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South Florida has won and lost double-digit games in the past 8 years; the latest on who might get the Bulls back on track

USF is seeking to stabilize the program after firing Jeff Scott earlier in November

Though it almost seems hard to believe, University of South Florida football has had back-to-back double-digit wins seasons and back-to-back double-digit losses campaigns – all within the past eight years.

It’s been that kind of feast or famine for the Bulls, but it’s also a not-too-distant reminder of the potential that lies within that Tampa, Florida-based program.

Especially as the school has massively improved facilities and committed unprecedented resources to continuing do so moving into the program’s future.

It’s the spot Willie Taggart used as a springboard to the University of Oregon and that Charlie Strong found as an attractive landing spot after Strong’s tenure atop the University of Texas.

So as USF moves on from the disastrous four-win, three-year Jeff Scott era, where does it turn?

There’s been consistent buzz around the potential of Deion Sanders returning to his home state and reviving a program that, again, has had more consistent success than failure the past 15-plus years. The Bulls have nine seasons of seven or more wins since 2006.

But Sanders is linked with other jobs, still has his undefeated and FCS top-five ranked Jackson State Tigers set to play in next month’s Celebration Bowl and is in the enviable position of being extremely selective. It’s not a stretch to believe his JSU team can be even better in 2023.

Sanders has posted a gaudy 22-2 mark in his two full fall seasons as a collegiate head coach and also proved he can attract elite talent, even at the FCS level where the limit is 63 and not 85 scholarships.

Elsewhere, sources tell FootballScoop that another former Texas coach – Tom Herman – could have interest in the USF job and that some conversations have occurred.

Additionally, where do things stand with Jamey Chadwell? He’s made Coastal Carolina into a consistent winner and has been linked as well to the Georgia Tech job, but interim coach Brent Key continues to make a case for that position on a full-time basis.

Too, Chadwell is elevating his stock at Coastal and Coastal keeps committing resources and salary to both Chadwell and his assistant coaching staff.

There’s a belief that Scott Frost could have interest in the USF job, but he’s getting paid millions after his departure from Nebraska, his alma mater where Frost had poured everything into trying to restore Cornhuskers football.

A pair of former USF players also continue to circulate as potential candidates for the position:

Howard University coach Larry Scott, who’s coached preps in the Sunshine State as well as been an assistant at his alma mater, Miami, the University of Florida and Tennessee, among others.

Ole Miss running backs coach Marquel Blackwell, a St. Petersburg, Florida, native who also played for the Bulls, coach in the prep ranks in the area and also served on staffs at Houston, Florida and West Virginia prior to his work now with Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss.

Finally, keep an eye this cycle on Jason Candle. Though the 43-year-old Toledo head coach has never coached outside of Ohio, Candle had ample opportunity a year ago to become an offensive coordinator at the Power 5 level; moreover, he's had consistent, sustained success atop the Rockets' program, which has won more than 50 games in Candle's seven full seasons at the helm. 

As with all of these current Football Bowls Subdivision openings, timing is of the essence. Not only does the regular season conclude this weekend, but the NCAA Transfer Portal windows and the early signing period – the third Wednesday in December, so Dec. 21 this year – are both encroaching on the calendar.

We have updates on all of the major college football openings, including this one, in our latest FootballScoop 'Coaching Search' podcast below: 

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