With six weeks remaining in the regular season, I see eight bowl-eligible Conference USA teams in the hunt for seven tie-ins.
FAU (3-3) and Southern Miss (2-3) are the teams that will likely be fighting in the final weeks to get to the six-win mark while UAB (5-1), Louisiana Tech (4-2), Middle Tennessee (4-2), Marshall (4-2) and FIU (4-2) should be bowl eligible headed into the final week of the season. North Texas (6-1) has already reached bowl eligibility.
With plenty of football left to play, here are the first C-USA Bowl Projections for the 2018 campaign:
New Mexico Bowl — Nevada vs. FAU — 1 p.m., Dec. 15
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We’ll see how things shake out, but there’s a good chance Southern Miss and FAU will battle for the final bowl bid out of C-USA. At the moment, give FAU the edge with three wins already in the bank.
New Orleans Bowl — Appalachian State vs. UAB — 8 p.m., Dec. 15
UAB has only played in two bowl games in its history and they’ve been in Hawaii in 2004 and the Bahamas last year. Blazer fans finally have a chance to make a reasonable drive to watch their team play in the postseason.
Boca Raton Bowl — Georgia Southern vs. FIU — 6 p.m., Dec. 18
This wouldn’t be a bad trip for either fan base. FIU is 2-0 in C-USA play and has a decent shot at taking the East Division.
Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa) — Cincinnati vs. North Texas — 8 p.m., Dec. 20
The Mean Green may have a shot to stay close to home and play in the First Responders Bowl in Dallas, but Louisiana Tech should have first dibs on that game. This would be a healthy trip for UNT fans, but Cincinnati would offer a solid match-up.
Bahamas Bowl — Western Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee — 11:30 a.m., Dec. 21
This would be a rematch of the 2015 Bahamas Bowl, which WMU won 45-31.
Hawaii Bowl — Hawaii vs. Marshall — 9:30 p.m., Dec. 22
The Thundering Herd will likely have a hard time getting past the six-win mark, likely narrowing down their options.
First Responders Bowl Bowl (Dallas) — Purdue vs. Louisiana Tech — 12:30 p.m., Dec. 26
Louisiana Tech draws well in the DFW area and Purdue usually travels well for bowl games.