Get your suitcases ready folks, because it looks like the MAC is going international. ESPN's Brett McMurphy is reporting that the oft-rumored Bahamas Bowl is happening, and that it will be the Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.
C-USA will play in new bowl games in Bahamas & Boca Raton, sources told @ESPN. That's at least 38 bowls in 2014— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 20, 2013
Of course nothing is confirmed, but McMurphy's sources have also told him that the MAC will indeed be the other half to the equation:
C-USA is expected to play the MAC in the Bahamas Bowl...
The Bahamas Bowl will take place in Nassau, Bahamas starting in 2014. Apparently the game will be held in a 15,000 seat soccer stadium, Thomas Robinson Stadium, which can expand to hold up to 30,000.
It's the first bowl game to take place outside of the United States since the International Bowl, which was held in Toronto, ceased to exist after 2010. One has to think the Bahamas in the middle of winter is a much better location than Toronto. This would be a huge deal for the MAC, just a day after the conference agreed to terms to the newly created Camellia Bowl, which some fans were displeased about because of its location in Montgomery, Ala.
The MAC getting a deal with the Bahamas Bowl would make sense, as MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher confirmed a fourth primary bowl tie-in would be coming soon in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Martin Rickman on Monday:
Correct. We’ll go to at least four primaries, and we may do a fifth.
But, might Boca Raton be that fifth one?
McMurphy is reporting that the Boca Raton Bowl would be owned and operated by ESPN, just like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and the Camellia Bowl, which are both primary bowls for the MAC through 2019. The MAC and ESPN have a very friendly relationship, and McMurphy's sources tell him the MAC is a possibility as other tie-in the South Florida begin in 2014.
That game would take place at Florida Atlantic's controversial new stadium, a beautiful 30,000 seater. This would also be a huge grab for the MAC, if they can beat out the American Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference to get the other primary tie-in spot.
The MAC and Conference USA also seem like a great fit together.
Two possible bowl deals in beautiful, sunny regions like South Florida and the Bahamas, against the C-USA: Is that enough to make MAC fans happy?