. And the Bulls were fun to watch.The Syracuse trip, at first glance, seems a prime suspect for a trap game. A 3:30 game in upstate New York, indoors, on the way to the FSU game. But USF is 7-2 all time against Syracuse, including 4-0 at the Carrier Dome. And the Syracuse game last year turned USF's season around. By the way, Louisville shredded the Syracuse secondary in a 62-28 victory Friday night. USF might be equally hard to stop. The Bulls have won seven of their past eight home games, all by three touchdowns or more. Raymond James should be close to packed when USF and FSU come together. That's the next home game. It could be the biggest game in USF history. There are still tickets available. If you're on the fence, there's this:This team is fun to watch."We got to get people back," Flowers said. "And keep them."