Final C-USA bowl projections prior to Selection Day

Selection Day is finally upon us. We should know where UTSA and the rest of Conference USA’s bowl-eligible teams are headed later this afternoon, but here are our final projections to hold you over until then.

UTSA will officially unveil their bowl destination at approximately 1:45 p.m. today on Facebook Live.

There have already been a handful of bowl swaps that didn’t impact C-USA, but any swaps that might change the C-USA bowl picture would likely be between multiple ESPN-owned bowls.

Bowl games owned by ESPN

  • Armed Forces Bowl
  • Birmingham Bowl
  • Bahamas Bowl*
  • Boca Raton Bowl*
  • Camellia Bowl
  • Celebration Bowl
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
  • Hawaiʻi Bowl*
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl*
  • Las Vegas Bowl
  • New Mexico Bowl*
  • St. Petersburg Bowl
  • Texas Bowl

*C-USA tie-in

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 1:00 p.m.
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $456,250

Almost everyone is in agreement now that UTSA will be heading to Albuquerque for their first-ever bowl game, but you never know if ESPN will make a last-minute shift to try to create better match-ups elsewhere and send us to one of their other bowls.

Prediction: UTSA (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 8:00 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
C-USA vs. Sun Belt #1
2015 Payout: $500,000

Multiple media outlets have now reported that the New Orleans Bowl will feature Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette. Given the ODU to Hawaii Bowl announcement, I don’t see anything that would get in the way of this.

Prediction: Southern Miss (6-6) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)

Boca Raton Bowl

Tuesday, December 20, 6:00 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
C-USA vs. American #7
2015 Payout: $400,000

Western Kentucky are your C-USA Champs and will be heading to Boca for some of that south Florida recruiting. I previously put UCF in the slot opposite WKU, but it looks like they will go elsewhere in-state to the Miami Beach Bowl, so Memphis is the consensus to fill in here.

Prediction: Western Kentucky (10-3) vs. Memphis (8-4)

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 23, 12:00 p.m.
Thomas Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
C-USA vs. MAC #2-5 or American #6
2015 Payout: $450,000

It was confirmed last week that Old Dominion would face Eastern Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl.

Prediction: Old Dominion (9-3) vs. Eastern Michigan (7-5)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Friday, December 23, 3:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Big 12 #7 vs. American (Navy, if eligible)
2015 Payout: $675,000

This is where things start to get interesting. The Big 12 only has six bowl-eligible teams and this is their 7th slot, so I thought North Texas would be a shoo-in here given their proximity to the bowl. However, a report from Brett McMurphy at ESPN (who own this bowl, for what that’s worth) has a Big 12 team, likely Baylor, taking on Navy.

It seems reasonable that the Big 12 might try to dump their Cactus Bowl bid against a Mountain West opponent in favor of the Armed Forces Bowl against Navy, but the Cactus Bowl promises a very nice payout ($3.3 million last year) and it is owned by the Fiesta Bowl, not by ESPN, making the deal much more difficult to complete in such a short amount of time.

I’ve gone back and forth on this a few times, but it just makes so much more sense for all parties involved to have Louisiana Tech here and have the Big 12 retain their tie-in with the Cactus Bowl.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs. Navy (9-3, game vs. Army remaining)

Hawai’i Bowl

Saturday, December 24, 7:00 p.m.
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $650,000

Nothing has come out to cast any doubt on this Middle Tennessee-Hawaii match-up, and I don’t foresee any last-minute swaps here.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Hawaii (6-7)

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 11:00 a.m.
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
C-USA vs. Big Ten #8-9
2015 Payout: $1.1 million

Louisiana Tech seemed like the obvious favorite for the Heart of Dallas Bowl for weeks now, but the aforementioned ESPN report has North Texas here against Army, and it makes sense for C-USA to go local with the Heart of Dallas since the Big Ten couldn’t provide a Power-Five opponent for us.

Prediction: North Texas (5-7) vs. Army (6-5, game vs. Navy remaining)

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 9:15 p.m.
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Big 12 #6 vs. Pac-12 #7 (Backup: Mountain West)
2015 Payout: $3.3 million

With the Pac-12 unable to provide a team for the Cactus Bowl, their spot defaults to the backup Mountain West tie-in. Faced with the potential of matching up with a Group-of-Five opponent either way, perhaps the Big 12 worked a deal to keep their Armed Forces slot against a quality Navy team and give up Cactus to Louisiana Tech, but I just don’t see it happening with a non-ESPN bowl.

