You can’t exactly feel it in the still-warm Florida air, but you can absolutely feel it in the excitement buzzing all over the country – college football season is here. After “week zero” gave the sport something of a soft open last weekend, week one on the collegiate gridiron has officially arrived.
Here in Tampa, the action starts at 4 pm on Saturday, as the University of South Florida welcomes 25th-ranked BYU for a marquee matchup to kick off head coach Jeff Scott’s third – and most anticipated – season at the helm for the Bulls. And to make it sweeter, tickets to USF’s first five home games are available 2-for-1, so you and a friend can hit Saturday’s gameday for the price of a single ticket.
As Scott, the former National Champion and longtime offensive coordinator under Dabo Swinney at Clemson, enters his third year as the Bulls head coach, anticipation is higher than ever. In addition to a schedule featuring so many marquee opponents, we’re specifically looking at three reasons we can’t wait to see USF in action this fall.
Gerry Bohanon brings championship-caliber play to QB position
If you weren’t paying attention, you may have missed the news, but anyone close to the program has raved about the newest member of the quarterback room. Last year, quarterback Gerry Bohanon led Baylor all the way to the Big XII Championship Game, a win in the Sugar Bowl over Ole Miss, and a final ranking of No. 5 in the country.
Now, he’s QB1 for the Bulls after transferring over this summer, and reports from fall camp have more than lived up to the hype. Scott knows quarterbacks well, and he’s particularly adept at getting the most from them. With Bohanon leading the way, the USF offense should provide plenty of entertainment.
I wanna Shoop, baby
Cue the Salt-N-Pepa. USF’s new defensive coordinator, Bob Shoop, is one of the most proven and intellectual defensive minds in college football. I had the opportunity to cover him in my former job as a Southeastern Conference football writer when he led Mississippi State to finish with the No. 1 defense in the country, despite playing in the gauntlet SEC West.
At any stop he’s made, Shoop has delivered immediate and impressive results. Pair the excitement Bohanon brings on offense with the defensive playcalling Shoop brings to the table, and both sides of the ball have much to feel good about as the Bulls get ready to kick off the season.
Keepin’ it local
Here’s a big stat to start the season – USF has a whopping 27 players on the roster from the Tampa Bay Area. The state of Florida is well represented all over, but the Bulls take it another step further with such a concentration of stars who grew up in this talent-rich area.
From Sickles High and Wharton High to Wiregrass Ranch and Carrollwood Day, with Gaither, Berkeley and a dozen others mixed in, the local talent makes up a huge chunk of the roster. Check out the roster and see if you can find someone from your high school to keep an eye on this season.