What to watch in the St. Petersburg Bowl

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Here are some things to look for in Saturday's magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl:

1. Speed on the basepaths: Memphis and South Florida are athletic teams that like to spread the ball out and play fast on defense. That should make for an exciting, up-tempo game, especially on the artificial turf inside Tropicana Field, which is hosting its first-ever major college football game.

2. Matt Grothe's trigger finger: The South Florida quarterback has thrown 11 interceptions in his past five games after throwing only three in his first seven contests. He was victimized early on by some bad bounces, but lately he's been forcing the ball into tight spots, like he did on the goal line at the end of the first half at West Virginia in a 13-7 loss. Memphis had only seven interceptions this year, which ranked 105th in the country, and the Tigers' tendency to blitz should leave Grothe with plenty of opportunities. If he can limit his mistakes, he should have a big day.

3. Curtis Steele vs. the South Florida run defense: Steele is unquestionably the key to the Memphis offense. He ran for 1,175 yards this season and averaged 112.2 yards per game over his last nine outings. The Bulls, despite some ups and downs, still have the nation's eighth-stingiest rush defense, allowing only 97.7 yards per game. If Steele can't get going, it could be a long day for the Tigers.

4. George Selvie on the hunt: Fully healthy and possibly playing his last college game, expect the Bulls' junior defensive end to cause havoc against an opponent that's never seen his speed live. The good news for Memphis is that its offensive line has allowed just 16 sacks all season, and quarterback Arkelon Hall is a big guy who can move out of harm's way.

5. Tigers trickery: The last time Memphis played a Big East team, coach Tommy West just about emptied the playbook against Louisville in October. The Tigers ran several trick plays and funky formations to try and catch the Cardinals off guard. West's 6-6 team has nothing to lose and everything to gain while playing a BCS conference opponent on its home turf, and Memphis had a week longer than South Florida to prepare for this game. Don't be surprised if the Tigers attempt some more gadgets to at least get the Bulls thinking a little bit.