USF announced a two-game football series with old-Big East mates Syracuse for 2015 and 2016. The series starts at Tampa on Oct. 10, 2015, and the second game in Syracuse is Sept. 17, 2016.
The Syracuse series will replace the USF-Indiana series that the Hoosiers canceled back in April. The Syracuse game finalizes the 2015 schedule. USF has one remaining opening for 2016.
Syracuse and USF will play for the ninth time in 2015. USF won the first five meetings before losing two of the last three to the Orange. The last meeting was in 2012.
This is a good haul for Mark Harlan. With such a short window to fill the two spots left open by Indiana bailing, we were worried that we'd have replace them with lower-rung opponents, or two road games. Instead, Syracuse is probably a step up from Indiana. Plus, it's home-and-home with USF's home game first.
It's also nice to get Syracuse a little later in the season for 2015, in October, instead of facing three Power-5 teams in a row. We'll probably have at least one conference game before the Syracuse game next season.
For Syracuse, it looks like they wanted to get some more exposure in Florida for recruiting reasons. So we'll always have that going for us.
For USF, scheduling Power 5 teams in non-conference is of paramount importance. In the short term, and no offense to our current conference mates, but higher profile teams help get more seats filled at Raymond James Stadium. It also gives USF a better chance for those signature wins the program used to get with regularity. Eventually, we hope USF will compete for that lone non-Power 5 major bowl spot, and getting three games annually against Power 5 teams will help out schedule strengths.
Here's a look at our schedules coming up:
2015: Florida A&M, at Maryland, at Florida State, Syracuse
2016: Towson, at Syracuse, Florida State