IRVING, Texas – A pair of Conference USA schools have accepted bowl invitations. SMU, the nation’s most-improved team in 2009, has accepted a bid to play in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl on Christmas Eve in Honolulu. UCF, which won its last six C-USA games, will play in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Saturday, December 19.
“We are pleased that SMU and UCF will be playing in bowl games. Both schools have had outstanding seasons and we expect them to have a great postseason experience at these games,” said C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.
SMU will be making its first bowl appearance since 1984 when it faced Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl. In their second season under June Jones, the Mustangs tied for first place in the West Division with a 6-2 league record. SMU’s 7-5 overall record represents a six-game improvement from last season.
SMU will face an opponent from the Western Athletic Conference in the December 24th game, which is televised by ESPN. Jones will be coaching in his fifth Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, as he led the University of Hawaii to four appearances in the game between 2002 and 2006. The Mustangs high-powered offense features junior Shawnbrey McNeal, the first-ever 1,000-yard rusher for a June Jones-coached team, and senior WR Emmanuel Sanders, the NCAA’s active leader in touchdown receptions.
UCF will face an opponent from the Big East Conference in the second annual St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla.. ESPN will televise the contest at 7 p.m. CST. Last year’s inaugural game featured Memphis and South Florida.
The Knights, who will be making their third bowl appearance in five seasons under head coach George O’Leary, feature one of the top defenses in the country. Junior DE Bruce Miller ranks seventh in the nation in sacks with 12.5, while freshman DB Josh Robinson leads all of the nation’s freshmen in interceptions with six.
Please check www.SMUMustangs.com or www.UCFAthletics.com for ticket information for these bowl games.
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Saturday, December 19
UCF vs. Big East Selection 7:00p CST
SHERATON HAWAI’I BOWL (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
Thursday, December 24
SMU vs. WAC Selection 7:00p CST