Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Bowl: Final exams won't bowl over these fans

ST. PETERSBURG — Mary Williams is no stranger to bowl games.

She and her friends, who live in New Jersey, have been to plenty across the country, following their favorite team, Rutgers University.

This weekend, the friends trekked south to see their alma mater take on the University of Central Florida at the St. Petersburg Bowl.

The foursome mingled through the crowds of tailgating fans who gathered hours before kickoff at Tropicana Field.

"It's a pretty happenin' place," said Williams. "We love the area. The people are great."

The weather wasn't so bad, either.

While sports reporters and fans from perennial powerhouse colleges sometimes disparage minor bowls, thousands of Rutgers and UCF fans spread across the Trop's parking lot before the game seemed intent on enjoying themselves.

They drank beer, danced to a band and lined up to ride a mechanical bull.

Others gathered in groups, chanting team slogans — although both football teams are called the Knights.

One UCF student raced around while waving a large flag above his head.

Sara Wilcox and Drew Hanson, students at the Orlando university, said they had no excuse to miss the game considering the proximity.

The couple made a day trip out of the event.

"I'm excited," said Wilcox, 19, who sported a modified Santa hat that featured her school's colors. "I'm a freshman so its cool my first year I can go to a bowl."

This is the city's second year hosting the bowl, which debuted last year amid skepticism.

Last year's event drew 25,200 fans. This year, organizers said, the game was sold out with 28,000 seats claimed.

"The bowl doesn't have a brand yet, but the match-up is good," said UCF alumnus Bill Hendrickson of Orlando, who, along with his wife, is a season ticket holder. "I think the exposure for the school is key."

Rutgers senior Stephen Markowski said he was surprised when his team accepted the St. Petersburg Bowl bid because the school is in the middle of final exams.

That didn't stop the 21-year-old or his family from flying from New Jersey for the event.

"I've been going to games since before I went to school," Markowski said.

And thoughts of a Monday psychology test floated away as the student, garbed in a painted knight's costume and matching red cape, partied and pumped himself up for the game.

"Not too many (schools) can say they've been to a bowl game and won four straight years," Markowski said. "We're hoping this will be the fifth."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8643.

St. Petersburg Bowl: Final exams won't bowl over these fans 12/19/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2009 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)