The St. Pete Bowl 2016 – Mississippi State vs Miami (OH): Date, Live stream, location and everything to know St Pete Bowl
Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, reportedly plays host to the Egg Bowl champ and a team that closed 6-0 to become bowl-eligible. Also, head over here for the fully updated bowl season calendar as it fills in, from the New Orleans Bowl through the Rose Bowl.Tropicana Field is one of Major League Baseball’s quietest game atmospheres, but a fun twist is putting a college football bowl game under its roof. And that’s exactly what’s being done nowadays,
as the Trop’s the home of the St. Petersburg Bowl. This didn’t go terrifically last year. The field looked like a moist carpet, and Connecticut and Marshall treated fans to a 16-10 slugfest that featured not much excitement at all. Alas, the game’s back this year, with an ACC-American bowl tie-in.
The St. Petersburg Bowl has had some different names over the years, of course. It’s now the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, but it has previously enjoyed the sponsorship of Beef O’Brady’s and magicJack. Here’s to this year’s game being more fun than last year’s and giving fans a good show of football on a baseball field.
Want to watch? Here’s pretty much everything you need to know about this bowl game and its history. (Oh, it’s being played in the morning.)
Date and time: Dec. 26, 11 a.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN2
Location: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Stadium: Tropicana Field
Live stream: Click to watch College Bowl Games 2016
Last year’s score: Marshall 16, Connecticut 10
Last year’s attendance: 14,652. (That’s a hair less than this year’s average attendance at a Rays game.)
Teams with the most all-time appearances: Central Florida, 3
Teams with the most all-time wins: Marshall, 2
Mississippi State (5-7, 3-5 in SEC)
Perhaps no one expected Mississippi State to have the season it did in 2016. But thanks to MSU’s high ranking in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate scores, the Bulldogs are eligible for a bowl at 5-7.
It started out as bad as you can imagine — with a home loss to South Alabama in the season opener at home. It didn’t get much better, as Dan Mullen’s team proceeded to lose four out of the next six games, to drop to 2-5 on the season. After a win over Samford, Mullen’s team redeemed itself by upsetting No. 4 Texas A&M 35-28. MSU would lose the next two to Alabama and Arkansas, but a win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl put a positive ending to a roller coaster year in Starkville.
Mullen had to replace Dak Prescott this season, and to do so he went with Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback. No, Fitzgerald isn’t Prescott, but he put up some pretty solid numbers in his first season, throwing for 2,287 yards and 21 touchdowns. He added 1,243 yards on the ground along with 14 touchdowns, making him a true dual threat.
This obviously wasn’t the year Mullen was hoping for, especially after finishing with back-to-back nine and 10 win seasons. But how the Bulldogs rallied this season, along with making a bowl, is something Mullen and MSU fans can hang their hats on.
Miami, Ohio (6-6, 6-2 in MAC)
No team has experienced a weirder season than the RedHawks. The team got out to an 0-6 start, and looked dead to rights. With an absolute bottoming out against Akron, Miami’s offensive performance was in the seventh percentile comparatively to every team in the nation that day.
And then, just like that, the switch flipped. One win became another, then another and another. All culminating in the season finale against Ball State. It would not be easy, but Miami scratched and clawed its way to bowl eligibility, scoring with just over five minutes left and holding on for the victory.
The RedHawks are unquestionably led by their defense. With a top-30 total defense, the team doesn’t have any designs on outscoring anyone with an offense that’s sat outside the top 100 nationally. The RedHawks allow only about five yards per play. They’re also efficient on a play-to-play basis. As most defense-first teams go, that side of the ball stays pretty consistent. Winning truly depends on what the team can get from its offense. If the offense can rise to the occasion in a bowl game, it could be win No. 7 for the RedHawks.