As Old Dominion University makes the transition into from the Football Championship Subdivision into the Football Bowl Subdivision, the Monarchs are looking for ways to improve their football schedule. The Norfolk-based public university is moving from the FCS Colonial Athletic Conference to the FBS Conference USA in 2014 and may soon have a marquee game on their schedule.
ODU head coach Bobby Wilder has spoken with The Virginian-Pilot about their future plans which will probably include a home-and-home series with the Big East’s University of South Florida.
In an interview with ODUBlitz.com’s Harry Minium, a Pilot sports blog writer, Wilder relayed his optimism about the future of ODU football. Although there is no definite deal as of yet, Wilder and Bruce Stewart, senior associate athletic director at ODU, feel confident the series will be played.
"This is a significant step forward for our program," Wilder said. "It makes a huge statement that nationally, we're on the map, people know who we are and want to play us. South Florida is a very talented football team. I've read projections that have them in the Top 25 in 2014. I hope they are. That's the kind of game we want to bring to our fans."
The deal would feature the Bulls traveling to Foreman Field in Norfolk in 2014 and then the Monarchs would play USF in Tampa in 2016.
A benevolent connection exists between ODU’s athletic director and USF’s new head coach, Willie Taggart. Wood Selig was the athletic director at Western Kentucky University and hired Taggart as the Hilltoppers head coach. Wood is credited for ushering the football program at WKU into the FBS, an accolade he has replicated at ODU.
The Monarchs will play Idaho in a home-and-home series in 2013 and also play Virginia Tech in a two-for-one deal entailing games in Blacksburg in 2016 and 2019 with one game in Norfolk in 2018.
Stewart has said talks are continuing with schools like Maryland, Wake Forest, Duke and a number of other regionals schools.
"At times, the process at times can be maddening,” Stewart said. “But we're being aggressive and hope to have more good news in the future."