Did you see South Florida lose to McNeese State 53-21 over the weekend? Well, Mike Thomas did, and after seeing the Bulls get run over by an FCS program he decided the Illini needed to schedule the Bulls as quickly as possible.
Gotta get those wins where you can.
Illinois and South Florida announced a home-and-home football series beginning with a Sept. 9, 2017, game in Tampa.
The Illini will host the Bulls Sept. 15, 2018, as part of the agreement. USF comes from the American Athletic Conference, the same league as this Saturday's opponent, Cincinnati.
Illinois and South Florida have never met on the football field.
Seriously, though, this follows the trend of scheduling we've seen from the Illini under Mike Thomas. While it's not quite Western Kentucky or Middle Tennessee, it's not a heavyweight either. Of course, unlike WKU or Middle Tennessee, you can't schedule a game with South Florida without the return trip to Tampa. But 2017 is a season in which the Illini will have five home conference games, so they can afford for one of their non-conference games to be on the road.
Their third non-conference game will likely be a home game as well, giving them seven in the season.
And the home game against South Florida is currently the only game on the schedule for 2018.
You can see all our future schedules here.