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Big East vs. C-USA bowl may debut Dec. 21, 2008 in St. Pete

Posted Mar 26, 2008 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Mar 26, 2008 at 12:19 AM

For University of South Florida fans wanting to attend the Sun Bowl last December, Bulls fans had to travel halfway across the country.

This December, they may only have to travel a few dozen miles to St. Petersburg if a new proposed bowl game pitting the Big East against Conference USA is approved by the NCAA in late April.

A proposed bowl game to be played at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field starting this season will be submitted to the NCAA’s bowl certifying board by Tuesday.

“We have been exploring with a number of partners, the viability of launching a bowl game in St. Petersburg,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional.

The game, to be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, would pit teams from the Big East Conference and Conference USA and is tentatively scheduled for Sunday night, Dec. 21, a Rays official said. If the Rays’ outdoor stadium is built — if approved, it would open in 2012 — the bowl would move there.

Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky and Big East associate commissioner John Paquette had no comment Tuesday night.

The bowl, which likely would be named the St. Petersburg Bowl if a corporate sponsor can not be obtained, would be the sixth bowl run and operated by ESPN. The network’s other bowls: Las Vegas, Hawaii, Armed Forces, Papajohns.com and New Mexico.

“We’re involved in a process which requires NCAA bowl committee certification before anything is official,” Derzis said. “We have a tentative plan in place and continue to work on that plan with a number of stakeholders in the market. St. Petersburg is extremely attractive and our potential conference partners have indicated a desire for a Florida experience.”

The St. Petersburg bowl would make the Tampa Bay area the fifth community to host two bowl games along with Orlando (Champs Sports, Capital One), New Orleans (New Orleans, Sugar); Phoenix/Glendale, Ariz. (Insight, Fiesta); and San Diego (Poinsettia, Holiday).

The Outback Bowl, played at Raymond James Stadium, has been held annually in Tampa since 1986.

Two years ago, Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese told the Tampa Tribune about an interest in starting a bowl game in St. Petersburg. However, it was expected it wouldn’t begin until the league’s current bowl agreements end after the 2009 season.

After the NCAA is presented with the proposed bowl game information for the St. Petersburg bowl, the NCAA’s bowl committee certification can approve the bowl by late April.

The addition of the St. Petersburg bowl would give the eight-team Big East seven bowls in 2008 along with the BCS, Gator/Sun, Meineke Car Care, Texas, International and Papajohns.com.

If approved, the St. Petersburg bowl will become the third collegiate bowl in the Tampa Bay area, joining the Outback Bowl and the defunct Cigar Bowl, held in Tampa from 1947 to 1954.

In other USF news: during Tuesday’s spring practice, FB Richard Kelly (hand), RB Ashton Samuels (shoulder) and RB Moises Plancher (elbow) all left with injuries. 

DB Danny Verpaele was wearing a boot on his left foot, but Coach Jim Leavitt did not know the extent of the injury.

Reader Comments

Por (Hector Jimenez) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Bowls are great and the more bowls USF can end up in the better but isn’t quality better than quantity?

As a conference the BE pushes the idea that a ninth team will not be added if it waters down the conference, therefore holding out until the right team and right situation.  Why should the BE do the opposite for the sake of a bowl?

The conference should seek bowl partnerships against BCS conferences…this would be the second bowl against C-USA, how does that make the BE more attractive?

I say forget this bowl unless a BCS conference lines up to be a partner…as in seeking a ninth member for fball quality not quanity should be the driving factor.

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Por (Michael Harding) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Bring it on!  I’d be down for St. Pete.  However, wouldn’t the total capacity be somewhere along the lines of 32,000 people?

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Por (Miles) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Would the St. Pete bowl take the place of another bowl in the 32 that are currently in place? I can’t see additional bowl games being able to be added without discontinuing some other bowls.

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Por (Rich) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hector,

I agree. Quality not quantity. Unfortunately this seems to be where college football is going. Quantity not quality. It used to mean something to get invited to a bowl. Now you just need to be .500. What next? Every D-1 team gets a bowl??

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Por (Rich Bohl) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Screw Conference USA. This is ridiculous. The Big East already has the Papa John’s Bowl against Conference USA. Enough is enough. The Big East should only have one bowl against them. Conference USA can barely fill the six bowls they have now. I am also tired of Conference USA fans always being on Big East websites begging for their teams to be added. They make me sick.

The St. Petersburg Bowl should be Big East vs. Navy, Army, or Notre Dame (if they don’t make the BCS). Navy has no bowl affiliation and is considering a cold game in Washington DC, only a half hour from campus, just to get something. Navy would be a better opponent than Conference USA. Playing against Notre Dame is much more appealing than them taking a Big East bowl away.