Prediction: Baylor (6-6) vs. Boise State (10-2)

 

Tuesday Roundup: UTSA is bowl eligible, ODU to Bahamas, and more

[Football] UTSA is officially bowl-eligible after defeating Charlotte 33-14 on Saturday. Kerry Thomas had a school-record 145 receiving yards in the game. (goUTSA) (Underdog Dynasty)

[Football] Pre-orders are available now for UTSA bowl game tickets. It’s important to buy tickets through UTSA so that the ticket revenue will go to the school and to make us more attractive to our bowl partners in the future. Also, you will receive a free commemorative t-shirt for each ticket purchased through UTSA. (goUTSA)

[Football] UTSA will host a bonus edition of The Frank Wilson Show at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, live on Ticket 760 AM. (goUTSA)

[Football] Making the case for Frank Wilson as C-USA Coach of the Year. (Underdog Dynasty)

[C-USA] The Underdog Dynasty Power Rankings have UTSA at #4, and Western Kentucky moves above Louisiana Tech at #1. (Underdog Dynasty)

[C-USA] With Southern Miss surprisingly reaching bowl eligibility, the Conference USA bowl picture was shaken up with less than a week to go before matchups are officially unveiled. UTSA is still likely heading to New Mexico, but Heart of Dallas and Armed Forces aren’t out of the question. (Underdog Dynasty) (RowdyReport)

[C-USA] Old Dominion has accepted an invite to the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl on December 23 against Eastern Michigan. (ODU)

 

Updated C-USA bowl projections heading into championship weekend

Thanks to a Southern Miss upset over Louisiana Tech last week, the Conference USA bowl picture now has one too many teams and quite a few of our projections have shifted around to accommodate the Golden Eagles.

Bowl-eligible: Western Kentucky (9-3), Old Dominion (9-3), Louisiana Tech (8-4), Middle Tennessee (8-4), UTSA (6-6), Southern Miss (6-6), North Texas (5-7, eligible based on APR)

Eliminated: Charlotte (4-8), FIU (4-8), UTEP (4-8), FAU (3-9), Marshall (3-9), Rice (3-9)

All bowl matchups will officially be announced on Selection Day, next Sunday, December 4.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 1:00 p.m.
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $456,250

Albuquerque still seems to be the most likely option for the Roadrunners in their first-ever bowl game, but it is certainly possible that UTSA and North Texas end up trading spots.

Prediction: UTSA (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 8:00 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
C-USA vs. Sun Belt #1
2015 Payout: $500,000

Old Dominion looked to have the New Orleans Bowl locked up until Southern Miss pulled off the upset over Louisiana Tech. The Golden Eagles are less than two hours from New Orleans and have appeared in this bowl four times previously, so they will be the likely choice now that they are eligible.

Prediction: Southern Miss (6-6) vs. Appalachian State (9-3)

Boca Raton Bowl

Tuesday, December 20, 6:00 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
C-USA vs. American #7
2015 Payout: $400,000

Western Kentucky may have some better opponents available in other bowls, but they recruit Florida much more heavily than Texas, so they should stick with Boca Raton.

Prediction: Western Kentucky (9-3) vs. UCF (6-6)

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 23, 12:00 p.m.
Thomas Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
C-USA vs. MAC #2-5 or American #6
2015 Payout: $450,000

We received the news today that Old Dominion has agreed to play in the Bahamas Bowl, making their first bowl appearance since moving up to FBS.

Prediction: Old Dominion (9-3) vs. Miami (OH) (6-6)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Friday, December 23, 3:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Big 12 #7 vs. American (Navy, if eligible)
2015 Payout: $675,000

If South Alabama and ULL both win, or if Texas turns down an invite, the Big 12 will be one team shy of filling all of their bowl contracts and the Armed Forces Bowl will likely be the one that has to look elsewhere.

They would probably prefer to provide a stronger opponent to face a ranked Navy team, but North Texas’ proximity and the ticket revenue that comes with it will win out.

