That is what was told to the Fresno Bee by the bowl's executive director Steve Ehrhart. Fresno State would more than likely play UTEP or Central Florida. UTEP just dropped out of the national rankings after losing to 5-5 UAB in the Sun Bowl. Central Florida is 8-3 just one year after going 0-11. The Knights are coached by former Georgia Tech and Notre Dame coach George O'Leary. Who is synonymous for lying on his resume for the Notre Dame job, which ultimately led to his firing one week after receiving the position.
Fresno State is much than these two teams. Nothing against them, but traveling across the country to play UCF or UTEP is hardly a matchup to get excited about. But, I'm not the one playing the game. The players deserve a great bowl game to play in, and there are few better than the one in Memphis.
The Pac 10 looks like they could be short on at least two to three bowl eligible teams depending if Oregon get a BCS bid or not, and if Arizona State and Stanford win their last games to get eligible. That could open a Emerald Bowl game vs TCU. That would be great for the fans and players, but that game has a 4:30pm kickoff ET on a Thursday. How much national coverage would that game get? Other possibilities could be the Las Vegas, but that bowl wants BYU, and TCU does not want to go to the Las Vegas Bowl. TCU prefers to get an at-large invite to the Houston Bowl vs the Big 12.
The Poinsettia Bowl has been rumored the only possible game that could matchup #15 TCU vs #16 Fresno State, but are leaning towards inviting Navy to play New Mexico or Colorado State.
If the Pac 10 only has four or five bowl eligible teams there is the remote possibility the Insight Bowl in Phoenix could invite Fresno State to play the 3rd selection from the Big East. West Virginia/South Florida winner will go to the Sugar Bowl. The second place team will get the invite to the Gator if Notre Dame goes to the BCS, otherwise the second place team will be sent to the Insight. A Fresno State vs Louisville in the Insight is possible if everything falls into to place, but probably unlikely.
The Liberty seems like the destination if the 'Dogs win out and that game will give the Bulldogs their highest payout ever in a bowl game about 1.3 million. The Liberty gets great national exposure on New Year's Eve and ESPN's top broadcast team usually calls the game, Mike Tirico and Kirk Herbstreit with Lee Corso as guest analyst for the game.
Ironically the Bulldogs main competition for the bid to Memphis is Virginia. The Wahoos did not help their cause by getting whipped at home against Virginia Tech, while Fresno State pushed the national champs to the limit. But the Bulldogs must first get by Nevada and Louisiana Tech before anything else. It should be no problem.