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Conference USA Bowl Projections Roundup: New Orleans, Hawaii or Bahamas?

Check out where C-USA teams will be bowling this year!

NCAA Football: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl-Arkansas State vs Louisiana Tech Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first edition of Conference USA Bowl Projections, where we roundup a collection of bowl projections from various college football publications to see who will be bowling where.

With about a month left in the season it’s time to check and see where bowl projections have Conference USA’s teams will be bowling.

I find that now teams are eligible, projections around this time of the year tend to make more sense. Who knew!

But before we get to where teams are playing let’s take a look at Conference USA’s bowl tie-ins.

  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. If I remember correctly I’m pretty sure Western Kentucky got to choose their bowl game last year due to winning the Conference USA Championship so whoever wins the conference gets first dibs out of the tie-ins then everyone falls in line after.

SB Nation: 7 Teams

New Orleans: La Tech

New Mexico: UTSA

Miami Beach: Charlotte

Boca Raton: Middle Tennessee

Hawaii: Southern Miss

St. Petersburg: Old Dominion

Heart of Dallas: Western Kentucky

Analysis: This projection from the motherland sees Western Kentucky winning the conference and the Tops deciding to go to Dallas. Logistically, these spots would make sense for every C-USA team as far as travel goes but someone is going to have to go to Hawaii or Bahamas and put a burden on their fan base. In this projection Southern Miss draws the short straw.

College Football News: 7 Teams

New Orleans: La Tech

New Mexico: Western Kentucky

Boca Raton: Southern Miss

Hawaii Bowl: Old Dominion

St. Petersburg: UTSA

Heart of Dallas: Middle Tennessee

Birmingham: North Texas

Analysis: Out goes Charlotte, enter North Texas. But these projections see UNT bowling due to APR scores. I’m assuming they project Louisiana Tech to win the conference and the Bulldogs deciding to go back to New Orleans for the second straight year. I’d bet my life WKU is not going to the New Mexico Bowl if that scenario plays out. Swap WKU and UTSA and these projections would make sense.

CBS Sports: 7 Teams

New Orleans: Southern Miss

New Mexico: Middle Tennessee

Boca Raton: UTEP

Bahamas: Louisiana Tech

Hawaii: Old Dominion

Heart of Dallas: Western Kentucky

Arizona: UTSA

Analysis: Once again another projection puts a C-USA East team in the New Mexico Bowl and I just don’t see that happening. Especially if UTSA and UTEP are bowl eligible. Both of those programs would covet that spot. The Miners are the new seventh team in these projections.

WKU wins C-USA according to CBS but from what I gather it would be against Southern Miss. Just another guess, but if USM does win C-USA West, C-USA could make the New Orleans Bowl choose the Golden Eagles over Tech since they won the division. Although the Bahamas Bowl is a fun destination for the team - similar to the Hawaii Bowl - it’s a logistics nightmare for a fan base. In this scenario the Tech fan base would have to deal with that nightmare.

Bleacher Report: 7 Teams

New Orleans: Middle Tennessee & Southern Miss

New Mexico: UTSA

Boca Raton: Old Dominion

Bahamas: North Texas

Hawaii: Western Kentucky

Heart of Dallas: La Tech

Analysis: Two teams from C-USA in the same bowl! Last year in the inaugural Arizona Bowl they put Nevada against Colorado State, two MWC teams against each other. The bowl was mocked by the media for the selection and both programs were upset. The New Orleans Bowl is a lot much prestigious but should this happen I would be very upset if I were a fan of MTSU or USM.

This projection pegs Western Kentucky in the Hawaii Bowl against Boise State and that matchup would easily be one of the best bowl games of the year. In this scenario it’s hard to tell if Tech came away with the C-USA championship and opted for the much closer Heart of Dallas Bowl to play a potential Big Ten opponent or if WKU won the league and decided to setup a premier G5 matchup.


What do you think about the projections? Do you care if your team ends up at a far destination like Hawaii or Bahamas?