Team preview: South Florida

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: July 20, 2005, 1:34 PM ET
Blue Ribbon Yearbook
Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 119 Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2005 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of July 1, 2005)

COACH AND PROGRAM

USF head coach Jim Leavitt has been the only face of the Bulls program since their Division I-AA debut in the 1997, and has seen both the good and the bad times.

Last season would qualify as one of the "bad times" as the Bulls limped to a 4-7 record and lost six of their final eight games, getting crushed by Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh in the process.

But a new year and 17 returning starters brings a wealth of optimism to the Tampa campus, as does their move to the Big East. The switch places them in a more difficult conference, but also raises the bar of accomplishment, allowing the Bulls to daydream of possible BCS Bowl games in their future.

It has been a meteoric rise for Leavitt and the USF program as they began as a I-AA powerhouse in the late nineties, enjoyed a pair of successful seasons as an independent in 2001 and 2002 during which the Bulls won 17 games, and then endured a pair of seasons in Conference USA before this season's migration to the Big East.