Pat Hill said the allure of playing in the Liberty Bowl was it was a marquee bowl game and that the Bulldogs would play a conference champ. That is freakin hogwash. The Liberty Bowl is considering Memphis despite who ever wins the Conference USA championship game between Tulsa and Central Florida.
It all depends on how many tickets Central Florida or Tulsa can guarantee. With Fresno State already set as the opponent, and East Coast team must be able to guarantee tickets. That is why Memphis is such an intriguing option. The hometown Tigers have never played in the Liberty Bowl and DeAngelo Williams is the nation's leading rusher and a legitimate Heisman Candidate. That alone dwarfs anything a Tulsa or Central Florida can bring to the table.
Central Florida has a great rags-to-riches story from last year to this year and head coach George O' Leary is another great story. But if the Golden Knights lose, the great story dies with the loss. Tulsa vs Fresno State does not register as a marquee game no matter what. These former Western Athletic Conference members have not met since 2002, and the Bulldogs have never lost to the Golden Hurricane. Fresno State-Tulsa still signals WAC power versus WAC pasty in my mind and many others too.
A 9-3 Central Florida would be the best choice for the Liberty Bowl opposite Fresno State, but if the Knights can not sell enough tickets, then the choice has to be Memphis. The funny thing is Memphis was beaten by both Central Florida and Tulsa, 38-17 and 37-31, respectively.
Memphis struggled mid-year due to season ending injuries to their top two quarterbacks, but have rebounded to win their last two and finish 6-5. If the Tigers had pulled out the win at Tennessee, November 12, no doubt they would be in the Liberty Bowl hands down.