Sports 56 WHBlog Q

December 20, 2008

Day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Will Askew @ 10:47 pm

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We just arrived back at our hotel from the magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl, in which the Tigers lost 41-14. It wasn’t really that close, and Tommy West would probably tell you the same thing.

I have serious doubts about the ability of St. Petersburg and the schools involved to support the bowl game. It really couldn’t have worked out any better for the bowl organizers this year…South Florida brought a ton of people to the game, and of the 25,000 people that were there (and I believe there was every bit of 25,000 people there by the way), about 23,500 were South Florida fans. Next year when USF is not in the game, the magicjack people better hope that they get UCF, because there won’t be anybody there. I’d say Memphis brought about 1500. I’m not going to sit here and browbeat Tiger fans, because this was a unique situation–the economy sucks and the Tiger basketball team had their best home game not only the same day, but at the exact same time. In fact, both games went final within minutes of each other, which made for a rough 5 minutes for R.C. Johnson. He had his cell phone glued to his ear on the sideline until he knew that the Tiger basketball team lost. I’m really kind of sad that Memphis fans couldn’t come down here. This area is incredible, and the weather was flawless all weekend long. I don’t want to leave.

The Tigers were simply out-talented. South Florida’s speed killed the tigers on both sides of the ball, and I don’t think they were ready for the kind of athletes South Florida threw out there. After the game, Tommy West said the exact same thing, and said that their defense could not stop the run. The big problem for the Tigers today though was the new Big East career total yardage leader, Matt Grothe. He dominated this game from the opening kickoff. Everything he threw was dead on target, and the Tigers could not tackle him. The Tiger defense has struggled against mobile quarterbacks in the past, and today was certainly no different. I was actually shocked to hear that Grothe was the career total yardage leader–he passed Pat White in the first half. White still has a game left to play against North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but Grothe is a junior; he will end up #1 when he plays next year. It really makes me wonder why the guy doesn’t get more credit. He was excellent today.

Tommy was clearly impressed by South Florida. The Tigers have a long way to go before they are comparable to a BCS team…I’d imagine you’ll be reading that quote or something similar from Tommy in tomorrow’s CA.

By the way, speaking of the CA, Peter and I were two of only four Memphis media members that made the trip. Phil Stukenbourg and Ron Higgins were the other two. Really kind of an embarrassing situation. I thought for sure there would be more media coverage from the Memphis side. The economy hits hard, I suppose.

The officiating crew was, without a doubt, the worst crew I have ever seen. They were awful. Especially in the first half. They stopped the game about six or seven times, once to review a call that they ended up just doing over. Yes. They called a do-over. Once when Memphis had the ball on the USF 18, USF had a pass interference call. The officials called a 15 yard penalty that moved the ball to the 3, after which the Tigers scored a touchdown on 3rd down. Everyone in the press box was under the impression that it should have been a half the distance penalty, which it should have. And oh yeah, they completely blew two obvious touchdowns and had to have replay overturn them…The first touchdown by USF, and the TD by Duke Calhoun where he very clearly, even from our vantage point above, got two feet in and had the ball over the line. The refereeing crew was horrendous.

Overall, on the field, this game shows the Tigers that they have a long way to go. Their effort was good, but they didn’t have the horses. From all accounts though, the team had a blast down here in St. Pete, as we did. The entire trip was so much fun, and the Tradewinds Resort gets a lot of the credit. They really took care of us down here. Everyone at the resort was so friendly and courteous, and I would most definitely recommend not only the area extremely highly, but also the resort. We had a great time.

And about last night? We had a great time at the Undertow and met a ridiculously hot bartender who was wearing a bikini. Her name was Katie. All things considered, we were good boys, although Peter did drink something called Sanmicklaus–a 14% alcohol beer that tasted like a dessert and was $10. Not the best decision. I stuck to Kalik, which is the beer of the Bahamas. Good decision by me. I will most certainly go back to the Undertow when I come down here next.

Oh yeah, that’ll be for the Super Bowl in a few weeks. What a shame.

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