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2011 Bowl Predications: FIU One Step Closer To Beef O'Brady Bowl

Believe it or not, the FIU Golden Panthers were one of Florida's most successful college football teams this season. They finished the year 8-4, leaving them with a good enough record to be in consideration for one of the college bowls. And considering that the Beef O'Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg is relatively close by, FIU fans have been keeping their fingers crossed that they can get into it.

According to the group running the Beef O'Brady Bowl, though, they have a few obstacles still to overcome:

"We love all the support FIU fans, BUT, you've got three hurdles to overcome. USF Football, the Pittsburgh Panthers and UConn Huskies would have to lose this week. While possible, and we are watching closely, the BIG EAST Conference has the spot, UNLESS they don't have a bowl eligible team left for the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Keep up the enthusiasm as it may come down to Saturday afternoon to see who'll be traveling to St. Petersburg, Florida!" (Miami Herald)

One of those hurdles has been cleared, as the USF Bulls lost a heartbreaker Thursday night to West Virginia. This means that the Bulls are not bowl eligible, and it gives the Golden Panthers a realistic shot at making it to the Beef O'Brady Bowl.

Cincinnati is heavily favored over UConn, but at the same time, Pittsburgh is expected to trounce Syracuse. If only one of these teams wins, it still leaves some hope for FIU; they can always make it to St. Pete if another bowl picks up the final Big East team.

While both possibilities are long shots, both Florida bowls could feature local teams this year, as the Seminoles could possibly end up in the Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando) depending on the outcome of Saturday's games. These decisions will come down to the wire, though, so keep those fingers crossed and your Twitter feed full of the newest updates.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.