Updated C-USA bowl projections heading into final weekend of regular season

[Check out our updated projections here: Updated C-USA bowl projections heading into championship weekend]

Not much has changed since our projections last week, with the exception of reports out of Norfolk that provided some clarity on where the top three teams in the conference may be headed.

The league currently has just four bowl-eligible teams, with three more on the bubble heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

Bowl-eligible: Louisiana Tech (8-3), Western Kentucky (8-3), Old Dominion (8-3), Middle Tennessee (7-4)

On the bubble: UTSA (5-6), Southern Miss (5-6), North Texas (5-6)

Eliminated: Charlotte (4-7), FIU (4-7), FAU (3-8), Marshall (3-8), UTEP (3-8), Rice (3-8)

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

As long as UTSA can take care of Charlotte in their home finale this weekend, the Roadrunners seem to be a shoo-in to face New Mexico in their home stadium to open the bowl season for Conference USA.

Prediction: UTSA vs. New Mexico

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

A recent report from The Virginian-Pilot has the New Orleans Bowl as the likely destination for Old Dominion in the Monarch’s first ever bowl appearance.

With Arkansas State’s dominant performance over #25 Troy on Thursday, the likely winners of the Sun Belt should be heading to the Big Easy as well.

Prediction: Old Dominion vs. Arkansas State

Boca Raton Bowl

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

One of the dominoes that would have to fall to send ODU to New Orleans is that Western Kentucky would head to the Boca Raton Bowl regardless of who wins the Conference Championship in two weeks. This follows the recent trend of C-USA East winners choosing to go to south Florida, and it makes sense with the number of current WKU players who came from the Sunshine State.

With UCF unlikely to be placed in any of the American’s top five bowl games, they’re a good bet to face the Hilltoppers in Boca.

Prediction: Western Kentucky vs. UCF

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

I’m still not sure which conferences are supposed to send a team to the Bahamas Bowl this year, but it may not matter if either C-USA or the American can’t qualify enough teams.

It looks like the American will be one team shy of filling all eight of their bowl games, so we’ll give the nod to North Texas and Central Michigan here.

Prediction: North Texas vs. Central Michigan

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’s changed here since our prediction last week, with two schools making their first appearance in the Hawaii Bowl.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee vs. Wyoming

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

It’s looking more and more like the Big Ten won’t have enough teams to send one to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, so the conference will likely face another Group of Five opponent to close out the bowl season.

With Western Kentucky’s apparent preference for south Florida, it sounds like Louisiana Tech has this one locked up.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (OH)

Camping World Independence Bowl

Monday, December 26, 5:00 p.m.
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
SEC #10 vs. ACC #8-9
2015 Payout: $1.2 million

C-USA has a secondary agreement in place with the Independence Bowl in case either the ACC or SEC cannot fulfill its obligation.

The SEC should be able to provide a team as long as Ole Miss or Vanderbilt can win their rivalry games this weekend, while the ACC could be in question if the Big Ten sends a team to the Orange Bowl and gives the ACC an additional slot in the Citrus Bowl.

If either conference does fall short, then Louisiana Tech is poised to take this slot, which could push either North Texas or UTSA into the Heart of Dallas.

Prediction: ACC and SEC fill their slots. C-USA misses out.

Published by

Darrell Williams

Darrell started writing about UTSA football before it was even a thing, then he took a few years off, and now he’s back.