Where will UTSA bowl? – 2017 edition

UTSA is finally bowl eligible after a 9-7 win over Marshall on Saturday thanks to the leg of soon-to-be Freshman All-American kicker Jared Sackett.

With an unprecedented number of bowl eligible teams coming out of Conference USA this year (9 teams guaranteed, 10 if Louisiana Tech beats UTSA this weekend), it makes the bowl picture quite a bit murkier than in previous years.

Here are all the bowls that may end up taking C-USA teams this year, and what I believe UTSA’s chances are of ending up in any of them.

Conference USA Primary Tie-ins

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 12:00 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
C-USA vs. Sun Belt #1

The first FBS bowl game of the 2017 season takes place in New Orleans, and will likely take a C-USA West team. They could go with in-state Louisiana Tech (if they are eligible), or #TheReturn of UAB, or give Coach Wilson a chance to bring his Roadrunners to his hometown.

UTSA’s chances: 15%

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 3:30 p.m.
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-5

Although New Mexico will typically go to a C-USA West team, the conference will generally try to avoid back-to-back bowls for the same team, so I doubt we’ll be heading to Albuquerque for a second straight year.

UTSA’s chances: 5%

BOCA RATON BOWL

Tuesday, December 19, 6:00 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
C-USA vs. American

There’s been some debate around C-USA about whether FAU would want to play in their home stadium, or if the bowl would even want them, forgoing hotel revenue for some of their biggest sponsors in favor of ticket revenue from the home fans. Either way, it should be one of the C-USA East schools in Boca this year.

It will be interesting to see if the American gives up their spot for the Boca Raton Bowl, considering they have seven bowl tie-ins, with only six bowl-eligible teams (one of which will be heading to a New Years Six bowl). Boca provides the lowest payout of all their bowls, other than perhaps Frisco which is in its first year, so I could easily see them giving it up this year.

UTSA’s chances: 1%

BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL

Thursday, December 21, 7:00 p.m.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
C-USA vs. American

Everything that was said about the Boca Raton Bowl above applies here as well. An in-state matchup between FAU and USF has been predicted by multiple outlets for this one. And again, I don’t see them sending a C-USA West team to a Florida bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 1%

BAHAMAS BOWL

Friday, December 22, 11:30 a.m.
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
C-USA vs. MAC

The only bowl played outside of the country, the Bahamas Bowl will typically pick up a team that isn’t a good fit geographically for any of the other available bowls.

With a handful of Texas bowl games that will likely be looking for at-large teams (see next section below), I don’t see UTSA ending up in the Bahamas Bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 3%

LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL

Saturday, December 23, 2:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
C-USA vs. Army

Army is the only team in the nation that has already locked up their bowl game, heading to the Armed Forces Bowl against a C-USA foe.

North Texas has already played Army three times in the past two seasons, including last year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, so yet another rematch seems unlikely. UTSA would then be the next logical choice, as the only other Texas team available.

UTSA’s chances: 50%

 

Potential At-Large Games

AUTONATION CURE BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 1:30 p.m.
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
American vs. Sun Belt #4

With the American short on bowl eligible teams, some outlets have them giving up their spot in the Cure Bowl, which could potentially be picked up by a C-USA team.

However, based on recent payout data, there are two or three bowls that I would think the American would give up before the Cure Bowl. Even if we do end up seeing a C-USA team there, it will likely be from the East.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

FRISCO BOWL

Wednesday, December 20, 7:00 p.m.
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
American vs. At-large

The inaugural Frisco Bowl wasn’t able to secure a conference tie-in opposite the American, so it will go to an at-large (likely G5) team. Add to that the fact that the American may give up their spot, and we could see two at-large teams here.

It will be slim pickings for the Frisco Bowl, and UTSA would have to be near the top of the list if the Roadrunners haven’t already been selected by another bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 15%

BIRMINGHAM BOWL

Saturday, December 23, 11:00 a.m.
Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
SEC #9 vs. American

With potentially three teams playing in New Years Six bowls, the SEC will be a few teams short this year, and the Birmingham Bowl is second on the chopping block (behind the Independence Bowl).

The Birmingham Bowl may try to snag one of the extra Pac-12 teams, or they may want the feel-good story of the hometown UAB Blazers. I don’t see them going with any other C-USA teams here, but if UAB gets selected elsewhere then they may not have another choice.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

ZAXBY’S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Tuesday, December 26, 12:30 p.m.
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Big Ten vs. Big 12 #7

Conference USA gave the Heart of Dallas Bowl to the Big Ten in exchange for the Armed Forces Bowl this year (you think ESPN wants any P5 v G5 matchups?), but it’s shaping up that neither the Big Ten nor Big 12 will be able to provide teams for this game, so C-USA will likely end up here anyway.

North Texas seems like the obvious choice here, being the local team and C-USA West winner, but if there’s a better matchup elsewhere (the Independence Bowl, perhaps), then we could see them going with UTSA.

UTSA’s chances: 5%

QUICK LANE BOWL

Tuesday, December 26, 4:15 p.m.
Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Big Ten vs. ACC #9

Another game that likely won’t be filled by either of its Power Five conferences, the Quick Lane Bowl should grab one of the extra MAC teams, and may go with a Marshall or Western Kentucky if they’re available, but probably not a C-USA West team.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

WALK-ON’S INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Wednesday, December 27, 12:30 p.m.
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
ACC #8 vs. SEC #10

Conference USA has a secondary agreement with the Independence Bowl, which is nearly guaranteed to be needed to replace the SEC, and perhaps the ACC as well.

The Independence Bowl would likely go with Louisiana Tech if they are available, or North Texas if the Mean Green like the matchup better than any of C-USA’s primary bowls. Southern Miss and UAB could also be in the conversation, so I doubt UTSA gets the invite to Shreveport.

UTSA’s chances: 3%

 

UTSA’s potential bowl game chances

50% – Armed Forces Bowl
15% – New Orleans Bowl
15% – Frisco Bowl
5% – New Mexico Bowl
5% – Heart of Dallas Bowl
3% – Bahamas Bowl
3% – Independence Bowl
1% – Boca Raton Bowl
1% – Gasparilla Bowl
<1% – Cure Bowl
<1% – Birmingham Bowl
<1% – Quick Lane Bowl
<1% – not invited to a bowl

 

*Don’t forget to pre-order your bowl tickets now to show these bowls how well we will travel and help our chances of getting selected.

 

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.

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