St. Petersburg Bowl: South Florida (7-5) vs. Memphis (6-6)

December, 7, 2008
12/07/08
8:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

South Florida will travel only about 30 miles from campus to play in the inaugural magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl. The Bulls certainly thought they were going to go a lot farther this year, especially after starting the season 5-0 and rising to No. 10 in the rankings.

But they lost five of their last seven games and had to beat Connecticut in their home finale just to guarantee a bowl bid. Injuries played a big part in South Florida's demise, and the team should be much healthier for the Dec. 20 game. The defense played up to its potential the last two weeks, holding UConn and West Virginia to 13 points each. The Bulls have the speed to handle Memphis' spread offense, but their own spread needs to turn up its performance.

The Bulls averaged just 12.5 points in its last four contests, and quarterback Matt Grothe threw 11 interceptions in his final five games.

Memphis and South Florida are former Conference USA rivals who have two common opponents this season. The Bulls beat Central Florida by seven in overtime and lost by four at Louisville, while the Tigers lost to Central Florida and Louisville by seven points each.

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