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Bowling Time: Liberty Disses C-USA, Houston Falls to Ticket City Bowl

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HOUSTON - DECEMBER 03:  Quarterback Austin Davis (C), Dominique Sullivan (L) and Lamar Holmes #72 celebrate after defeating the Houston Cougars at Robertson Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Austin Davis (C), Dominique Sullivan (L) and Lamar Holmes #72 celebrate after defeating the Houston Cougars at Robertson Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Perhaps the biggest bowl news today in the C-USA was the fact that the Liberty Bowl decided not to invite C-USA champion Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles would have been the 17th straight C-USA Champ to participate in the bowl. Despite the fact that USM is now ranked 21st in the AP Poll, the Liberty Bowl opted for a Big East vs. SEC matchup (Vanderbilt vs. Cincinnati). Iliana Limon of the Orlando Sentinel has a very informative blog post up on how the SEC muscled the C-USA Champ out of the game.

In the Liberty Bowl’s defense, it has remained loyal to Conference USA for years. It’s refusal to drop C-USA and match an SEC team with a Big East team on a regular basis cost it valuable position within the SEC pecking order. The negotiations seemed to finally reach a breaking point two years ago, with the Liberty Bowl forced to agree to a complex contract that effectively gave the SEC veto power every two years.

Southern Miss. players might not care too much. Instead of spending New Years in Memphis, they'll spend Christmas in Hawaii. The Eagles will take on the Nevada Wolfpack in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

While two days ago Houston seemed like a lock to head to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, their stunning loss to Southern Miss in the C-USA Championship game leaves the Coogs headed to Dallas for the Ticket City Bowl. The Coogs will take on the Joe Paterno-less Penn State Nittany Lions. The complete C-USA bowl slate is after the jump.

2011-12 C-USA BOWL SCHEDULE
BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG
(St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Tuesday, December 20
Marshall vs. FIU (ESPN) 7 p.m. CST

SHERATON HAWAI'I BOWL (Honolulu, Hawai'i)
Saturday, December 24
Southern Miss vs. Nevada (ESPN) 7 p.m. CST

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL (Dallas, Texas)
Friday, December 30
Tulsa vs. BYU (ESPN) 11 a.m. CST

TICKET CITY BOWL (Dallas, Texas)
Monday, January 2
Houston vs. Penn State (ESPNU) 11 a.m. CST

BBVA COMPASS BOWL (Birmingham, Ala.)
Saturday, January 7
SMU vs. Pittsburgh (ESPN) 11 a.m. CST

2011-12 C-USA BOWL SCHEDULE
BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG
(St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Tuesday, December 20
Marshall vs. FIU (ESPN) 7 p.m. CST

SHERATON HAWAI'I BOWL (Honolulu, Hawai'i)
Saturday, December 24
Southern Miss vs. Nevada (ESPN) 7 p.m. CST

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL (Dallas, Texas)
Friday, December 30
Tulsa vs. BYU (ESPN) 11 a.m. CST

TICKET CITY BOWL (Dallas, Texas)
Monday, January 2
Houston vs. Penn State (ESPNU) 11 a.m. CST

BBVA COMPASS BOWL (Birmingham, Ala.)
Saturday, January 7
SMU vs. Pittsburgh (ESPN) 11 a.m. CST