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AAC Early Bowl Projections: Eight Bowl Games, Eight Teams

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With our final installation of "Way-too-early bowl projections," it appears that the American will fill all their slots, but will they make it into a big money bowl?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It's nice to have a lot of bowl tie-ins for the television money, but it's even nicer for the American Athletic Conference to have a representative in the New Years Bowls.  Did the AAC make it in to a big-money bowl? Let's look to ESPN's resident bowl experts Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy for answers:


Austin Bowl
M.S. SMU vs. Arkansas State
B.M. Temple vs. Texas State

A Sun Belt opponent awaits in this brand new bowl game that has yet to have a finalized venue in Austin.  Unless the news has changed where the UT stadium has signed the contract officially, speculations about the game happening at Memorial Stadium are still mostly speculations. But let's be honest: we're just waiting to see if Rooster Teeth Productions will do something wacky at halftime...


Cure Bowl
M.S. ECU vs Appalachian State
B.M. ECU vs Appalachian State

I already made my Disnease joke earlier...  Consider the following: why would any city (Orlando, New Orleans, Phoenix) host more than one bowl game, let alone three?  With less and less attendance, is the TV money really worth keeping these bowls alive?


Miami Beach Bowl
M.S. UCF vs. Middle Tennessee
B.M. UCF vs. Western Kentucky

UCF has a chance to travel...south a couple hundred miles to the Miami Beach Bowl.  Odds of George O'Leary being photographed riding a Ski-Doo Watercraft are currently at 7/2. TAKE THE ODDS, PEOPLE!


Boca Raton Bowl
M.S. Memphis vs. Western Michigan
B.M. Tulane vs. Toledo

At this point, we're just impressed that Tulane is projected to go bowling.  On the other hand, this would be slightly disappointing for Memphis, since this is a team who's on the "keep an eye for stealing a big-money bowl bid" list.


Hawaii Bowl
M.S. Houston vs. BYU
B.M. Houston vs. BYU

IF THIS MATCH-UP HAPPENS IT'S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!  Lots of passing offense, and high probability of the Blue Cougars fighting the Red Cougars.  There will be many cougars in the audience because it is Hawaii, after all...


St. Petersburg Bowl
M.S. Cincinnati vs. Western Kentucky
B.M. Cincinnati vs. Marshall

If you think that this game will be high scoring (as it should be), I'd like to remind you that Tommy Tuberville is the man who engineered this win for Auburn (WARNING: THIS VIDEO SHOULD ONLY BE WATCHED BY PEOPLE WHO HATE FUN).


Military Bowl
M.S. North Carolina vs. Navy
B.M. NC State vs Navy

This will be Keenan Reynolds last chance to ruin some poor defense, and our last chance to watch him.  So grab your popcorn, because this game will be all about the Navy quarterback.


Birmingham Bowl
M.S. South Carolina vs. Temple
B.M. South Carolina vs. Memphis

I know Owl fans will be upset with me , however while I think this is a good opportunity for both AAC teams, I think only Memphis would have a realistic chance against the Head Ball Coach.  However, regardless of the team, I think we can expect to see the HBC to be more excited for the challenge at Eagle Point rather than the matchup at Legion Field.

So now that we've gone through all of the projections for CUSA, Sun Belt and AAC, we have to wonder "Who got the Group of 5's big-money bowl spot?"  That honor currently goes to Boise State for Schlabach and Utah State for McMurphy.  Here's the thing, neither one of those teams have that much more advantage over someone like Georgia Southern or Memphis.  If either of those Mountain West teams fall, and another G5 team goes undefeated, the undefeated team will probably get the nod.

With that being said, do you agree with the early projections? Who gets your nod for the New Year's Bowl?  Let us know in the comments!