Three quick takeaways from USF's announcement of a planned $40 million football-exclusive complex:
1. Though the project is contingent on private and corporate support, this will get done. Maybe USF doesn't have all the money in place yet, but it doesn't throw out all these lavish renderings of the facility for public consumption if there's the slightest risk of not being able to pull it off. Common sense says the school already has a few financial pledges secured.
2. Make no mistake, this is a far greater priority than an on-campus stadium, because it's a far more viable recruiting tool. USF has been lagging behind in college football's never-ending amenities race, with little to show recruits (outside the Selmon Center and the practice fields) when they make campus visits. When the Football Center's completed, the Bulls can entertain prospects in the players' lounge or social patio, woo them with a 12,000-square-foot strength-and-conditioning area, and tour them around a 10,000-square-foot locker room. This type of 21st-century swag is vital if you want to land a four- or five-star recruit. And even if an on-campus stadium's never built, USF still can sell kids on playing home games in an NFL facility.
3. Speaking of on-campus stadiums, Thursday's news was different from the press conference in August revealing the "conceptual planning study" for a stadium. That study was very preliminary in nature, focusing on possible stadium sites if one ever is constructed. Calvin Williams, the school's vice president for administrative services, even said that day a stadium is 5-7 years down the road if they had all the financing in place. By contrast, Thursday's news release seemed much more front-burner in tone.