The South Florida Bulls football team, representing the University of South Florida, started off their football journey in 1997. The team competes in the American Athletic Conference (The American) of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, as their home turf.
The Bulls got their start in 1997 with Jim Leavitt as their first head coach. Interestingly, their initial team meetings took place under a shade tree, as the university lacked proper football facilities on campus. In their early years, the Bulls competed as a Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) independent team. During the 2000 season, their final year in Division I-AA, the Bulls made waves by defeating three top 15 teams: No. 13 James Madison, No. 6 Western Kentucky, and No. 1 Troy State, along with Division I-A Connecticut. This impressive season concluded with a 7–4 record, featuring losses only to Division I-A opponents.
In 2001, the Bulls transitioned to Division I-A (now Division I FBS), continuing as an independent team. They joined Conference USA in 2003 but later moved to the Big East Conference (now the American Athletic Conference) in 2005. Notably, in 2022, following a challenging season start, the team underwent a change in leadership. Scott was relieved of his coaching duties, and Alex Golesh took over as the program’s sixth head coach. The year 2023 marked a significant development as the USF’s Board of Trustees approved funding for an on-campus football stadium, slated to open in 2026.
Conference Affiliations & Championships
Over the years, the Bulls have been part of different conferences. They began as an independent team and later joined three separate conferences.
- Independent (1997–2002)
- Conference USA (2003–2004)
- Big East Conference (2005–2012)
- American Athletic Conference (2013–present)
While the Bulls have notched several significant achievements, they are yet to secure a Division championship. In 2016, they came close, winning The American – East division but ultimately losing the tiebreaker to the Temple Owls.
Stadium and Facilities
Raymond James Stadium, which the Bulls began using in 1998, has been their home field since. Initially, the upper sections of the stadium were not utilized during USF games, but the lower sections could accommodate 41,441 fans. On September 28, 2007, the Bulls played a monumental game against the No. 5 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in front of 67,012 fans, marking the largest USF home game crowd until September 29, 2012, when they faced the FSU Seminoles before 69,383 fans.
In August 2017, USF began exploring potential sites for an on-campus stadium with a seating capacity ranging from 40,000 to 50,000 fans. The university’s officials and board of trustees expressed renewed interest in this endeavor in 2021, prioritizing the project under interim president Rhea Law. In addition to their stadium, the Bulls conduct practices at the Frank Morsani Football Practice Complex, established in 2011.
USF has had spirited matchups with several teams over the years, including Louisville (5–6 overall record) and West Virginia (3–4 overall record, 3–3 when the opponent was ranked in the Top 25). The rivalry with in-state opponent UCF, which began in 2005, garnered significant attention from fans. The two schools met in a four-year, home-and-away series through 2008, with USF emerging victorious in all four games.
However, the series didn’t become an annual conference game again until UCF joined the American in 2013. Unfortunately, the annual matchup concluded after the 2022 season, as UCF transitioned to the Big 12 in 2023. As of the 2022 season, the Knights hold an 8–6 lead in the series.
Hall of Fame Members
Several notable athletes from the Bulls have earned a place in the USF Athletic Hall of Fame. Notable inductees include:
- Anthony Henry – DB (1997–2000)
- Marquel Blackwell – QB (1999–2002)
- George Selvie – DE (2006–09)
- Quinton Flowers – QB (2014–17)
Traditions, Customs & Future Lineups
The Bulls sport the colors green and gold, with their fight song being the “Golden Brahman March.” Leading the charge is their charismatic mascot, Rocky D. Bull, who keeps the crowd entertained with his spirited presence. Adding to the team’s performance is the dynamic Herd of Thunder marching band, filling the stadium with energetic tunes and catchy beats.
The Bulls have their schedules lined up for several years, promising thrilling matchups for their fans. As of November 2022, the announced schedules feature a range of opponents, including Western Kentucky, Alabama, Boise State, Notre Dame, and many others in the upcoming seasons. For the latest updates and information, fans can visit their official website at gousfbulls.com.
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Q : When was the South Florida Bulls football team established?
A : The South Florida Bulls football team was established in 1997.
Q : Which conference does the South Florida Bulls football team compete in?
A : The team competes in the American Athletic Conference (The American).
Q : Where do the South Florida Bulls play their home games?
A : The Bulls play their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.