At the moment, it appears as if Conference USA can fulfill all of its bowl tie-ins. It will be up to Middle Tennessee and FIU to fill out the seven-game slate.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Rice vs. Colorado State – 1 p.m., Dec. 19 (ESPN)
Rice (4-3, 2-1) is not a very good team at the moment but games against UTEP and Charlotte should assure the Owls bowl eligibility. The Mountain West is a jumbled mess this season so you could pick one of four teams to land here.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Southern Miss vs. Arkansas State – 8 p.m., Dec. 19 (ESPN)
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USM (5-3, 3-1) could have the option of going to Dallas if it beats Rice and Louisiana Tech, but I'm not so sure that's an attractive option for USM fans considering the Heart of Dallas Bowl will take place the day after Christmas. UL-Lafayette has been in this game the last four years, but it sits at 2-4 and will likely struggle to reach bowl eligibility. USM-Arkansas State would have some interesting storylines, including ASU coach Blake Anderson going up against the program that overlooked him twice for the top job.
Miami Beach Bowl – Western Kentucky vs. Temple – 1:30 p.m., Dec. 21 (ESPN)
WKU (6-2, 4-0) is dealing with injuries to key players and isn't quite the dominant team it has shown at times this season. I still see the Hilltopers winning C-USA and choosing the trip to Miami.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – FIU vs. Western Michigan – 11 a.m., Dec. 24 (ESPN)
FIU (4-4, 2-2) has a great shot to reach bowl eligibility with its next two games against FAU and Charlotte. If it loses either game, the Panthers are likely out of contention with Marshall and WKU the last two opponents of the season.
St. Petersburg Bowl - Marshall vs. Houston - 10 a.m., Dec. 26th (ESPN)
Marshall (7-1, 4-0) appears more of a threat in the East with each week. Houston is 7-0 with four of its remaining five games at home.
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl - Louisiana Tech vs. Tulsa - 1:20 p.m., Dec. 26 (ESPN)
I had Texas as the Big 12 team in this game the last weeks, but it again appears unlikely that the conference will place a team in this bowl game. The AAC has six bowl tie-ins, but could have eight bowl-eligible teams. Tulsa seems a good fit here.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl - Air Force vs. Middle Tennessee - Dec. 29
Middle Tennessee (3-5, 2-2) will probably take its fifth loss in the last six games against Marshall on Saturday, but the Blue Raiders have a good shot at winning their final three games - at FAU, North Texas and at UTSA.