The Green Wave’s win over Tulsa last Saturday was big on several fronts. First, it boosted the team’s reeling morale. It had to feel good to get back on track at home with a solid 12-point victory. Even more significant though, thanks to that win, Tulane is bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons; a feat the program has only achieved twice in it’s 126-year history.
So, in honor of the noteworthy accomplishment (and because the Wave has a bye week), let’s take a look at the possible bowl games that the Greenies may find themselves in later this year. Below are the seven bowl contests that the American Athletic Conference has tie-ins to this season...
Frisco Bowl (vs at-large bid) - December 20: This bowl game is about as fresh as they come as it’s only been in operation for two seasons. The AAC has had affiliation with the game since its inception in 2017 but despite its running for two years, only one team from the conference has played in it (SMU in 2017). Last year the American was unable to send a team because league champion UCF was selected to participate in the Fiesta Bowl. Tulane, though, could be the second AAC club to play in it this December.
As far as potential opponents, that’s very much up in the air due to the fact that the other bid is given to an at-large qualifier. Any number of teams could claim the other spot.
Boca Raton Bowl (vs C-USA) - December 21: Not much older than the Frisco Bowl, the Boca Raton Bowl has been around since 2014. Two AAC teams have taken the field in this one, Temple in 2015 and Memphis a year later. You may remember this game as the one in which UAB capped off their incredible season with a staggering win over Northern Illinois last year. No team from the American has won the game yet, so perhaps Willie Fritz and company will be the first. (Side note: the game pays out $1 million to the victor, so that wouldn’t be too shabby either).
This year, the game will also feature a team from Conference USA. If the Wave gets a bid here, we wouldn’t be surprised if they squared off against someone like UAB, Marshall or FAU.
Cure Bowl (vs Sun Belt) - December 21: Tulane is no stranger to this one. Last year they took down in-state rival Louisiana with a breeze in this contest to clinch the school’s fifth ever bowl win. A continued AAC tie-in to the contest could bring the Wave back to it again this year. Darius Bradwell was dubbed the game’s MVP in 2018 making him the first running back to claim such honors. Tulane is also the only AAC team to win the contest as the conference’s only other nod, UCF, lost in 2016. I’m sure they wouldn’t say no to another trip to Orlando.
Louisiana could easily join the Greenies for a grudge match here. The Cajuns are 6-2 overall and currently lead their division. Don’t sleep on App. State or Georgia State either though. Any of these guys would make a tough and intriguing matchup for Tulane.
Gasparilla Bowl (vs C-USA) - December 23: The Gasparilla Bowl (formerly the St. Petersburg Bowl and Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl) has had a brief but rich history of featuring teams from the American. Even before the AAC came to be, several of its mainstays made an appearance in this one. The first ever Gasparilla Bowl actually pitted two against each other when South Florida downed Memphis in 2008. UCF has shown up three times and Temple won it just two years ago. Believe it or not, UConn has even made an appearance. So who’s to say the Wave won’t join in on the party this year?
Like we said with the Boca Raton Bowl, don’t be shocked to see one of C-USA’s hard-hitters in here too. Louisiana Tech, Marshall, UAB or FAU could all find themselves in this one.
Hawaii Bowl (vs Mountain West/BYU) - December 24:
Tulane’s final game of the season may very well come on Christmas Eve. The Hawaii Bowl is another one that this program has seen before back when Chris Scelfo and the 2002 team defeated the Rainbow Warriors in the first-ever edition of the game. It was the last bowl win Tulane had until taking home the Cure Bowl trophy last season and you can bet that if given the opportunity, this year’s club would relish a trip to Aloha Stadium.
The Mountain West will most likely send the likes of San Diego State, Boise State, or Air Force. However, both Hawaii and Nevada are on the fringe of bowl eligibility and one more win could just as easily land one of them in the game also.
Military Bowl (vs ACC) - December 27: Ever since the AAC came into being back in 2013, it has sent a representative to the annual Military Bowl. Navy has, fittingly, made several appearances as has Cincinnati. The American rep has won three of the last four Military Bowls and if Tulane is given a berth they’ll be looking to be the next in line.
The ACC will send the other team and it could be any number of clubs. Virginia, Pittsburgh or Wake Forest appear to be favorites as of now. Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech are all one win away from bowl eligibility too. Clemson...barring some colossal collapse... will be in the Playoff meaning that one of the conference’s runner-ups may be the one to snag a spot in the Military Bowl.
Birmingham Bowl (vs SEC) - January 2: It’s hard to imagine Memphis losing to Wake Forest but that’s exactly what happened in last year’s tightly-contested Birmingham Bowl. The 2018 Tigers were the fifth AAC team in a row to make the game and the conference is poised to send a sixth. Tulane has never appeared in this contest and could make it’s first run at it a day after New Year’s.
This year’s Birmingham Bowl is slated to field an SEC team alongside the American representative and waiting in the wings are teams like Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M. Missouri, too, is on the cusp of clinching. You’ve got to believe that even if Alabama or LSU drop out of the top four, they’ll still land in a NY6 game so the likelihood either of them plays in this game is quite low.