On Sunday afternoon, the Miami Beach Bowl offically invited WKU to play in its December 21 game against South Florida.
The Hilltoppers (11-2) and the American Athletic Conference representative Bulls (8-4) will meet for the seventh time, with USF holding a 4-2 advantage in the overall series.
"We are thrilled to be in the Miami Beach Bowl on December 21," said WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart. "What it does is it rewards Coach Brohm and his staff and our players for what they did this year – just an incredible year. We got everybody’s bests shot all year long. It was a little unusual this year to go into a year picked to do well, picked the win the league and being favored. We started by playing an SEC team, the opening game of the year on the road, where they had a whole summer to gameplan for us and play for us, but Coach Brohm and our guys were ready from day one. They answered the bell every single time."
Brohm, who has guided the program to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in its FBS era, appreciates that the bowl not only provides a great opponent, but also serves as a nice destination for players and fans..
"We couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to go to the Miami Beach Bowl," said Brohm. "The great thing and fortunate thing we have about Conference USA, which we’re extremely happy to be in, is we have the best bowl tie-ins than anywhere in the country, and we’re excited about that. The fact that we get to go down South again, go where it’s warm around Christmas time in Miami, it definitely was a destination all of our players are excited about. We were looking forward to trying to get to that point. Now that we’ve arrived in this bowl, we’re happy to be here. We’re going to take advantage of it, have fun with it and try to go get a win."
South Florida is coached by former WKU player and coach Willie Taggart, who departed Bowling Green for Tampa after leading the Hilltoppers to its first-ever FBS bowl in 2012.
"He was a great player here, achieved a lot as a player and a coach," said Brohm. "It’s exciting to see the turnaround they had this season. I’m not for sure what the stat is, but they won the last six of seven and winning some really good games. I’ve gotten the chance to watch just a little bit of them, and they’re very talented. They’re very athletic. They’re extremely good on the defensive side of the ball on the defensive front. They have some athletes at the skill positions on offense that are fast and athletic. I think from an athletic standpoint, from a talent standpoint, they’re very, very good. It’ll be a tough match up for us."
WKU made it's first appearance in the national rankings in a decade on Sunday, checking in at No. 25 in the latest AP rankings, while USF has won seven of its last eight outings.
"USF and Western Kentucky are two of the hottest teams in the country and we are excited to have them in our game," said Carlos Padilla II, Executive Director of the Miami Beach Bowl. "This matchup has the ability to be as exciting as our inaugural game last year in which Memphis defeated BYU 55-48 in double overtime."
Kickoff for is scheduled for 1:30 (CDT) at Marlins Park, with ESPN providing the national broadcast.