The 3RD bowl of the day and the 2008-09 bowl season is the inaugural 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl with in-state South Florida Bulls (7-5, 6TH in the Big East) vs. Memphis Tigers (6-6, tied for 2ND in the C-USA East) on ESPN2. The Big East vs. the C-USA... the weak sister of the BCS against a mid-major conference.
South Florida was projected by most preseason magazines as a top two team in the Big East and possible New Year's Bowl pick, but the season never was, after winning five straight, only to win 2 of their final seven games. With Memphis, the Tigers enter nationally known more for basketball, rather than football.
Last year, Memphis lost the New Orleans Bowl to the Sun Belt's Florida Atlantic 27-44, while USF lost last year's Sun Bowl 21-56 to Oregon. USF is playing in its fourth consecutive bowl game, with their only win coming in the '06 Papajohns.com Bowl over East Carolina of C-USA. This is Memphis' biggest bowl game, since it is the first vs. a BCS opponent. The Tigers are playing in their fifth bowl in six seasons.
Both teams had two common opponents (Central Florida and Louisville) this season. USF split with both teams, while Memphis lost to both teams. All four games were within a possession for each team. I'll give South Florida the edge playing in-state in this year's bowl vs. Memphis.
South Florida 24