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Conference USA Bowl Projections Roundup: C-USA filled its bowl slots. Now who’s going where?

Conference USA will have seven teams in the postseason. Time to figure out their most likely destinations.

NCAA Football: Heart of Dallas Bowl-Illinois vs Louisiana Tech Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t how I thought it would play out but it happened. Thanks to Southern Miss’ upset win over Louisiana Tech, and UTSA defeating Charlotte the conference has seven teams that are bowl eligible.

North Texas dropped the ball against UTEP and fell to 5-7, however due to their APR scores the Mean Green will reach the postseason anyway.

Here are the tie-ins for C-USA.

  1. Boca Raton Bowl vs MAC Tuesday, December 20. (Boca Raton, FL)
  2. Hawai’i Bowl vs MWC Saturday, December 24. (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  3. New Mexico Bowl vs MWC Saturday, December 17. (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
  4. Bahamas Bowl vs AAC or MAC Friday, December 23. (Nasau, Bahamas)
  5. New Orleans Bowl vs Sun Belt Saturday, December 17. (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  6. Heart of Dallas Bowl vs Big Ten Tuesday, December 27. (Dallas, Texas)
  7. Independence Bowl vs ACC/SEC Monday, December 26. (Shreveport, Louisiana)

Note: These tie-ins are from Conference USA. However, there’s loopholes that may send a C-USA team elsewhere. Whoever wins the conference chooses whichever bowl game they want. The Independence Bowl is a back-up slot should the ACC or SEC not have a team eligible to play in the game.

For the second straight year there will be several 5-7 teams that will be bowling. Although the bowl tie-ins above are accurate it is unlikely that these seven teams will go to those bowl games.

There will be a ton of backdoor politicking by the conferences and bowls to make sure there are good matchups due to the amount of 5-7 teams. Last year three 5-7 teams made it but the 5-7 G5 team played against a 6-6 G5 team (San Jose State vs Georgia State). I expect them to follow that criteria again.

Unlike the previous weeks where I had as many as four projections I’m only doing the two that seem the most plausible as a lot of sites don’t seem to grasp that WKU isn’t going to the New Mexico Bowl.

SB Nation: 7 Teams

New Orleans: La Tech

New Mexico: UTSA

Cure: Middle Tennessee

Vegas: North Texas

Boca Raton: Old Dominion

Hawaii: Southern Miss

Heart of Dallas: Western Kentucky

Analysis: The Vegas bowl deciding to choose North Texas is interesting. That tie-in has traditionally put the Mountain West Conference Champ against a Pac 12 team but for the first time ever in Vegas Bowl history the Pac 12 doesn’t have enough bowl eligible teams. I think they would go elsewhere to provide a better pairing for the Mountain West Champ but geographically this makes sense.

NBC Sports: 7 Teams

New Orleans: Southern Miss

New Mexico: UTSA

Vegas: North Texas

Miami: Old Dominion

Boca Raton: Western Kentucky

Hawaii: Middle Tennessee

Heart of Dallas: Louisiana Tech

Analysis: I still think WKU will decide to go to Dallas at the end of the day but since the Big Ten doesn’t have enough bowl eligible teams either a Big 12 team will be in play or a G5 team. If it’s a G5 team I expect WKU to be in Boca.

How do we see things playing out?

With only the Conference USA Championship Game left we can make some pretty educated guesses as to who will end up where. The C-USA West champ has ended up no worse than the Dallas Bowl however, due to that bowl being the most coveted this year that changes.

Should WKU lose they will probably end up in Boca Raton but I think they win the conference. UTSA seems like a lock to go to New Mexico.

New Orleans will probably come come down to Old Dominion or Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles would be a better draw but the Monarchs are more deserving. Whoever doesn’t go there ends up in Hawaii or Bahamas. Seeing La Tech go from the Heart of Dallas Bowl to Bahamas would be tough but if the Independence Bowl isn’t open that’s how it may play out.

The Hawaii bowl will have a 6-7 Hawaii team waiting whereas the Bahamas Bowl could feature either a 9-3 Tulsa team or a 9-3 Toledo team. I think C-USA would opt for La Tech to go there instead.

New Orleans: Old Dominion

New Mexico: UTSA

Arizona: North Texas

Hawaii: Southern Miss

Boca Raton: Middle Tennessee

Bahamas: Louisiana Tech

Heart of Dallas: Western Kentucky