Note: Bump'd to the Front Page. I don't want to get too far into bowl speculation talk; especially considering what happened on Saturday, but asalom does a nice job of explaining some of the different scenarios and the various Sun Bowl options.
Here we are seven weeks into the season, and even though nothing is set and everything is up for grabs, its always fun to take a look at the possibilities. We'll start with UTEP. Off to their best start in years, the Miners are looking to go bowling for the 4th time this decade. Those plans hit somewhat of a speedbump this week as UAB and the injury gods shut down a solid UTEP team. However, the miners are still 5-2 and although any dreams of winning the conference may be slipping away, a solid 3rd or 4th finish in C-USA isn't such a bad thing.
A third place finish would put UTEP into the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl against the 3rd/4th finisher out of the Mountain West. With TCU and Utah running away with things in the MWC, a solid Air Force or SDSU team may land here. Not a bad matchup at all, even though Air Force has the nations best rushing attack, and well we all know how we've faired against the run so far.
A 4th place finish would get us into the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and pit us against the top team out of the Sun Belt. At this point that Sun Belt Champ would look to be Troy, a solid overall offensive team ranking 11th in the nation in passing and 48th in rushing. Their only losses were by 1 at UAB, and by 3 at Oklahoma State. Just as a note C-USA's winner plays in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. SEC 8/9 or Big East #5, C-USA #2 goes to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl likely against Hawaii.
The 5th place finisher in C-USA plays in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl vs. the Big East #6. Other possibilities for UTEP could be the Eagle Bank Bowl, The Texas Bowl, The Dallas Football Classic, or even The Sun Bowl.
Next we move on to the newly named Hyundai Sun Bowl. Over the years the Sun Bowl has quietly moved itself closer and closer to the upper echelon of college football bowls paying out nearly $2 million per team. The Sun Bowl will pit the #3 Pac-10 team vs. ACC chamionship game runner up team or 3rd place. The Sun Bowl also had ties to the Big East #2 and Notre Dame but I'm not sure if those are still in play. As far as the Pac-10 and ACC go, those conferences are jampacked around the spots that would come to the Sun Bowl. However, it is exciting to see some of the possibilities that are alive.
The #3 Pac-10 team is looking to be an Arizona, Stanford, or even possibly Oregon State squad. The #2/3 ACC team could possibly be Florida State, Va Tech, or NC State among others. A lot of the possibilities between those schools available could prove to be some good matchup. Definitely would not mind seeing any combination of Arizona, Stanford, Florida,and Va Tech. Again, not too sure if Notre Dame is still an option for the Sun Bowl but in a year like this for them they could possibly find themselves in El Paso. A Stanford-Notre Dame game sounds great, even though Stanford would likely roll them. The possibilities seem to be endless at this point, but everything will start shaking out quite a bit over the next 2-3 weeks. Who knows, if UTEP can somehow find a way to run the table they may be looking at their first Sun Bowl appearance in decades. We'll just have to wait and see.