Sitting at the Bennigan's bar Friday afternoon are two friends who will be cheering for the Bulls tonight, season-ticket holders Jim Heidelberg, of Odessa, and David Argy, of Tampa.
Heidelberg became a USF fan because his wife, Julie, formerly taught public relations at the school. Argy got interested in the Bulls through his friendship with Heidelberg.
"It's obviously a big game," Heidelberg said. "You've got the biggest crowd ever, even beating the attendance that was in the inaugural game, so it's a huge game. We're excited because, I think, USF has done well in big games in the past.
"If you look at our history of playing top-ranked teams, we send them home not as high-ranked as when they came in."
Argy says the community has embraced the Bulls this year more than in the past.
"It's amazing how good they've become, how much people know the players on the team, how many people come out to see the games," he said. "It's really amazing."
Bandwagon-jumpers, people who became fans after USF started having success, are welcome, he says.
"Especially in the beginning," he said. "You have to have some success. Then you get the people involved, build up a tradition."
Argy says the atmosphere at Bennigan's is ideal for college football.
"It's nice to see all the people recognizing that you have USF stuff on and there's been a couple of West Virginia people in here," he said. "They are very nice people, but there's been a little bit of a rivalry already, even though they haven't played the game yet."