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USF Football Announces Future Schedule Changes

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The Bulls shuffled around their non-conference schedules and added a home-and-home with UMass.

"We're playing who?"
"We're playing who?"
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Along with the news on this year's UCF game that Collin broke yesterday, USF released a boatload of information on future football schedules today. The only new addition is a home-and-home series with FBS newbies UMass, with the Bulls hosting the Minutemen in 2017 and making the trip up north in 2018.

The first UMass game replaces the Wisconsin home game on the 2017 slate. The return date of last season's 27-10 loss in Madison will be pushed back to the 2019 season, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one staying on the schedule. The Bulls will also start their two-and-one series with Texas one year later than anticipated, as the opening game in Austin was moved back to 2020. The rest of the moves are minor week-to-week changes for TV scheduling; the Bulls' trip to DeKalb to take on MAC powerhouse NIU in 2017 was moved up a couple weeks, while the Illinois game that season was pushed back. Finally, the Bulls' long-awaited rematch with Nevada (from the wild 32-31 win in 2012) was moved back a couple weeks in 2020, which is not soon.

The UMass series is the only fresh bit of info, and it's neither here nor there. Many fans will likely be upset that the Bulls couldn't find a better opponent, but given that USF has recently pulled off home-and-homes with Wisconsin, Florida State, Georgia Tech, BYU and (sort of) Texas, I don't think anyone should be complaining about scheduling. As an upper-tier Group of Five team (the Bulls qualify by conference affiliation, if not performance), it's really hard to pull in big-time opponents, and USF is doing so better than probably any other mid-major team. So the UMass series fills a slot, if nothing else.

If you'd really like something to be concerned about, I'd argue that with the removal of Wisconsin, the Bulls' 2017 out-of-conference schedule (Stony Brook, @NIU, Illinois, UMass) is uncharacteristically weak. A halfway decent team goes 3-1 or 4-0 on that schedule; time will tell if the Bulls are halfway decent in 2017. The 2018 non-conference slate isn't shaping up to be amazing either.

Here are the Bulls' scheduled nonconference games from 2016 onward. If it's any consolation, the big-name opponents come rolling in quickly after the two-season lull in 2017-2018. Plus, for a team trying to bust a long bowl drought, a soft nonconference schedule is not the worst possible thing.

2016:
Towson
Northern Illinois
at Syracuse
Florida State

2017:
Stony Brook
at Northern Illinois
Illinois
UMass

2018:
Elon
at Illinois
at UMass

2019:
Wisconsin

2020:
at Texas
Nevada

2021:
at Georgia Tech
BYU

2022:
Texas
Georgia Tech
at BYU

2023:
at Western Kentucky

2024 (will football even exist):
Western Kentucky
at Texas