TAMPA, Fla. - It's being called the the beginning of the "Willie Taggart era," the start of a new season for the University of South Florida football team with both a new coach and a new conference.
USF opens the season Saturday night against McNeese State University at Raymond James Stadium at 7:00 p.m.
Former USF football coach Skip Holtz was fired at the end of the season last year after two straight losing seasons in which the program fell back instead of progressed.
The son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz went 16-21 at the Big East school, concluding a three-year run with the worst season in school history. The Bulls lost nine of 10 to finish 3-9, 1-6 in the conference, following a 2-0 start.
A week after Holtz was fired, USF announced Willie Taggart as the program's new head coach.
Taggart was the head coach for Western Kentucky University. WKU had lost 20 games in a row before Taggart took over. He turned the team around and lead them to a bowl game.
The 36-year-old Taggart is the third coach to lead the Bulls.
USF's conference formerly known as the Big East was changed in April to the American Athletic Conference. The 10-team conference is made up of Louisville, Rutgers, the University of Central Florida, Temple, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida. Louisville and Rutgers will leave the conference in the 2014 season, and East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa will join the American Athletic Conference.
Those attending Saturday night's game are being reminded of the new bag policy at Raymond James Stadium.
The new policy limits the size and types of bags that can brought into the stadium for all events at Ray Jay.
What you need to know:
Fans will be allowed to carry in no more than one approved clear bag (not to exceed 12"x6"x12") and up to one small clutch-style bag (not to exceed 4.5"x6.5").
The policy also allows a "One-gallon (or smaller) clear plastic bag."
Stadium goers can still carry the usual items such as wallets, phones, makeup, keys and so forth.
The new bag policy was unanimously approved in May by the NFL Committee on Stadium Security and begins at all preseason games this season.
According to a release, the policy "has been established in order to provide fans with a safer environment and expedited entry on game day."