You might also want to try the Wesley Chapel area. Lots of new things, houses, apartments and shopping. It is just over the county line north of Tampa it would take around 15-20 minutes to get to USF in the morning. You would be 10 minutes or so from Wilderness Trails, 35 minutes from Croom, 40 minutes from Boyette and about 50 minutes from Alafia. Plus if you road bike as well. There is a paved loop in side of the Wilderness Trails system, You would be 10 to 15 minutes from the Suncoast Parkway and 15 minutes away from San Antonio, which is a local mecca for roadies. Also Santos, in Ocala, which is a great trail system is an hour away.
Brandon is great, but the traffic can be terrible. Stay away from Pinellas county if you are a mountain biker, there are no trails to speak of over there, but there are some great Roadie opportunities. The "New Tampa" area is also a good option, as one of the entrances to Wilderness is in New Tampa. Lots of rentals there, and that would be pretty close to USF.
Good Luck, Let us know when you guys arrive. We look forward to seeing you on the trails.