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Por (Brian) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Typical Big Least member thinking you are better than you really are.  It amazes me how you guys were a member of C-USA.  But now that you think you are better off in the Big Least, you thumb your nose up at C-USA.

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Por (Gary Allen) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This bowl if approved I wouldn’t pay to see; due to the fact C-USA is a joke and The Big East football teams would blow out C-USA teams each year. YAWN.. Plus the fact there would only be 32,000 seats this bowl will be a joke in one year; with ESPN or not. Besides adding another bowl what’s the point of playing and winning? I mean come on The Big East gets seven bowls that means a team with a losing record will be in the bowl, sorry I just don’t think it’s right.

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Por (Pay Close Attention) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

To Brian ... It is not about USF fans thinking the Big East is better than CUSA. The point is that the Big East and CUSA already play in the Papa John’s Bowl. One bowl is enough. Anything more is redundant.

The Big East should play a rotation of Army, Navy, and Notre Dame (when available) in the St. Petersburg Bowl. CUSA can go meet the ACC in the new bowl they are proposing for Washington DC. Sensible.

I think the ACC would also be dropping out of Boise if the Washington DC bowl is approved so Army, Navy, etc. could alternate Boise with St. Petersburg when they are bowl eligible. Much more fun.

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Por (Gary Allen) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

FYI for all.

I am not a Big East fan at all, I was just pointing the fact that C-USA football is no where near the leavel of The Big East in terms of football. Yes, may be a C-USA team would get lucky; but it will get boring after one year. Also, of note I am a Bulldog fan and a big fan of The SEC no other football matters. I agree that the Big East gains nothing and should say no unless the bowl matches them with a true BCS conference.

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Por (Ken) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sounds DOA to me.  I’m doubt either conference can field attractive teams—I assume this would be the last pick?  The stadium is small, although the pizza bowl doesn’t attract that many and surely St. Pete and the TB area is much more attractive.  As for USF fans, surely we won’t be in this one, and we will be very displeased if we end up in it.

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Por (Husky Dog Art) on March 26, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Posted by Rich,  on 03/26 at 01:41 PM

Rich:

You wrote:

Hector,

I agree. Quality not quantity. Unfortunately this seems to be where college football is going. Quantity not quality. It used to mean something to get invited to a bowl. Now you just need to be .500. What next? Every D-1 team gets a bowl??

The next bowl will be a D1A against a D1AA team. Pretty soon you might see the Fox13Bowl with the team fom the Big 12 and the southland Conference. Football bowls are going crazy.

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Por (Nabeel Mulla) on March 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

How can ESPN be excited about this proposal?  I can see C-USA being excited about getting another game against the Big East.  A loss and that’s what was expected.  A win and a chance at respect.  The Big East would agree to this matchup only as a “sellout” for some easy money.  As for playing at the Trop…Yikes!  What an unattractive venue for college football!  That lopsided warehouse was a mistake from the beginning.

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Por (Sponge Rob) on March 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think this bowl would be the Big East’s last pick in 2008 and 2009 before moving up to the fourth pick in 2010. The payout would increase and Conference USA would be dumped for either a BCS conference or an Army/Navy rotation at that point. I have faith that Mike Tranghese and his staff can make it work.

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Por (Stephen Blackehart) on March 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I agree that if the conference wants another bowl game, it should either replace one of the lame-o bowls (International, Pizza, etc.) we already have, or slot us against another BCS conference.

I’d much rather see a guaranteed game against the SEC or PAC-10 every year, instead of yet another game against Tulane or SMU.  Like the Sun/Gator agreement we have now, but every year.

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Por (Eric) on April 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Any update on this?  Perhaps a better opponent such as another BCS league team?

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Por (Michael Coghlan) on April 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

as a Canadian Syracuse Orangemen fan i cannot believe how fast the USF Bulls have risen in College Football ranks do the people of Tampa St-Pete know how good this team is right now they have a better program than the University of Alabama

I hope you get the St Petersburgh Bowl but if you ever get invited to the Rose Bowl in LA or the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix

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Por (Mike) on April 24, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hey Rich,

As a CUSA school fan, let me say, I have ZERO desire for us to join the Big East.  It’s a bunch of NE schools with USF somehow thrown in there. I would MUCH rather go ACC and play Conference Games I could actually DRIVE to.

Thanks =p

And this bowl game is gonna suck if it’s the 6th Big East Team Vs. the 7th CUSA Team. 

I’ll pass, thanks =)

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