Most people OK, everyone thought Bob Diaco was either kidding or completely wacko when he predicted his UConn Huskies would run the 2015 table all the way through the national title game.
But most of those same people felt even the thought of a bowl game in Diaco's second year on the job was crazy.
Well, here they are. The program that recorded one 2014 win over an FBS team and was thumped at home by 0-11 SMU in last year's finale, is 6-6 as it heads to the Dec. 26 St. Petersburg Bowl for an 11 a.m. game against Marshall (9-3) of the MAC at Tropicana Field.
"The UConn football family is very honored to be playing in the 2015 St. Petersburg Bowl," Diaco said in a statement issued after the announcement. "I am especially excited for our senior class, who are an outstanding group of young men and have worked so hard for this.
"I also want to congratulate Marshall on their selection to the bowl and on an excellent season. We look forward to the challenge of meeting an outstanding football program."
Both teams will enter this game coming off losses, but the Marshall loss to Western Kentucky cost the Thundering Herd a third straight trip to the MAC title game.
The Huskies were thumped at Temple in their regular season finale but it didn't really matter since they had become bowl-eligible with an upset of Houston the previous week. Houston defeated Temple in the AAC title game.
"We have a very good matchup this year with UConn, a program on the rise that just knocked off undefeated Houston, and Marshall is one win away from notching its third consecutive 10-win season," said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the bowl.
"Surprisingly this is the first time that UConn is playing a bowl game in Florida so we hope to see many of their fans make the trip to take advantage of our tropical weather and bowl week events. We enjoyed hosting Marshall in 2011 and look forward to having them back again this year and seeing lots of Thundering Herd fans in St. Petersburg."