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Conference USA Bowl Projections: How many teams are in the way too early projection?

Why are we talking about bowls when the season hasn't started? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE DO!

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

With three new bowl games appearing in the mix this upcoming college football season, the Sun Belt and the AAC got more tie-ins to the bloated bowl system which is now up to 42 GAMES!

Well that's all fine and dandy, but who and what will CUSA teams end up with? Let's look to ESPN's resident bowl experts Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy for answers:

Arizona Bowl
M.S. Wyoming vs. Old Dominion
B.M. Air Force vs. UTEP

Oh look! Conference USA gets to start strong with a fun Mountain West opponent.  Interesting choice for Schlabach to put the Monarchs in a bowl game, considering they went 6-6 last season.  I guess Schlabach is expecting sustained success out of Norfolk.  Also, Tucson?  I'm from the Best Coast and would put Tucson on the "Least Desirable Locations for a Bowl Game" list...right next to Bakersfield.

New Mexico Bowl
M.S. Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico
B.M. Louisiana Tech vs. Wyoming

HOORAY, LOUISIANA TECH WILL POSSIBLY AVOID SHREVEPORT! CRAP, THEY'RE GOING TO ALBUQUERQUE... Double prediction for the Bulldogs ending up in Chihuahuan Desert, which I guess is still probably better than going to Shreveport.

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

Last season, at the Inaugural Miami Beach Bowl, Memphis won a great game and then promptly got thrown into a fight after a BYU player sucker-punched a Tiger player on national television.  We didn't have to pay 100 dollars to watch that and we can only hope that this year's Miami Beach Bowl will live up to the same hype.  The big question is: Who will George O'Leary punch?

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
M.S. Marshall vs. Toledo
B.M. Middle Tennessee vs. Bowling Green

Last year's Popeyes Bahamas Bowl featured points, points and even more points.  While Schlabach and McMurphy don't agree on who will be going to this bowl game, there is a good bet that this CUSA-MAC showdown will produce a wildly entertaining matchup.  Let's be honest though: a team called the Blue Raiders has a chance to compete in the Bahamas, and that in itself is a reason to watch this bowl.

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
M.S. Texas Tech vs. Rice
B.M. Rutgers vs. Rice

If there is one thing I really can not stand, it's the idea that "x team is close to y bowl game, so let's place them there because it will fill seats!"  Is that what this bowl feels like, because to me, that's the whole reason for sticking Rice here instead of [INSERT OTHER BOWL GAME HERE].

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

You know, while we make fun of ridiculous sponsors for bowl games, I think the St. Petersburg Bowl has gotten the blunt of most of the jokes.  From magicJack to Beef O'Brady's to BitCoin, this bowl has seen enough bad times, including matchups.  Cincinnati will be a great match against either offensive force in Western Kentucky or Marshall, and hopefully a CUSA team will be able to take home a trophy that vaguely looks like a retirement home covered in 80's "Miami Vice" colors.

So there you have it! With six bowl tie-ins, the Conference USA looks to be set with some great mid-major matchups, but nothing really materializing against a Power-5 team (with the exception of the Heart of Dallas Bowl).  But wait, what Group of 5 team will go to the big-money bowl if the CUSA is nowhere to be seen? Join us for the other conference bowl projections to find that out AND to make fun of the bowls and projections...