Conference USA

C-USA Bowl Projections: Which team can land a Power 5 matchup?

It’s Week 10 in the college football season and now is a good time to start taking a closer look at the bowl picture for Conference USA.

C-USA features six primary bowl tie-ins, and it seems likely that the conference will place six teams in the postseason. The six primary bowl tie-ins are the Bahamas Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, Gasparilla Bowl, the First Responder Bowl and either the Hawaii Bowl or the Frisco Bowl.

The Independence Bowl and Boca Raton Bowl could also come into play once bids are handed out in December as secondary tie-ins.

With six C-USA teams featuring five wins or more at this point, it’s clear who has the edge on earning bids.

Here’s a look at the Week 10 projections for Conference USA:

Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 20) — Nassau

FAU (5-3) vs. Toledo (5-3)

The home loss to Marshall puts FAU in a tough position in its pursuit of a C-USA East title. The Owls have a difficult trip to WKU this weekend before taking on FIU and UTSA in must-win games to keep pace for a bowl bid.

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21) — Albuquerque

WKU (5-3) vs. San Diego State (7-1)

The Hilltoppers have had a weird, unexpected run up to this point. However, there are no guaranteed wins the rest of the way with trips to Arkansas and Southern Miss bookended by home games against FAU and Middle Tennessee.

New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 21) — New Orleans

Southern Miss (5-3) vs. Appalachian State (7-0)

If Louisiana Tech lands in Dallas for the First Responder Bowl, there’s a good chance USM plays in the New Orleans Bowl for the first time since 2016. The Sun Belt champion is headed to New Orleans and Appalachian State may be 13-0 when it sets foot in the Superdome.

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Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23) — Tampa

Marshall (5-3) vs. Temple (5-3)

If it was up to the Thundering Herd, they’d play in Florida every bowl season.

First Responder Bowl (Dec. 30) — Dallas

La. Tech (7-1) vs. TCU (4-3)

This would offer an attractive match-up for the Bulldogs, who have a great shot at picking up their first C-USA title.

Birmingham Bowl (Jan. 2) — Birmingham, Ala.

UAB (6-1) vs. Cincinnati (6-1)

It’s very unlikely that the SEC fills this spot and it makes some sense to keep the Blazers home for the bowl season.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.