Way Too Early Bowl Projection Opponents

There are many admonishments for thinking about things before it is time to think about things. That is to say that North Texas is maybe in to a bowl if you think 1. there won’t be enough bowl eligible teams to fill the spots and 2. they will grant NT a spot based on the APR rating. It is likely, but six wins makes it that much better. I do not want to look ahead before it is all official, but since we all are wondering about what could happen I figured I would take a look at it.

Bowl tie-ins are flexible and so while a team might be contracted to have the Big Ten as the matchup, if there are no teams, or other preferred bowls take better options, we might get another MWC team.

Here are the CUSA Bowl partners for CUSA, from the conference site:

Bowl Date Stadium Network Matchup
Boca Raton Bowl Dec 20 FAU Stadium , Boca Raton ESPN CUSA v Mid American
Hawai’i Bowl Dec 24 Aloha Stadium, Honolulu ESPN CUSA v Mountain West
New Mexico Bowl Dec 17 University Stadium, Albuquerque ESPN CUSA v MW
Bahamas Bowl Dec 23 Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau ESPN CUSA vs American or Mid American
New Orleans Bowl Dec 17 Superdome, NO ESPN CUSA vs Sun Belt
Heart of Dallas Bowl Dec 27 Cotton Bowl, Dallas ESPN CUSA v Big Ten
Independence Bowl Dec 26 Independence Stadium, Shreveport ESPN 2 CUSA v ACC / SEC if one conference cannot fill

Boca Raton bowl takes teams from the MAC, CUSA, and American. Take this all with a grain of salt as the website lists “MAC Champ Marshall beating CUSA Champ NIU” in 2014. CUSA/American rotate with CUSA coming up this year.

Bowl Eligible CUSA Teams:

  1. WKU 8-3
  2. ODU 8-3
  3. La Tech 8-3
  4. MTSU 7-4

One Win Away CUSA Teams:

  1. UNT 5-6
  2. Southern Miss 5-6
  3. UTSA 5-6

The CUSA champ picks their destination, and right now that looks like WKU. It is difficult to determine where everyone will go. La Tech would almost certainly choose the HOD Bowl if they win the championship. WKU might also decide Dallas would be ideal.

Trying to figure out where everyone is going is beyond the scope of this post. We can get an idea of who the matchup will be if NT is able to beat UTEP.

There is always the chance that a 5-7 North Texas is invited to fill in if there are not enough slots.

Boca Raton: Western Michigan (assuming something bad happens and they do not win out and go to the Cotton Bowl or something), Toledo, Ohio, CMU, Eastern Michigan. Akron, Miami of Ohio are also on 5 wins right now.

Hawai’i Bowl and or the New Mexico Bowl — the MWC has bowl tie-ins to both: Boise State, Wyoming, New Mexico, Air Force, San Diego St, and if Colorado State beats San Diego State they’ll get to six wins also. Boise is probably going to a bigger bowl, and San Diego State played in Hawai’i last year. What that means? I do not know.

Bahamas Bowl: Navy, Houston, Tulsa, Memphis, Temple, USF, UCF are all eligible, and SMU is on the edge. If they can beat Navy they will become bowl eligible with 6 wins. Interestingly, while CUSA lists the Bahamas Bowl as a 2016 tie-in, the American lists it as a surety that an American team will face a MAC team.

New Orleans Bowl: Arky St, Appalachian State, Troy, Idaho are eligible. This will be the most interesting, as NT could return to the Bowl they went to four straight times in the early 2000s. NT would be playing the league’s best teams, which makes this a little scary.

Heart of Dallas: Speaking of scary, NT could take on a Big Ten team. Depending on what happens with the Orange Bowl, CFP, Music city Bowl, and the ACC NT could take on really any combination of Big Ten teams. For funsies let us list all the B1G’s bowl eligible teams: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota. Teams on the edge: Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern. The Big Ten has 12 bowl tie-ins and lots of moving parts. It is possible that the Big Ten cannot fulfill the commitment to placing a HOD Bowl entrant this season, in which case some other team will fill in.

Independence Bowl: We will not list the teams here, but there is a chance NT could end up here against an ACC or SEC mid-to-lower tier squad. This would be cool for the novelty. Wake Forest, Pitt, would be intersting. LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss would probably be too one-sided to enjoy.