By Matthew Vandenburgh
Friday, Aug. 30 will see the University of South Florida begin their 2019 season on national television, playing host to the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
The Badgers are currently ranked number 17 in the nation in the “CBS Sports Way-too-early Top 25 rankings for 2019” and will certainly be an instant test for the Bulls, a team that went into the 2018 season with big expectations only to collapse spectacularly, losing seven games in a row to end the season with a 7-7 record.
USF then goes on the road to face Georgia Tech on Sat., Sept. 7, a rematch from last season that saw the Bulls win 49-38 over the Yellow Jackets. September closes out with two other home games, Sept. 14 against South Carolina State and Sept. 28 against SMU.
October has four games, at UConn on Oct. 5, home against BYU on Oct. 12, the first time USF and BYU have met on a football field. The BYU game will also serve as the Homecoming game, to add another special layer onto the contest. They will then have another two road games, in Annapolis against Navy on Oct. 19 and at ECU on Oct. 26.
November closes the regular season with an all-conference schedule. First the Bulls host Temple on Thurs. Nov 7, before getting Cincinnati on Nov. 16. Their last home game will be against the defending West Division champions Memphis on Sat., Nov. 23 before going to Orlando on Fri., Nov. 29 for the War on I-4 against defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF.
If USF wins the East Division crown, they play for the conference title on Sat., Dec. 7 at home stadium of the team with the best record.
It will be interesting to see how USF recovers from the woeful way they ended last season. The team had so much promise and were in the conversation as one of the potential “giant killers” to start, but they never really had a big win, and once the losing started it did not stop. It will take an overhauled defense to not be as porous as they were last year, but it is not unreasonable to think that maybe, just maybe, the Bulls will regain their 2017 form where they went 10-2 and was one of the more dangerous Group of Five teams in the nation.