Conference USA

C-USA Bowl Projections: A new team joins the mix, UAB building up a head of steam

There is some reshuffling this week in the C-USA Bowl Projections, but I still see UAB headed to the same postseason destination from a week ago.

UAB took a firm grip on the Conference USA West last week thanks to a 29-21 victory over North Texas in Birmingham.

Again, I see the Blazers (6-1, 4-0) preferring to stay close to home during bowl season. The New Orleans Bowl will be a nice reward for a strong season that includes a fluke loss at Coastal Carolina in Week 2.

The New Mexico Bowl will likely include a solid Mountain West squad and North Texas (6-2, 2-2) should jump at the chance to head to Albuquerque if that’s the case.

FAU (3-4, 1-2) drops out of this week’s projections after losing 31-7 at Marshall last week. With a home contest against Louisiana Tech and road games at FIU and North Texas still on the schedule, it will be difficult for the inconsistent Owls to get bowl eligible.

Southern Miss (3-3, 2-1) makes its first appearance after topping UTSA 27-17 in a game that was far more lopsided than the final score indicates. With freshman running back Trivenskey Mosley emerging as a force in the ground game, I like the young Golden Eagles to show some improvement over the final five games. USM needs three more wins and I like the Golden Eagles to win at Charlotte this Saturday and at UTEP in the regular season finale. The Nov. 3 game against Marshall (5-2, 3-1) in Hattiesburg will be crucial to USM’s bowl chances.

One thing worth noting is that third-year USM head coach Jay Hopson has yet to lose to Louisiana Tech or Marshall and both teams have to come to Hattiesburg.

New Mexico Bowl — Boise State vs. North Texas — 1 p.m., Dec. 15

This should make for a fun game and give UNT quarterback Mason Fine the opportunity to show the country what he’s capable of.

New Orleans Bowl — Appalachian State vs. UAB — 8 p.m., Dec. 15

This match-up makes sense for both teams.

Boca Raton Bowl — Georgia Southern vs. FIU — 6 p.m., Dec. 18

FIU is in good shape to win the East with Marshall and FAU both coming to Miami.

Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa) — South Florida vs. Marshall — 8 p.m., Dec. 20

USF is undefeated at 7-0, but the Bulls have a difficult slate to close out the season that includes Houston, Cincinnati, Temple and No. 10 UCF.

Bahamas Bowl — Western Michigan vs. Southern Miss — 11:30 a.m., Dec. 21

WMU (6-2) has won six consecutive games while USM needs to pick up its play down the stretch to hit the six-win mark.

Hawaii Bowl — Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee — 9:30 p.m., Dec. 22

MTSU is 4-3 and 3-1, but quarterback Brent Stockstill is a little hobbled at the moment. The Blue Raiders face a fairly soft three-game stretch of Old Dominion, WKU and UTEP, but I’m betting they lose at least one of those games before closing out with No. 12 Kentucky and UAB.

First Responders Bowl Bowl (Dallas) — Maryland vs. Louisiana Tech — 12:30 p.m., Dec. 26

Tech sits at 5-2 and 3-1 and should at least hit the eight-win mark.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee.