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Breaking down USF’s 2012 football schedule

The Big East released the 2012 college football schedule last week and the South Florida Bulls could have quite a few tests next year. Coming off of a disappointing 5-7 season, the Bulls will face a number of elite programs from across the country.

Their 12-game schedule includes games against top Big East teams such as Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers. USF will also face in-state rivals Florida State and Miami.

The good news for the Bulls is that their games against Florida State, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will be nationally televised on ESPN, which gives the program a chance to increase their exposure and attract recruits.

This season presents new challenges for the Bulls. Rather than starting their schedule with several Division II opponents, teams generally considered as tune-up game providers, USF will travel to Nevada and host Rutgers in weeks two and three. This is the first time since 2007 that USF has faced a Big East opponent in September.

Last season, USF’s losses came against Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Miami, Louisville and West Virginia. The Bulls will play six of those seven teams again this season.

While the conference games could be difficult, the Bulls have had success against this year’s non-conference opponents, specifically the Seminoles and Hurricanes. Three seasons ago, USF defeated FSU, 17-7, on the road. In 2010, the Bulls beat the Hurricanes, 23-20, on the road. These in-state games are always important, especially for USF’s up-and-coming program. These wins would prove that the team is heading in the right direction and perhaps more importantly, influence potential recruits.

Here is USF’s complete schedule:

- September 1, Chattanooga
- September 8, at Nevada
- September 15, Rutgers *
- September 22, at Ball State
- September 29, Florida State (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2)
- October 6, at Temple *
- October 20, at Louisville *
- October 27, Syracuse *
- November 3, Connecticut *
- November 17, at Miami
- November 23, at Cincinnati (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2) *
- December 1, Pittsburgh (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2) *

[* Big East Conference game]


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