Good to see students looking at USF! I think this is the 3rd time I've read a post for the same programs, chemE.
I went to USF my freshman year and it was a good school. It's even better now. More patents are filed out of USF than any other Florida school. It is a tier one university for research spending. It also has a medical school that graduates a lot of doctors in Florida.
Is UF better? Yes. But will USF get you a job? Yup. If you want the most prestigious name on your diploma, go to UF. If you want to save money in this economy, by all means USF is a good option. Wait for financial aid from UF, your getting a 17k discount over 4 years. Thats only 4.2k a year. You have to put value on that if it is or not a good deal. I'd say if you want to go out of state job hunting, UF will have the name brand going for you. If you want to stay in state then save your money and go to USF.
On a side note, my friends who went to UF for various different majors ended up working back in Tampa anyway. UF is a great school, but USF is a great value. Visit the schools, you might not like the college town feel of Gainesville compared to the city of Tampa.
Hope I helped.