It's the off-season: so over the weekend I decided to read Mark Schlabach's and Brett McMurphy's way-too-early bowl projections. I broke down the Conference USA's projections, but then realized it didn't seem fair to leave the Sun Belt or the AAC out. So without further delay: here's the Sun Belt's way too early bowl projections!
|M.S.||SMU vs. Arkansas State|
|B.M.||Temple vs. Texas State|
Okay right off the bat... the good folks in San Marcos are rejoicing at the potential to make their first Division I bowl game ever. If that happens, the Austin Bowl will definitely get butts in seats. All that being said, with the exception of Temple, this seems like another bowl game where the reward is staying (relatively) close to home.
|M.S.||ECU vs. Appalachian State|
|B.M.||ECU vs. Appalachian State|
This match-up has all the makings of a potential fun game in the third bowl game in an over-hyped/overrated city (Orlando) that nobody cares about except for the fans going to it (so basically REALLY FUN). My question is, what is the Cure Bowl trying to cure...the Disneyase?
/I'll stop now
//No, screw you, I won't stop ever
|R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl|
|M.S.||Air Force vs. Louisiana-Lafayette|
|B.M.||Southern Miss vs. Louisiana-Lafayette|
Two things: A) I somehow missed the part where Southern Miss was projected to go into a bowl game (sorry Golden Eagles). B) How lazy do we have to be to project the Ragin' Cajuns going to the New Orleans Bowl yet again. The answer to the second statement is this: Louisiana-Lafayette basically has to win the division and try to get into a big money bowl in order to leave Louisiana. It worked for Boise State (seriously, they were in the Humanitarian/MPC Computers/Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for four years before making it to the Fiesta), and it's the Ragin' Cajuns best chance to leave New Orleans behind. On a separate note: how cool would it be to have Air Force play Georgia Southern in this bowl and have some sweet triple-option-on-triple-option action?
|Raycom Media Camellia Bowl|
|M.S.||Akron vs. South Alabama|
|B.M.||Western Michigan vs. Georgia Southern|
These are...interesting potential match-ups: one one hand you have the MAC team who hasn't made a bowl game since 2005 competing against a very young but dangerous home team, and on the other hand you have two schools competing against each other who now have iconic phrases to define their football programs. I'm most likely going to choose "Row the Boat" vs. GATA for now, just because I don't believe that Akron will make a bowl game.
|M.S.||Northern Illinois vs. Georgia Southern|
|B.M.||Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State|
I feel like Georgia Southern if they win the conference, should deserve a better bowl game than this, which starts me into my rant about the bowl system period (to be saved for a later date). Despite that, this is a great match-up for either Sun Belt team, as they will get to play the best team out of the MAC.
There you have it: five bowl slots for the #FunBelt, and it looks like all five will be taken up this year. Still, if you're a Sun Belt fan, you have to be wondering why Karl Benson hasn't been able to match you up with one Power Five School. Will the AAC have better luck in their bowl tie-ins? Find out next time in "We Are Making Way Too Early Bowl Projections For Anyone To Care!!!!!!!"