Present Iteration: The Beef O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg
Past Iterations: St. Petersburg Bowl Presented By Beef O’Brady’s, magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl
Toasting Town: St. Petersburg, Florida
Combatants: Florida International (8-4) vs. Marshall (6-6)
Holiday Equivalent: Waiting in the Airport Security Line
You may crank up the volume to your heart’s content, for Craig James will be wearing out some boots this evening. Your major storyline will be FIU coach Mario Cristobal, as this looks increasingly like it will be his last game in charge. Reports peg him as the leading Pitt candidate. He should be offered the job once Pitt is sure he will accept.
Florida International Golden Panthers [SRS 79]
Best Wins: Louisville (59), Central Florida (77)
Losses: Arkansas State (54), Louisiana-Lafayette (85), Western Kentucky (89), Duke (97)
Famous Alum: Andy Garcia
FIU finished with the school’s best historical record (8-4) and tied with Florida State for Florida’s best record this season. Their torchbearer is T.Y. “Goodbye” Hilton, a wide-receiver and return specialist, who gained 1,051 yards on 80 touches from scrimmage this season. He also averaged more than 20 yards per punt return and 30 yards per kick return and had eight total touchdowns. That was while he was battling a hamstring injury. Now, he’s healthy.
Marshall Thundering Herd [SRS 90]
Best Wins: Southern Miss (28), Lousiville (59)
Losses: Houston (13), Virginia Tech (26), West Virginia (32), Tulsa (39) Ohio (70), Central Florida (77)
Famous Alum: Robert Byrd
Marshall needed overtime to beat East Carolina and finish the requisite 6-6, though they did play a tough non-conference schedule. Their man to watch is Vinny Curry, a defensive line beast who had 21.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles this season.
Key: Marshall’s offensive line is awful, which does not bode well against FIU’s front seven (N0. 24 in yards per carry run defense and No. 15 in sacks per game).
Recreational Prediction: Florida International (-4)
[Photo via Getty]