FIU accepts Bowl bid to Beef O’ Brady’s

Photo by: Kristi Camara

By: Jackson Wolek / Staff Writer

The best season in FIU football history was left with anxiety. Even with a 8-4 record, there was uncertainty to if the Panthers would make it to a bowl game at all. Much of Saturday was spent watching other teams play, and hoping for favorable outcomes.

The anxiety is now over.

At a press conference held at 5:30 p.m, head coach Mario Cristobal and Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia announced that the Panthers will be playing in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s bowl on Dec. 20 at 8:00 p.m in St. Petersburg against an opponent that is to be announced.

“Anytime you receive this kind of a privilege you certainly respect it, but you prepare for it as it is, it’s the most important game of the year,” said Cristobal.”

The FIU fans had pushed all week leading up to the announcement on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“I thank all our fans for their enthusiasm and support,” said Garcia. “This is something that without winning the eight games, I’m not even sure had we won seven we would have gotten the invitation.”

Garcia said he expects upwards of 10,000 FIU fans to make the four-hour trip to St. Petersburg, and the box office opened 15 minutes before the official announcement was made.

“I want to stress that St. Pete was the perfect scenario,” said Garcia. “For us and for them, because they get a Florida team and it’s been our top choice before the season even started.”

Cristobal made an indication that it could have ratifications on recruiting as well, since FIU recruits heavily in all of Florida.

“It’s nice to be able to go into another home tonight and immediately talk about the bowl opportunity,” Cristobal mentioned. “ All in all it’s been a fantastic day not only for FIU but also for college football in general.”

The game will be played at Tropicana Field, and FIU will be the only team south of Orlando to be playing in the state of Florida for a bowl this year. As of right now, there is no expected time of announcement for who the Panthers will face.

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