The Big East's participation in the St. Petersburg Bowl is in concert with another negotiated change to the conference's annual bowl arrangement. The PapaJohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., which had featured a Big East school against a Conference USA opponent, will now match the Big East against an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.
The NCAA certified the St. Petersburg Bowl Wednesday. The bowl was established by ESPN Regional Television and the game will air on ESPN in December.
"The St. Petersburg Bowl is another great bowl opportunity for the Big East," said Commissioner Michael Tranghese. "The game is played in a BIG EAST market and already has generated great interest in the local community. The partnership with ESPN will help the game grow quickly. Our coaches are always excited to play a postseason game in the state of Florida."
"We look forward to the opportunity to host a bowl game at a great destination – St. Petersburg," said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ESPN Regional Television. "The St. Petersburg area has a great association with sports, it's a great venue, and this is sure to be a rewarding experience for the student-athletes and their teams as well as the fans who attend the game."
The 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl, meanwhile, will be played at Legion Field in Birmingham Dec. 29 and televised on ESPN. That bowl is also operated by ESPN Regional Television.
"We have always wanted to have a bowl relationship with the Southeastern Conference," said Tranghese. "We believe the game will continue to prosper under the Big East and SEC banners."
"The approval of the St. Petersburg Bowl offered both the Big East and Conference USA an opportunity to participate in a Florida-based bowl game," said Derzis. "Consequently, we were able to partner with the SEC in Birmingham. We look forward to the added excitement that the SEC will bring to the already successful PapaJohns.com Bowl."