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USF Bulls to play in International Bowl, Rutgers Scarlet Knights in St. Petersburg Bowl

B.J. Daniels and USF will play in another cold-weather city. But unlike Saturday at UConn, the International Bowl is at a field with a retractable roof.

Associated Press

B.J. Daniels and USF will play in another cold-weather city. But unlike Saturday at UConn, the International Bowl is at a field with a retractable roof.

TAMPA — The day after they took a 29-27 loss at Connecticut, the Bulls found out they're going even farther north to face another team of Huskies.

USF will play in the International Bowl in Toronto on Jan. 2 against Northern Illinois of the Mid-American Conference.

And as the Bulls learned they'll play in the Rogers Centre, Rutgers found out it will play in another American League East ballpark, representing the Big East at Tropicana Field in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 19 against Central Florida.

Had the Bulls, who have lost five of seven, won Saturday, they might have earned a more coveted spot in the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., against an SEC opponent.

USF is responsible for 10,000 tickets at $40 each but is likely to sell just a small fraction of those. So unsold tickets will be a significant part of USF's expenses.

"It really came down to what's best for all the bowls in the Big East Conference," said Ken Hoffman, the bowl's executive director. "There are so many people from up north that have been transplanted down there, and we know they're a good football team."

Northern Illinois (7-5) beat a BCS conference team in Purdue this season but hasn't beaten a team with a winning record. The seven victories came against teams that are a combined 17-56.

USF and Northern Illinois have played twice. The Bulls lost 20-17 on the road in 2001 on a 42-yard field goal as time expired. USF won 37-6 in Tampa the next year.

The Big East bowl lineup fell into place with the Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., choosing Pittsburgh to face North Carolina and Connecticut getting matched up with South Carolina in Birmingham. That left Rutgers and USF for St. Petersburg and Toronto. (The Big East's other bowl-eligible teams, Cincinnati and West Virginia, will play in the Sugar and Gator, respectively.)

USF will play in a bowl game for the fifth consecutive season, previously going to the Car Care, Papajohns.com, Sun and St. Petersburg bowls.

"I think it's a nice opportunity for our student-athletes to experience a place they haven't been to for a postseason game," USF athletic director Doug Woolard said. "In Birmingham, El Paso, St. Petersburg and Toronto, our seniors have been to four different areas."

USF coach Jim Leavitt did not return messages seeking comment.

FAST FACTS

International Bowl tickets

Go to gousfbulls.com or call toll-free 1-800-462-8557.

USF Bulls to play in International Bowl, Rutgers Scarlet Knights in St. Petersburg Bowl 12/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 7, 2009 12:21am]
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