Bowl speculation is a cottage industry. It drives page-views, it drives “engagement” and invites tons of speculation. North Texas is bowl-eligible after beating UTSA 45-23 on Saturday. Last year NT went to the Myrtle Beach Bowl and it did not turn out so well. Having dispatched a ranked team, the feeling I get from the fans is that any old opponent is fine, as long as the bowl is close. No one wants to travel very far, it seems. That is very understandable considering the pandemic, budget, and well, life.
The hope then, is the Frisco Bowl. The fun part is that it seems everyone that is in the speculation business is guesstimating that NT is going there. The most plugged-in is probably Brett McMurphy, and he has NT vs Tulsa. College Football News (wut) has NT vs Utah State (a rematch of a couple of seasons ago!), also in Frisco. CBS Sports has NT vs Kent State in Frisco. Athlon has NT vs Nevada in Frisco.
Strangely, Sports Illustrated has NT vs Army (another rematch!) in Boca Raton. Seems a stretch.
There is a very real possibility that North Texas could be on the outside looking in during bowl season. There are 83 teams with 6 wins, and 82 bowl spots. This is one of the reasons we were pointing out the value of going to the UTSA game, as it might be the last time we see NT play football. NT has travelled well to the Heart of Dallas Bowls both times in recent years, and Frisco would be an easy commute for anyone in green. Television is the number one factor, but making a little ticket and concession money (as well as having some nice full stands for the cameras) is also a consideration.
We will know more after championship week. UTSA and WKU will play on Friday (CBSSN) and while the winner does not “pick” their destination, the league will work with ESPN to find the bowl that makes the most sense for all involved.
One thing to consider is the petty-factor. Practically everyone is leaving the league so if it came down to commissioner Judy McLeod having to politick for NT, I don’t know that she does it as hard. I am not casting aspersions but it makes some sense doesn’t it?