Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, December 20, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
What it is: An opportunity to introduce the great sport of college football to the people of Russia. Oh, it's the other St. Petersburg?
The Sponsor: Let's just say that if you've never heard "See ya at Beef's," consider yourself lucky.
The Teams: Florida International and Marshall
How FIU got here: The scenic route. After clobbering North Texas, stunning Louisville and beating a supposedly tough Central Florida team, FIU lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and Duke. The Panthers then won five of their last seven games, though one of the losses was a 10-9 squeaker against Western Kentucky. And believe it or not, Wesley Carroll is still playing quarterback for FIU. Yes, that Wesley Carroll. His ninth year of eligibility might have been his best yet; he had a 134.00 passer rating and threw 14 touchdowns against just four interceptions. That sparked the Panthers offense to a state of mediocrity.
How Marshall got here: Your guess is as good as mine. Until the end of the year, Marshall never won two games in a row, and it took them overtime in the last game of the season to do that. The Thundering Herd defeated Memphis by one. But they also defeated ... you guessed it, Louisville! (This is a great Trivial Pursuit question one day. Except it won't, because it's debatable that Big East football even rises to the level of trivial.) Five of Marshall's losses came by at least 20 points; only their win against UAB came by as many. They also beat Southern Miss, which is still only the second-most confusing loss on the Golden Eagles' resume.
College football fans care because: Mario Cristobal is really doing a solid job of building the FIU program, and you ought to watch the guy at work.
SEC fans care because: Since FIU is a Sun Belt team, there's a decent chance that they're going to show up on your school's schedule sometime soon.
Watch this game if...: You're not a Louisville fan.
The result: FIU 45, Marshall 14