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Exposure, but at what cost?

Posted Apr 27, 2012 by Joey Johnston

Updated Apr 27, 2012 at 04:45 PM

On paper, how could you argue with your team’s football conference opener landing on stand-alone national television?

Surely, the University of South Florida Bulls will get great exposure when they face Rutgers in the Big East Conference opener on Thursday night, Sept. 13 at 7:30. The game was originally scheduled for a Saturday, but moved to accomodate ESPN. The Thursday night lineup has become college football’s version of “Monday Night Football.’’ And this game has a great built-in storyline with Rutgers coming to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, where its former coach, Greg Schiano, now leads the Buccaneers.

But this will not be an easy proposition for the Bulls. And we’re not even taking into account USF’s 0-8 record on ESPN Thursday night games since the Bulls joined the Big East. The ESPN change has forced a scheduling problem.

USF had previously scheduled a non-conference game at Nevada for Saturday, Sept. 8. With TCU pulling out of the Big East and joining the Big 12, league members had to scramble a bit to fill their schedules and Nevada was an intriguing addition (the Wolf Park visit Tampa in 2015).

It has added up to a potential logistical problem for USF, though.

The Bulls would like an early kickoff at Nevada, so it can fly home and begin preparations for Rutgers on an already short week. Rutgers is scheduled to face Howard University at home on Sept. 8.

Nevada wants to accomodate USF. Nevada spokesman Chad Hartley said the Wolf Pack would probably be fine with a 12:30 p.m. (local time) kickoff.

But USF-Nevada scheduling is now in the hands of the Mountain West Conference, which is exploring television options. “The Mountain Network,’’ the league’s television network, recently folded, so the game could land on the CBS College Sports Network.

Stay tuned.

Either way, USF looks like it’s going to be pressed into tight preparations for its Big East opener.


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