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Conference USA Bowl Outlook

Three teams are already in. UTEP and five others from C-USA seek that magical sixth win, but would it even be enough for all of us to go bowling?

Sarah Glenn

We automatically assume that as long as UTEP wins one out of three we will go bowling. A 6-6 record normally gets you a bowl invitation but it is by no means a guarantee.

"NOTE: Per conference regulations, all teams with seven or more wins shall be placed into conference bowls prior to any other bowl eligible teams without a winning record (i.e. 6-6 record)."

Is it mathematically possible to be passed over for a bowl if we don't finish with a winning record?

C-USA has five primary agreements and one secondary agreement. On top of those six bowls, C-USA also has four additional bowl agreements if the other conferences don't have enough bowl eligible teams. If Marshall finishes as the top Group of 5 team they will have earned a spot in one of the major New Year's Day Bowls. Thus potentially opening up another slot for a qualified team.

With the possibility of eleven available bowl spots, six wins should be enough for UTEP and any other C-USA team to earn a bowl invitation.

Conference USA Bowl Partners

Bowl

Date

Time

Stadium

Network

Match-up

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Gildan New Mexico Bowl

December 20, 2014

12:20 p.m. MST

University Stadium
Albuquerque, New Mexico

ESPN

C-USA vs. Mountain West

Boca Raton Bowl
Boca Raton Bowl

December 23, 2014

6:00 p.m. EST

FAU Stadium
Boca Raton, Fla.

ESPN

C-USA vs. MAC

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

December 24, 2014

12:00 p.m. EST

Thomas Robinson National Stadium
Nasau, Bahamas

ESPN

C-USA vs. MAC


Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
Hawai'i Bowl

December 24, 2014

3:00 p.m. HST (7:00 p.m. CST)

Aloha Stadium
Honolulu, Hawai'i

ESPN

C-USA vs. Mountain West

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl

December 26, 2014

Noon CST

Cotton Bowl Stadium
Dallas, Texas

ESPN

C-USA vs. Big Ten

Duck Commander Independence Bowl
Duck Commander Independence Bowl

December 27, 2014

3:00 p.m. CST

Independence Stadium
Shreveport, La.

ESPN2

C-USA vs. ACC or SEC

 

 

 

As of right now only Marshall and Louisiana Tech have guaranteed themselves bowl invitations. Rice is bowl eligible and has assured themselves of nothing worse than a .500 finish. Three teams Middle Tennessee, UAB and UTEP sit one win away from being bowl eligible. Three more teams Old Dominion, Western Kentucky and North Texas are hanging on by a thread.

What are the chances of our six C-USA teams to become bowl eligible and receive an invitation?

UTEP (5-4)

With games vs North Texas (3-6), Rice (6-3), and Middle Tennessee (5-4) remaining we must take advantage of Saturday's tilt with the Mean Green to become bowl eligible. Thanks to UTEP's great 3 for 1 deal we might see a big crowd on Saturday. We will certainly need it as North Texas will be fighting with everything they have to keep their season alive, and had a good showing in their thumping of FAU last week. Rice seems to have returned to their championship form and will be tough to beat in Houston. Middle Tennessee may roll into the Sun Bowl with a 7-4 record and would most likely be favored.

Probability: 4. On paper North Texas seems like a W but we shouldn't forget last season they won nine games and are the defending Heart of Dallas Bowl champions.

Middle Tennessee (5-4)

MTSU seems to have one of the calmer paths to a winning record and a guaranteed bowl. FIU (3-7), FAU (3-7), and UTEP (5-4) await them to close out the regular season. With bowl eligibility out the window for the Florida schools, they might not be as motivated to beat a solid Blue Raider team. The season finale in the Sun Bowl is their only real threat. It could either be UTEP putting all on the line to earn their sixth win, or on another winning streak full of momentum.

Probability: 5. They will pick up a win over the next three games and become bowl eligible. The real question is will they win all three and finish 8-4?

Alabama Birmingham (5-5)

UAB is 5-5 so they only have two games (well really only one) to get bowl eligible. Marshall (9-0) is up first at Legion Field. Not even die hard Blazers fans would pick UAB to upset the Herd. That leaves them with a road game at Southern Mississippi (3-7) to finish the season. If they win they are in.

Probability: 3. It comes down to one game. UAB @ Southern Miss. It should be a close one as historically nine of the fourteen match-ups have been decided by nine points or less between the two south schools. UAB should be motivated to earn a bowl invitation with news of football possibly being shut down after 2016.

Western Kentucky (4-5)

The Hilltoppers will need to win two out of three to qualify. With two home games still remaining the odds slightly favor WKU down the final of their three home game stretch. Army (3-6) and UTSA (2-7) will visit Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers will need to defend their home field as their season finale is in Huntington, West Virginia.

Probability: 3. It is a simple as winning the next two at home. They are both winnable games and WKU should have some momentum from their comeback victory over UTEP.

Old Dominion (4-6)

The Monarchs host Louisiana Tech (7-3) and then fly to Boca Raton to finish the season. If the games were flipped I would give ODU a better chance of qualifying. Beating La Tech will not be an easy task. The Bulldogs are averaging 38 points per game in conference play, and look to be on a collision course with Marshall for the whole bag of marbles. If ODU pulls out the upset then bowl eligibility is within grasp.

Probability: 2. As good as La Tech has looked they are not immune to losing. An early LA Tech home loss to an FCS team should give ODU fans some hope. Let's also not forget ODU went on the road and beat Rice (6-3) to start C-USA play.

North Texas (3-6)

The Mean Green will have to finish the regular season on a four game winning streak if they are to become bowl eligible. Games at UTEP (5-4), FIU (3-7), and at UTSA (2-7) must all be won for back-to-back bowl bids as a C-USA member. All three games are winnable for North Texas. The stiffest test will come from the Miners and the huge crowd that is expected at the Sun Bowl on Saturday. Sneak out of El Paso with a win, and bowl eligibility looks very promising for the Mean Green of Denton.

Probability: 1. This one is tough because the homer in me says UTEP will squash any bowl hopes on Saturday. The reasoning logical me says we will still win on Saturday. Sorry Mean Green if I am wrong I will eat crow.