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If USF doesn’t win Big East, St. Pete most likely bowl trip?

Posted Mar 28, 2008 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Mar 28, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Since the comments section on the blog limits the length of each response – don’t blame me, I just work here – I wanted to address some questions about the proposed St. Petersburg Bowl, specifically what pick the bowl would have.

In short, if the University of South Florida would be the most likely candidate to represent the Big East in the inaugural St. Pete bowl in 2008 if the Bulls don’t win the Big East.

Here’s why:

The league’s first three choices are already determined: BCS (champion), Gator/Sun (second selection) and Meineke Car Care (third selection).

Although not officially determined, it’s likely the St. Pete Bowl would be grouped with the remaining bowls (Texas, Papajohns.com and International), meaning those four bowls would make their picks together with the league office with strong consideration given to providing the best regional matchups.

So if the Bulls don’t win the Big East, here’s what may happen.

The Gator picks second and likely would take a Big 12 team or Notre Dame. Either way the Sun Bowl would then have to take a Big East team and since the Sun Bowl has openly said it doesn’t want repeat teams – that’s why it skipped Oregon State last year – the Bulls would likely be bypassed by the Sun.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl has the third selection (not third place) and probably would opt for another team other than the Bulls since USF hasn’t sold more than a couple of thousand tickets in its past two bowl trips.

That would leave USF in contention for one of the remaining four bowls (St. Pete, Papajohns.com, Texas, International) and, ESPN wanting a big turnout for the inaugural St. Pete Bowl, would make a strong push for the Bulls.

Reader Comments

Por (Michael Harding) on March 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’ll go.  It will be fun to watch us demolish a crappy C-USA team.  I just hope the payout is decent.

And the trophy - you’ve gotta have a sweet-lookin’ trophy.

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Por (Nabeel Mulla) on March 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Brett, what happens if all 7 out of the 8 Big East teams don’t have .500 records as was the case this year?

Also, were negotiations for this bowl game the reason that brought up the Trop as a replacement stadium for that Thursday night game that couldn’t be held at RJS?

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Por (Eric Sachse) on March 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Well with that analysis, the obvious answer is that USF needs to win the Big East.

It is safe to say, unless Jesus himself scores touchdowns for them all season, Notre Dame will not be bowl eligible next season.

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Por (greg budzban) on March 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Not sure I agree with the analysis.  The 3-4000 Sun Bowl tickets USF fans bought can not be compared to the 3-4000 Car Care Bowl tickets we bought the first year.  El Paso was an expensive trip and the bowl officials there were clearly pleased with our turnout.

The USF fan base is maturing.  If a serious Big East title run is accompanied by big game sellouts on ESPN, we will once again be the talk of the college football world, but this time all the way to December.  Suppose the WVU game is a BE title game and we come out on the short end.  We will be ranked in the top 15 (roughly). 

With the excitement still fresh, I’m going to argue that 15,000 fans would make the trip to Jax, easy.

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Por (Scott Cohen) on March 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Who wants to be tied to Conference USA, isn’t the Big East already tied to CUSA in papajohns.com bowl. They need to make the tie-in with another BCS conference, why not the SEC they typically have enough talented teams to make a good game, Big East vs CUSA is a joke and CUSA would be lucky to ever win a game.

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Por (Jon McKee) on March 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hard to imagine USF being excited to play a Conf USA team in a bowl game.  That would be a disappointment. And I’m not sure it would help the program. maybe hurt it.  They need to play bowl games against traditional BCS schools even if they have to travel half way round the globe to do so.  GO BULLS!!!!!

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Por (Stephen) on March 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Interesting analysis Brett.

Some USF fans think that because they sold the tickets means that they actually went.  Bowls still want fans to travel and fill up the hotels and spend money in the City, it is how the Bowl gets partnerships from the City.

As much as USF fans would hate CUSA teams, imagine if you actually got your wish and got the #9 or #10 SEC team.  Do you really want to see Vandy.  Most of the times the SEC would not get nine teams eligible for a bowl.

USF fans need to realize that when you sell only 3,000 or 4,000 tickets to your bowl and travel 2,000 or 3,000 to the bowl, you are not exacly asking for a return trip.

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Por (Dave Lego) on March 30, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Notre Dame?  I’m so tired of hearing about a football program (ND) that can’t get out of their own way.  The program has been poor for years with the random one off ‘winning year’ yet they get boat loads of press.  Enough of ND.  Catholics everywhere you are not forced to ‘root’ for ND.  It’s not part of the Catholic dogma.  ND stinks and should not be given what amounts to ‘section 8’ bowl appearances.  They are the best of the service academies (Air Force, Army, Navy, and the Coast Guard).

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Por (Brett McMurphy) on March 30, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nabeel, last year six Big East teams were 6-6 or better. You only have to be .500 overall and not in Big East play to go bowling. Greg, last year USF fans bought 2,188 tickets and students bought 848 tickets (according to USF officials). Granted USF is a newbie in the college football ranks, but bowl officials don’t care - they want to fill the stands with as many bodies as possible. Scott, I think when the current bowl agreements end after the 2009 season, you’ll see the Big East made a strong push to get better partners (i.e. other BCS schools). Just think when the current bowl agreements were made two years ago, there were questions if the Big East would keep its BCS bid. Obviously the Big East is much better than initially thought.

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Por (Brett McMurphy) on March 30, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Dave, sorry if you’re tired of Notre Dame, but as long as they are linked to the Big East through other sports - and in football for bowl purposes, you will continue to hear a lot about them. They also will get prefential treatment because they are America’s Team - people either love them or hate them.

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Por (Bill Bellamy) on March 31, 2008 (Suggest removal)

We have a decent chance at winning the Big East. More important is we need to have the excitment at Raymond James.  If we have sell outs or close, we will look better to the Gator guys.  El Paso was expensive, I was there. BCS bowl is more expensive.  One issue about numbers, I did not buy my tickets through USF, I bought them through Ticket Masters.  Same price and better seats, half way up on the 50.  USF would have been way up and on the 30.

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