Holtz vs. ECU? Win, Bulls could get that in St. Pete
USF needs one more win to get itself bowl-eligible, of course, and the game that still matches up best for the Bulls is the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, which could come up with an intriguing storyline for its pre-Christmas slot: Skip Holtz vs. East Carolina.
The Conference USA side of the BOB is looking more and more like the winner of Saturday's ECU-Marshall game -- both are 5-6, so the winner will be bowl-eligible, the loser done for the year. An invitation could be extended even this weekend, to help with ticket sales since the game has an early kickoff on Dec. 20.
ECU has won the last three meetings (including some Holtz-Mark Snyder tilts), including a 37-10 win last season, but Marshall has played well at home, upsetting Southern Miss there in September.
If the Bulls can get win No. 6 -- and that's still a big if, with games against Louisville and West Virginia and B.J. Daniels' status uncertain due to a shoulder injury -- then having Holtz against his old team would be the best sell the bowl could ask for. Holtz personally won't like the prospect of getting a win at the expense of his former players, but USF wouldn't do anything to resist placement in St. Petersburg, where the most Bulls fans have the chance to see the Bulls play. With UCF now out of bowl contention, USF is the only local option for St. Pete as well.
ECU has bounced back nicely from a 1-4 start -- those losses were to South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Houston (all ranked now) and North Carolina. The Pirates are 4-2 since -- their defense is still suspect, having allowed three teams to score 48 or more points, with two wins in which they've allowed more than 30.