Prediction: North Texas (5-7) vs. Navy (9-2, game vs. Army remaining)

Hawai’i Bowl

Saturday, December 24, 7:00 p.m.
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $650,000

Middle Tennessee is still my pick for the Hawaii Bowl as they want as much time as possible to try to get Stockstill healthy. Hawaii is guaranteed the Mountain West spot after becoming eligible with a 6-7 record.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Hawaii (6-7)

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 11:00 a.m.
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
C-USA vs. Big Ten #8-9
2015 Payout: $1.1 million

The Big Ten will likely have four teams in New Year’s Six bowls, leaving them unable to provide a team for the Heart of Dallas. With Mississippi State becoming eligible based on APR, they would be a good matchup for C-USA West winners Louisiana Tech.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs. Mississippi State (5-7)

 

Saturday Roundup: UTSA looking to become bowl eligible, Southern Miss shakes up bowl picture, and more

[Football] Previewing UTSA vs. Charlotte, as bowl eligibility is on the line. (goUTSA) (Underdog Dynasty)

[Football] UTSA good in the red zone, bad at avoiding negative plays, and Charlotte can’t defend the pass. (mySA)

[Football] Conference USA bowl payouts may not work the way you think they do, and why it makes sense for WKU to choose Boca. (RowdyReport)

[Basketball] UTSA limits Texas State to 30% shooting and defeats the Bobcats 63-48. (goUTSA)

[C-USA] Southern Miss shakes up the C-USA bowl picture with 39-24 upset win over C-USA West champs Louisiana Tech. (Forgotten5)

[C-USA] North Texas looks to become bowl eligible at UTEP, which could leave C-USA one bowl tie-in short of its number of bowl-eligible team. (Underdog Dynasty)

 

Conference USA bowl selection and payout rules

There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation lately regarding C-USA’s handling of bowl selections and the distribution of payouts from said bowls, so we’re here to hopefully provide some clarity.

First, the C-USA Membership Handbook gives a clear explanation on how the conference handles revenue sharing of bowl payouts.

Bowl participants will retain the first $100,000 of revenue for bowl game tickets sold by the participating institutions. Participating institutions will split 50-50 with the Conference any ticket revenue over $100,000 for bowl game tickets sold by the participating institutions. After expenses, any surplus tickets and bowl revenues will be shared as follows: 10% to bowl participants (equal shares) and 90% to all members (equal shares) including bowl participants. Distributions are made on or after, June 15th but no later than June 30th of each year.

The conference retains all bowl payouts and distributes them evenly amongst all schools, with a small bonus for the participating teams, after paying for travel expenses and per diems for each participating school. Historically, this has been very little money, if any, due to the high travel costs associated with some of C-USA’s bowl games.

The league’s bowl participants are also allowed to keep the first $100,000 of ticket revenue and half of all revenue above $100,000, enticing schools to choose bowls close to home that are easier for fans to attend.

This helps explain why a team like Western Kentucky would choose Boca Raton over Heart of Dallas, since they would likely receive a similar amount of revenue either way, and they can travel to a state that they recruit more heavily.

The conference fills bowls in such a way that will maximize revenues and benefit all parties involved. Only the conference champion is allowed to choose their own bowl game, and even that is not technically guaranteed.

The conference has an additional rule regarding the placement of 6-6 teams guaranteeing that all teams with seven or more wins are placed first, eliminating the possibility of a 7-5 or better team being left at home while a 6-6 team goes bowling.

All teams with a winning record (i.e., seven countable wins) shall be placed into conference bowls prior to any other bowl
eligible teams without a winning record (i.e., six countable wins). Countable wins may include one victory against a FCS
opponent provided the opponent has averaged 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of grants-in-aid per year in
football during a rolling two-year period.

This is in addition to NCAA rules that state all teams with six or more wins have to be selected before any 6-7 teams, and then the top 5-7 teams based on APR (Academic Progress Rate) will fill any remaining slots.

This could pave the way for North Texas to qualify for a bowl game this season even if they lose to UTEP and fall to 5-7, as they have a 982 APR, ranking fourth among all FBS teams that could currently finish 5-7.

UTSA ranks much lower in APR and will have to defeat Charlotte this Saturday to qualify for their first-ever bowl game.