USF pitched for rebuilt ACC or Big 12 to resurrect UCF rivalry

Central Florida v South Florida
Central Florida v South Florida / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

USF was pitched by Hero Sports' Colton Pool to become a member of a rebuilt ACC or the Big 12 -- the latter for the purpose of resurrecting the "War on I4" rivalry with UCF -- in the next round of conference realignment.

"South Florida is another school which many wouldn’t immediately think of as a Power Five-worthy team," Pool prefaced before saying, "But there would be some benefits for a league like the ACC or Big 12 (now that UCF is a part of it) to add the Bulls.

"USF hasn’t been extremely successful recently, though it did give Alabama some issues this last year and went on to go 7-6 overall after winning the Boca Raton Bowl over Syracuse. But because of those struggles in recent years, the energy around the program hasn’t been great. But maybe that all would change with a Power Five move. With Tampa, USF is part of a substantial market. The team also plays in Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so it has the capacity for a move up."

USF more likely to land in the ACC than the Big 12

The Big 12 isn't going to be hunting for schools like USF in the next round of realignment. While they elevated UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, and BYU in 2023, that came after years of football success for all of them; including a national championship claim for the Knights and a College Football Playoff appearance for the Bearcats. USF has gone to a bowl game once in the past five seasons and had two or less wins in three of them.

If anything, the Big 12 is looking to pick the bones of the ACC if/when FSU causes an exodus and Clemson, UNC, and UVA leave too, opening the door for Louisville, NC State, VA Tech, Pitt and/or GA Tech to join the Big 12.

USF is reportedly part of the ACC's contingency plan, though, so a jump from the American is more likely than not should FSU's lawsuit against the ACC result in a parade out the door for the conference's current member schools.