The Akron Zips (7-6) will take on the Florida Atlantic Owls (10-3) in the 2017 Boca Raton Bowl. The game will occur on December 19 in Boca Raton, Florida at FAU Stadium.
FAU Stadium is the home of the Owls, who finished 6-1 in the venue — which seats just under 30,000 — this season. After losing the home opener to Navy, Florida Atlantic won six straight at the stadium and nine consecutive games overall.
The Owls hold the longest winning streak in college football for any team outside of the undefeated UCF Knights. After a 1-3 start, Lane Kiffin rolled through conference play and won the Owls their first-ever Conference USA title on Saturday after defeating North Texas 41-17.
Championship Saturday did not pan out well for the Zips. With the conference on the line in Detroit, Akron trailed Toledo 38-0 and lost the MAC Championship Game 45-28. The Zips finished strong, scoring four of the game's final touchdowns, but still dropped to 7-6 with the loss.
Akron last played in the postseason in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, claiming a 23-21 victory over Utah State. Terry Bowden delivered the program's first bowl victory in history that night, and he aims to deliver a second one in mid-December.
Florida Atlantic is undefeated in bowl games, but the young program has only played in two. It's been nearly a decade since the Owls last earned a bid, defeating Central Michigan 24-21 in the 2008 Motor City Bowl. After three consecutive 3-9 seasons, Kiffin completely revamped the program and propelled it to its first 10-win season, in just his first season at the helm.
Akron did not face a Conference USA team in 2017, but Florida Atlantic lost to a MAC East opponent. In the Owls' most recent loss, Buffalo earned a 34-31 victory causing FAU to fare 0-1 against the MAC. The two participants in this year's bowl game have never played before.
The 2017 Boca Raton Bowl kicks off at 7 pm EST on December 19 and will air on ESPN.