USF offensive lineman Brad Cecil made a confession before the season started.
His Bulls never wanted to look past an opponent, including the opener at North Carolina State. But the Week 2 home game against the Florida Gators?
“That one’s got an X on the schedule,” Cecil said.
The date arrives Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in the first game of a three-game series between the schools. UF is scheduled to host the Bulls in 2022 and ‘25.
Gators coach Dan Mullen said he expects USF to have “a rocking stadium” with a “big-time atmosphere” for UF’s first road game against the Bulls and its first trip to Tampa since the January 2017 Outback Bowl.
When the game was announced, Mullen said that he liked the idea of UF playing in an NFL stadium that’s close to many players’ families. Administrators liked that UF’s payouts ($750,000 total for two games) are a lot smaller than the seven-figure guarantees some non-conference teams charge.
Cecil has been hyped about the game since it was announced in 2018.
“That was in the back of our head, dating back to then,” Cecil said.
And it was in the back of the Bulls’ heads all offseason. When they were lifting weights, they’d say —somewhat jokingly — that they were adding another 10 pounds for UF, or another 15 for North Carolina State.
With the Wolfpack game over, USF will finally, fully turn its attention to the Gators, and a big opportunity the Bulls have been thinking about for years.
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