Yesterday, Collin brought us back from our summer vacation, but the start of college football is six weeks away, so let’s just jump ahead to the end of the season with USF bowl picture. There’s a lot of flux with future bowl lineups (will get to that Friday), but for now it’s a familiar cast held-over from the Big East.
BCS At-Large – We can pray for some Willie Taggart magic, but it’s unlikely that USF would get the league’s last automatic BCS spot. It would be a big surprise if Louisville didn’t get this spot. In SBNation’s pre-season predictions for the league, Louisville was a near-unanimous selection to win the American.
Russell Athletic Bowl – How does the American Athletic Russell Athletic Bowl bid sound, huh? Catchy, right?!? The second-place team in the American is expected to get this spot. Not only has USF never won a conference title, the Bulls have never finished second. However, if USF were to finish second in the conference this year, the Bulls would be an attractive entrant in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl. Only being 80 minutes from Orlando, USF would be able to generate in-state excitement and send a healthy number of fans to DisneyTown. This is likely the best we could realistically hope for. Russell Athletic Bowl is ditching the American for 2014, so this is our last chance at a mid-tier Florida bowl for the foreseeable future. Ugh.
Belk Bowl – Way back in the glory days, USF’s first bowl-bid was in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, which is now called the Belk Bowl. The Bulls' second trip to Charlotte (pictured above) ended with a victory over Clemson. With those precedents, USF would be in the picture for the Belk Bowl if the Bulls can get eight or nine wins. The other bid in this game is the ACC #5, so if one of the Carolina or Virginia schools was the opponent, it would certainly increase USF’s chances of getting a bid. Belk Bowl is dropping the American for 2014 as well.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – This is the unlikeliest bowl for USF to play in. Being in the Bronx, NY, it’s the furthest bowl from Florida on the list, the opponent is from the Big 12, so they’d also have a long trip, and Rutgers or UConn would get priority if they finish .500 or better. Pinstripe is also scrapping the American for 2014. Screw those guys, we all hate the Yankees anyway.
BBVA Compass Bowl – Who doesn’t like compasses? Either the directional kind or the dangerous weapon used to make circles in drafting class? I know I do! USF’s first bowl win was in the PapaJohns.com Bowl, the previous iteration of the BBVA Compass Bowl, in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a dang pizza party back then but now maybe they go geocaching or something. Anyway, the opponent would nominally be from the SEC #9, but since they normally get 2 BCS bids, it might slide down to C-USA or the MAC. If the SEC does get a bid there, USF would be attractive against Auburn, Ole Miss, or Mississippi St. Against a lesser opponent though, it might be better to go to another team, unless UAB or Southern Miss does well this season. God what a miserable game that would be.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl – Can someone explain to me why there’s an apostrophe BEFORE the "O" in "Beef ‘O’ Brady’s?" What is it replacing? The second apostrophe replaces "f," and there are 63 words that end in "of;" perhaps it’s the "go" in "goof," or the "sunro" in "sunroof?" I'll go with aloof, which is how USF normally feels about this bowl game. It’s in the Bulls backyard, at Tropicana Field in St. Pete, so it’s a no-brainer if USF gets six or seven wins. USF obliterated Memphis in the inaugural and classically named magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl in 2008. While it would be nicer to go to game a little further away, and preferably outdoors, after two years without a bowl, we can’t thumb our noses at this game.