So how good is USF’s non-conference slate? As good as any in AAC

USF has 14 non-conference games against Power Five foes in the next decade
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) runs against Georgia Tech linebacker Victor Alexander (9) during the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) runs against Georgia Tech linebacker Victor Alexander (9) during the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
Published May 15

TAMPA ― At this moment, USF's foreseeable non-conference schedule looks appealing, sturdy, perhaps even rugged.

Not to mention as stout as any in the American Athletic Conference over the next decade.

Upon learning Tuesday that Bulls athletic director Michael Kelly had brokered a three-game series with Miami (the latest in a handful of two-for-one deals with Power Five programs), we nibbled at a few non-conference numbers to see just where USF stacks up in its league.

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

Currently, it has 14 non-conference games scheduled against Power Five opposition over the next 10 seasons. Only Temple and Tulane ― with 17 each ― have more, according to fbschedules.com.

But that’s only skimming the surface. Just how strong is the collective Power Five opposition these teams are scheduling?

Since we obviously can’t predict the future, we can only go by present metrics. Based on those, the Bulls’ non-league slate remains among the AAC’s best.

Over the next 10 seasons, USF will have nine non-conference games against teams ranked in the top 35 of last season’s S&P+ ratings. They include three games each against Florida (No. 9) and UM (No. 27).

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Only East Carolina, with 13 games against top-35 S&P+ teams; and Tulsa (12) have more. Skewering the numbers in the Pirates’ favor are four games over the next eight years against Appalachian State (No. 29). Tulsa, meantime, plays Oklahoma State (No. 22) eight times over the next decade.

As for UCF? It currently has one non-AAC game ― this season against Stanford (No. 26) ― slated against a top-35 S&P+ team over the next decade.

But as this story indicates, the Knights’ desire to annually schedule seven home games precludes them from agreeing to the two-for-one deals (two road trips in return for one home game) that have become popular among some of their peers (including USF).

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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