For the first time since 2008 FAU is going to make a bowl game. The only question is where? Based off of bowl projections, many see the Owls staying home to play in the Boca Raton Bowl.
The projections are not a surprise. Not because WKU won Conference USA last year and ended up in Boca, therefore they see FAU winning C-USA and playing in the same bowl, but because they see FAU staying home as a no-brainer. When Hawaii is bowl eligible they stay home and New Mexico does the same. Why wouldn’t FAU?
For those who don’t know, the Boca Raton Bowl was first introduced to the bowl lineup in 2014 and has featured a team from Conference USA twice (Marshall and WKU). I covered the 2015 Boca Bowl between Toledo and Temple for Underdog Dynasty and came away impressed with the presentation of the bowl, although the game itself featured some rain which put a damper on things for fans of the respective teams.
Boca Raton is obviously a great travel destination and the game is played in a great facility, FAU Stadium. But should the Owls make it their permanent landing spot come bowl season?
Due to traveling limitations, Hawaii staying in the Hawaii Bowl makes sense. New Mexico however, is in the mainland and could play in another bowl without being a logistics nightmare for their fans. I reached out to New Mexico fans to see how they feel about UNM hosting the New Mexico Bowl over the past few years.
I wish it had a different name, like the turquoise bowl or Chile bowl. NM bowl featuring NM is extremely lame— A Good Tech Biz Boy (@supersloth) November 5, 2017
It sounds like UNM fans would like it if their team played elsewhere come bowl season. One of the positives I see in FAU hosting the Boca Raton Bowl this season is that it would be an absolute hit. After eight years with no bowl game, there would be no excuse for students and alumni to not show up as the game would take place in our stadium. Considering the flack FAU always gets from C-USA fans for not packing FAU Stadium, it would be a great opportunity to get rid of that stigma.
Another positive is that given that this year’s opponent will most likely come from the best Group of Five conference in the American Athletic Conference (probably USF, Houston, or Memphis), the Owls could close the season with a marquee game at home.
FAU being in the Boca Bowl this season as a novelty wouldn’t be so bad if the matchup is worthwhile. But the same bowl destination every year? I’d rather not. Last year a 6-6 UCF team stayed home to play in the Cure Bowl. A season that results in a 6-6 record is really the only scenario I’ll accept for FAU hosting the Boca Bowl.
As for this year, given how well FAU could finish the season, I’d be disappointed if the Owls decided to stay home and host the Boca Bowl. The players benefit the most from bowl games and I’d much rather see them experience something brand new, rather than stay home. This goes for fans too.
From meeting alumni who made the trip to New Orleans back in 2007, they said the New Orleans Bowl was a great sporting event and a terrific destination. As a fellow alum, I want what they had. New Orleans? Sign me up. St. Petersburg? I can go for that. Boca Raton? Meh.
I reached out to Athletic Director Pat Chun in regards to whether FAU is leaning towards hosting the Boca Raton Bowl. Here’s what Chun had to say.
“At the appropriate time we will have dialogue with Conference USA regarding the postseason, but our team is focused on Louisiana Tech. This is a special team doing some incredible things this season. They will continue to earn great opportunities and accolades as we look to having a strong month of November.”
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether FAU will host the Boca Bowl this season. The way they finish the season might have some bearing on whether FAU will stay home. A 10-3 FAU team hosting the Boca Bowl could sell a lot of tickets. With that said, locals won’t fill up those hotel rooms and that might be a case against FAU hosting the Boca Bowl not just this year, but every year.
However it’ll play out, now that Lane Kiffin and co. has revived the football program expect the Owls to always be in the mix for hosting the Boca Raton Bowl. I just hope FAU avoids playing in it every year.