Bowl season kicks off Friday with arguably the best bowl game destination of the season and a pretty decent matchup to go with it. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders from Conference USA take on the Toledo Rockets hailing from the Mid-American. Inspired by the island vibes, we decided to do a different kind of bowl game preview for the 7th annual battle in the Bahamas. Won’t be able to award the Prime Minister’s Trophy, but here is who we think wore it best.
Toledo. From a purely numerical perspective, the Rockets finished 7-5 overall, 5-3 in conference play while MTSU finished 6-6 overall, 4-4 in conference play giving Toledo the edge. Furthermore, according to our friends at the Hustle Belt, the Rockets lost four of those contests by a combined nine points including a three-point loss to Notre Dame, a two-point loss to MAC champ Nothern Illinois and a three-point loss to the 2021 MAC West co-champions, Central Michigan. Middle, on the other hand, struggled to gain much traction, battling injury and illness all season long. But they managed to claw their way to bowl eligibility with determined win over FAU, behind a 4th string quarterback no less.
For all those reasons, the Rockets are -10 heading into this contest with the over/under set at 50.5 points, per DraftKings.
Toledo may have had the better season but MTSU definitely has the most fight, making this matchup worth all the gold in the Caribbean.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Middle Tennessee. The Rockets arrival in the Bahamas was swift and true but the Blue Raiders brought the drama and fanfare. Their social media detailed every moment of the journey from boarding to bag-tagging, including when Associate AD Larry Maples tweeted about waiting somewhat impatiently for the plane to touchdown.
Toledo. Both schools will be having official Bahamas Bowl watch parties in their respective towns but The Blarney Irish Pub in Toledo, OH looks like a Friday night to remember. Or forget. The party starts at 11:30 am and fans will be able to take advantage of free giveaways and contests throughout the day. Free Toledo merchandise, men’s and women’s basketball tickets and other promotional items will be available. Plus there will be an opportunity to win a free Toledo football helmet. And of course there will be food and drink specials like “buy one, get one” appetizers and Bud Light draft specials throughout the game. Cheers!
Murfreesboro restaurants and bars have also partnered with Blue Raider athletics to provide fun game-day atmosphere’s around town. All locations will have freebies for Blue Raider patrons in attendance. Find a full list here. But the official watch party is at The Boulevard Bar and Grille with Happy Hour drink specials like $10 medium 2-topping pizza and $7 friend fish sandwich plus the chance to win the official Bahamas Bowl Prize Pack.
Head Coach Rick Stockstill even provided a Hall Pass for the extended lunch.
Beach Bash Dance-Off
MTSU. This was much harder to pick a winner for as both teams showcased smooth moves. We think MTSU offensive lineman Marcus Greer stole the show though. Check out the video and decide for yourself.