USF – Alabama Mini Preview

The Bulls are set to host the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2023, marking Alabama’s first trip to South Florida as part of a novel 2-for-1 home-and-home series.

The schedule for the series was determined in spring 2019, with Alabama destined for a game at Raymond James Stadium, South Florida and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ shared home ground, in 2023. South Florida will pay back the favor with two journeys to Tuscaloosa in 2024 and 2026.

This series stands testament to a new thread in Alabama’s strategy, deliberately scheduling more non-conference games hosted in other venues. But, the once-reigning champions at South Florida, who once recorded a sterling 10-2 season under head coach Charlie Strong, have been in a downward spiral since then.

Come 2023, South Florida turned out to be one of the most underperforming teams in college football with an alarming 1-11 record. The aftermath led to the dismissal of head coach Jeff Scott, under whose leadership the team failed to secure more than two victories in three seasons.

However, the team has sought to turn the tide with the appointment of Alex Golesh as head coach. Prior to this, Golesh served as the offensive coordinator for Tennessee, under Josh Heupel. Acknowledging his instrumental role in the spectacular rise of the Volunteers last year, Golesh was shortlisted for the esteemed Broyles Award, honoring the best assistant coach in college football.

Accompanying a coaching transition, especially in the era of the transfer portal, there were sweeping changes in South Florida’s roster. Golesh has added a hefty 43 new players in 2023, with 18 recruits and 25 transfers, to boost the team’s performance.

The offense too is set to see exciting changes ahead. With South Florida heading into the year with a quarterback contest, Gerry Bohanon, a senior quarterback from Baylor, and true freshman Byrum Brown are likely contenders. Despite recent fluctuations, Golesh, revered as one of the sharpest young minds in coaching, remains confident in his strategic approach and the potential of his team’s personnel.