Hot off the heels of Indiana's cancellation of their 2015-16 series with USF, Michigan State has announced it has paid the $250,000 buyout fee to cancel the 2018 game at Raymond James Stadium. The Spartans will play a home-and-home with Arizona State instead.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis - whom you may recall was a finalist for the USF athletic director job that went to Doug Woolard - regretted the move:
"It's something I don't like to do, it's not in my fiber,'' Hollis said, "but to replace that (South Florida return game) with a home-and-home was a better situation for us, not only financially but to gain a home game, and because of the nine-game conference schedule, that was kind of what started that whole (buyout) process.''
USF's future non-conference schedules now look like this:
Sept. 5 FLORIDA A&M
Sept. 19 at Maryland
Sept. 26 at Florida State
Sept. 3 TOWSON
Sept. 24 FLORIDA STATE
Sept. 2 STONY BROOK
Sept. 9 ILLINOIS
Sept. 16 WISCONSIN
Sept. 1 ELON
Sept. 15 at Illinois
TBD NEVADA (according to Nevada, anyway; GoUSFBulls.com does not list this game.)
USF would seem to have quite a few home games in pocket, but with almost all of them against B1G schools, you have to wonder how many more will disappear.
With most Big 5 leagues shifting to the nine-game schedule, and maybe even playing non-conference games against themselves, USF won't be the only team to see future marquee games disappear. The Bulls will have opportunities to replace these opponents with other teams who were similarly bought out. Did we keep Old Dominion's phone number?
One other item of note: supposedly, as a condition of Willie Taggart's contract with Western Kentucky, USF has to schedule a home-and-home with the Hilltoppers. So far there's been no evidence that this is in the works, or even being talked about.
Feel free to speculate about possible replacements in the comments section. FBSchedules.com is the best place to look.