WKU, South Florida Ink Two-Game Football Contract

By: Brian Fremund, WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Brian Fremund, WKU Athletic Media Relations

Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University will add a home-and-home series with a Big East Conference school to its future football schedules with the announcement Friday that it has signed a contract with South Florida.

The Hilltoppers will play host to the Bulls in 2009 — the date is tentatively set for Sept. 12 at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium — while travelling to Tampa for a Sept. 25 contest the following fall. All dates are subject to change.

USF is coming off a season in which it climbed as high as second in the both the BCS and Associated Press polls. The Bulls ended the campaign 9-4 overall, 4-3 in conference action, with wins over Auburn — which would go on to win the Chick-fil-A Bowl — on the road and then-No. 5 ranked West Virginia in their Big East opener. They ended the year by earning an invite to the Brut Sun Bowl.

“We are excited to host a Big East Conference opponent in our 2009 home opener. South Florida has enjoyed considerable football success, including taking the nation by storm as they ascended to a No. 2 national ranking during the 2007 season,” WKU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig stated. “This home game will be a great one for all WKU and college football fans. As we embark on our first season of bowl eligibility and competing for a league championship in 2009, kicking off the home season with an opponent like USF will be a meaningful event in the evolution of WKU football.

“Overall we have been very pleased with the scheduling opportunities that have presented themselves while transitioning to the NCAA I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) level. WKU football has some exciting times ahead.”

The two schools played four straight years from 1997-00, with each earning a pair of victories. The Toppers took the first two games, winning 31-3 in Bowling Green and 31-24 in Tampa, while USF earned a 21-6 victory at Houchens Industries-Smith Stadium in 1999 before closing out the four-game series with a 30-24 home win the following fall. In the last meeting between the two schools, USF was in transition from the NCAA Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) to the I-A/FBS level.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for what coach Leavitt has done with the USF program,” said Hilltopper head coach David Elson. “We’re looking forward to bringing the first-ever Big East team to Houchens Industries-Smith Stadium in our first year as a bowl eligible program.”

The Hilltoppers will also face Tennessee and Navy, both on the road, in ’09 with one more non-league game to be added. After a two-year transition from the I-AA/FCS to the I-A/FBS division, 2009 will mark the first season that WKU will compete in the Sun Belt Conference and be eligible to participate in a postseason bowl.

WKU was 7-5 a year ago in its first season of transition, the program’s 12th winning campaign in a row.

WBKO.com is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, no links, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards.

powered by Disqus
WBKO 2727 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY 42101-3976 Phone: 270-781-1313 After Hours Hotline: 270-781-6397 Fax: 270-781-1814
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 19612359 - wbko.com/a?a=19612359
Gray Television, Inc.