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HTS 2018: South Florida

...we’ve never played them...

Elon v South Florida Photo by (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Welcome to From the Rumble Seat’s weekly historical matchup class. Throughout the season, each unit in this class will examine the head-to-head matchups of our opponents in the 2018 season. After dispatching Alcorn State last week, Tech, and this column, moves on to the South Florida Bulls. Tech is a combined 214-196-12 against the rest of the schedule, though they’ve never played the Bulls, though their previous trip to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa circa 2009 worked out alright, no matter what the NCAA says.

South Florida Bulls

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: American Athletic Conference (2013 - present)
  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • All-time Record: 147 - 105 (.583)
  • Home Stadium: Raymond James Stadium (Capacity: 65,890)
  • FBS National Championships: N/A
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: N/A
  • Conference Championships: N/A
  • Division Championships: N/A
  • 2017 Season Record: 10 - 2 (6 - 2 AAC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Recent Meetings:
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record in this week’s venue: 1-0-0 (1.000)

2018 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
September 1 12:30 p.m. Alcorn State Southwestern Athletic 2-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 41 - 0 W FCS
September 8 12:00 p.m. @ South Florida American Athletic 0-1-0 Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, FL 38 - 49 L First Meeting, Group of Five
September 15 12:30 p.m. @ Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-8-0 Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA 19 - 24 L
September 22 3:30 p.m. Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-31-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 21 - 49 L Rivalry, Hall of Fame Day
September 29 12:00 p.m. Bowling Green Mid-American 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 63 - 17 W First Meeting, Family Weekend, Group of Five
October 5 7:00 p.m. @ Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Cardinal Stadium - Louisville, KY 66 - 31 W First Meeting
October 13 12:20 p.m. Duke Atlantic Coast 51-34-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 14 - 28 L Homecoming
October 25 7:30 p.m. @ VPISU Atlantic Coast 7-9-0 Lane Stadium - Blacksburg, VA 49 - 28 W Rivalry
November 3 12:15 p.m. @ North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-21-3 Kenan Memorial Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC 38 - 28 W
November 10 7:00 p.m. Miami Atlantic Coast 12-12-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 27 - 21 W Whiteout
November 17 3:30 p.m. Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-19-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 30 - 27 W (OT) Senior Day
November 24 12:00 p.m. @ u[sic]ga Southeastern 44-67-5 Sanford Stadium - Athens, GA 45 - 21 L Rivalry
December 26 5:15 p.m. vs. Minnesota Big Ten 0-0-0 Ford Field - Detroit, MI - First Meeting

To Make an Even Shorter Story Long:

Georgia Tech’s first road jaunt of the year is a trip down to the Sunshine State. Though last year’s Disney World vacation adventure to Orlando was cancelled due to some rain, the Jackets have a long and storied history of playing in the state, regardless of the team they happen to be up against. From the biannual trip to square off against the Hurricanes in Miami and numerous trips to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee in conference games, to the 2009 ACC Championship, to bowl games like the Orange Bowl (see: 2014), the Gator Bowl (see: 2016), and the Citrus Bowl (see: 1990), Tech knows this state. However, they’ve never actually played South Florida before.

The South Florida Bulls’ first practice happened seven years after Georgia Tech’s most recent national championship. In 1997, the Bulls were born, and played four seasons at what is now called the FCS level as an independent before they moved up to the FBS level in 2001. They remained an independent until their brief stint in Conference USA. South Florida was the epitome of the shattering Big East when they joined in 2005 following a mass exodus of football schools from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference. They were a massive outlier from the conference’s Northeastern basketball-centric roots. Ultimately moves like this doomed that conference, but it provided a springboard for the Bulls to launch themselves into a higher profile conference just a handful of years after becoming an FBS team and less than a decade after they played their first game. In 2007, they even peaked at #2 in the polls, but lost three games down the stretch to fall out of contention. They were a solid team for several years, though declined under Skip Holtz. The beginning of the Willie Taggart era and the birth of the American Athletic Conference coincided in 2013, and their new coach put them back on the up-and-up. They are coming off of a 10 win season in their first year under Charlie Strong, former Texas and Louisville head coach, and have been tabbed as the preseason division favorites two years in a row.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a biweekly look at football history since the beginning of the summer over at Rearview Mirror. And it hasn’t changed much since last week. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously with a middling season in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythic origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname, as well as how Tech got its colors. Tech was pitiful, to put it nicely, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he dramatically left town as part of his divorce. The old man was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his team’s strong academics and his own 1928 national championship. Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protege Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more, and had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for its football prominence, but its foundational academic principles as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in the dream of a “Notre Dame of the South” status. Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in the beginning of the 1980s. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets seemingly from nowhere to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jackets have an all-time record of 723-490-43.

South Florida and Georgia Tech have never played before, but Tech has played in Raymond James Stadium before. So, I’ll send you in MagnaCarterGT’s direction and refer you to his excellent writeup of Tech’s last appearance. But don’t tell the NCAA we told you this game happened, please and thank you. But we won, so that’s as good of a start as any.

Since that day, South Florida has changed coaches three times. Tech and Clemson have changed coaches no times, respectively. Tech has appeared in two Orange Bowls since. South Florida has been from the depths of terrible two win seasons to the heights of double-digit wins. And tomorrow, the two face off for the first time ever. For never having played South Florida, there certainly was a lot to talk about this week.

This Saturday, the Jackets face off against the Bulls (0-0-0 all time) in week two at Raymond James Stadium at 12:00 pm. The game will be aired on ABC regionally and ESPN2 nationally and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!