It started, annoyingly enough, with a billboard.
Before USF and Rutgers had ever met on a football field, before the Bulls had even formally joined the Big East, sparks flew between the programs. In 2004, Rutgers saw fit to put up a billboard on I-4 in Tampa featuring the 27 Scarlet Knights recruited from Florida.
"Season's Greetings from Rutgers Football," it read.
Five years later, the Scarlet Knights don't have a single player who graduated from a bay area high school. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a Big East rival that gets under the skin of Bulls fans the way Rutgers can.
"That's easy to see," said ESPN analyst Craig James, part of the broadcast crew for tonight's USF-Rutgers game from New Jersey. "Sometimes, there's a program you just can't deal with. When you talk to USF's coaches, you get a sense of something. I wouldn't call it an animosity, but you get that, 'I want to beat their fannies.' "