TAMPA — Less than two hours after Jeff Scott spoke to the media Thursday afternoon about non-conference scheduling, USF announced the Bulls will host The Citadel on September 12 at Raymond James Stadium.
During his press conference, which was held outside the Selmon Athletics Center under a tent that protected a small gathering from a 15-minute deluge, Scott said that he could not get into scheduling specifics because agreements had yet to be signed.
“We are very close to having our non-conference games finalized and I am really excited about the potential opportunities that we have ahead of us,” he said. “Our goal from the beginning was to open the season at Raymond James on September 12. Opportunities have come up maybe to go on the road September 19 for our first road game.”
With the goal of opening at home achieved, the first road game could very well be a trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame, something that was reported earlier this week to be in the works.
The Bulls were scheduled to host Nevada on September 19 before the Mountain West Conference, like many conferences, cancelled fall sports due to the pandemic. Notre Dame was scheduled to host Western Michigan on that date, a game that went by the board when the MAC shut down for the fall.
Scott’s first home game as coach of the Bulls was to be against Bethune-Cookman on September 12. That was until mid-July when the MEAC announced it was moving the season from the fall to the spring.
Unless they are told otherwise in the next three weeks, the Bulls will now open at home against The Citadel, an FCS program.
The Bulldogs are a member of the Southern Conference, which cancelled fall sports, but permitted its members to schedule four non-conference games. A week after traveling to Tampa they ironically play at Clemson, where Scott was an assistant for 12 years and where he was a receiver.
The Bulls played the Bulldogs in each of their first two seasons, losing in Charleston in 1997 and winning at Tampa Stadium in 1998.
The Citadel went 6-6 last season with one of the wins a 27-24 overtime decision at Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs’ second win over an FBS opponent in five years as they topped South Carolina, 23-22, in 2015.
The talk of schedules coming together has signaled somewhat of a light at the end of the tunnel for Scott’s team, which opened preseason camp August 7 and as of Thursday had no positive tests for COVID-19. Still, everything has to be taken one day at a time, something Scott has preached all along.
“I think you can see in the players and coaches that, ‘Hey, we’re three weeks from getting an opportunity to play,’” he said. “So there is no doubt that it brings some good energy and maybe kind of renews the spirit a little bit as you are going through fall camp. But, also, it is a daily reminder to our players that we are not guaranteed to play that game. We still have three weeks to go and we have to continue to follow the proper protocols and guidelines. Hopefully, if we do that, we will get the opportunity to kick it off.”