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5 Thoughts - 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl
South Florida QB Matt Grothe
South Florida QB Matt Grothe
Posted Dec 21, 2008

South Florida beats Memphis 41-14 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl.

5 Thoughts ... 2008 magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl

South Florida 41 ... Memphis 14

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1) It matters not that the opponent was Memphis or the title sponsor was magicJack. South Florida needed  this game. After getting mauled by Oregon in last years Sun Bowl and floundering in November, the Bulls had plenty to prove in St. Petersburg. Although there’s no way to recapture all of the lost goodwill from a 2-5 regular season finish, at least the program can carry some momentum into the offseason. Had USF blown this game or even been pushed as a two-touchdown favorite, the climate around next spring’s camp would have been overwhelmingly negative. - Richard Cirminiello  

2) The St. Petersubrg Bowl and the Big East has to work on the matchup before next year. Fine, it's only one bowl and it's only one game at the beginning of the bowl season, but as long as the Big East can't improve its bowl tie-ins, it had better be winning these lousy matchups 41-14. That goes for Connecticut in the International Bowl against Buffalo, but at least that's a game against a conference champion. Memphis was a mediocre team that had little business being in a bowl game, much less one against a team from a BCS conference. USF wasn't exactly a world-beater by the end of the year, but if the Big East is going to be playing Conference USA teams in the post-season, a game like this doesn't do anyone any good. Rice, who went 9-3, should've been in this game instead of playing Western Michigan in the Texas Bowl. Tulsa, who lose the Conference USa title game and finished 10-3, shhould've been here instead of playing Ball State instead of the GMAC. -
Pete Fiutak 

3) The nation saw how bad a sports venue Tropicana Field is during the baseball playoffs. Now, America's football fans know that the same stadium is an equally awful football facility. The turf caused some injuries and stumbles, and it looked horrible. The grounds crew did something clever by painting the portions of the end zone touching the goal line and the sides of the end zones, in order to help officials make rulings. But as well as the local personnel did to make the field aesthetically appealing, the end product still stunk. - Matthew Zemek

4) At long last there has been a Matt Grothe sighting. It’s about time. After being a microcosm for all of the program’s problems in the second half of the year, the junior issued a reminder of how good he can be when he’s on. He was unusually crisp through the air, throwing three touchdown passes without a pick, while burning Memphis for 83 yards on the ground. He was in total control of a game for the first time since Syracuse was in Tampa two months ago. If South Florida is to get back to being a Big East contender, it needs Grothe to use his St. Pete’s Bowl performance as a springboard into 2009. - Richard Cirminiello         
2) If a Florida team isn't playing in this game, which, remember, is in a dome in late December, will there be a draw? Put this in an outdoor stadium, and you'd have a reasonably attractive bowl destination for non-Florida schools.
As is, the game was played just down the road from the USF campus and just over 25,000 fans showed up. Would the game bring in that many fans if it was, say, UConn in it? There are worse places to be than Floirda in the winter for a football game. Now it'll be interesting to see if it can become a destianation that teams want to go to. - Matthew Zemek