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Scoping out the final 2019 MAC football bowl projections

We check in with the national prognosticators, and make a few predictions of our own as we await Selection Sunday.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Idaho v Colorado State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

The Mid-American Conference was one of the most competitive in college football this season, and it clearly showed in conference play, as teams went back-and-forth in exchanging wins and losses throughout the year.

As a matter of fact, the MAC broke its record for bowl-eligible teams in 2019, placing eight for bowl consideration. That broke the previous mark of seven, set in both 2012 and 2015.

It’s a hell of an accomplishment to get 75 percent of your conference qualified for the postseason, especially in the modern era where most Power Five conferences have 14 teams. The MAC hosts 12 programs, so the fact eight qualified is an excellent indication of how competititve the MAC has been in recent years.

All that said, there are only five primary bowl tie-ins this season, due to the renewel of bowl tie-in agreements not going into effect until next season. That leaves the 6-6 teams in a bit of a bind, having to hope a bunch of bowl bids open up and that they’ve got the resume to be able to move on.

We’ve gathered together bowl projections from eight different reporters from seven different sites to get a glimpse of what national experts think, and also include a projection of our own to try and guess where the MAC teams get placed.


What we know so far

No MAC team is ranked, and is therefore not in consideration for a Group of Five automatic qualifier spot for a New Year’s SIx game. This leaves bowl-eligible teams to depend on another G5 conference to be unable to fill up bids. Most of our experts believe at least one American Conference slot could open up, with CIncy and Memphis both being favorites to advance.

What we also know is that Buffalo will play the Charlotte 49ers in the Bahamas Bowl, a move which was announced back on Dec. 1. When we discuss the bowl projections below, we will not be listing this game, as it is already known.


The Bowl Projections as of Dec. 3(ish)

We will list the games in alphabetical order, with primary tie-in games going first. Secondary bowls will then be listed in alphabetical order afterwards. Any game where a team is replacing a bid normally occupied by another conference, the replacement team will be indicated with an asterisk.

We’ll also name the reporters in full for the first bowl, then abbreviate the names for the remainders, for clarity. Without further ado: the bowl games!


Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Florida, on Sat., Dec. 21)

  • College Football News: Temple vs. Ohio
  • ESPN’s Mark Schlabach: Temple vs. Ohio
  • ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: FAU vs. Ohio
  • CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm: FIU* vs. Eastern Michigan
  • Sports Illustrated’s Michael Shapiro: Miami vs. Tulane
  • Athlon Sports’ Steve Lassan: Miami vs. SMU
  • Stadium’s Brett McMurphy: Central Michigan vs. SMU
  • Banner Society’s Jason Kirk: Miami vs. FAU
  • Hustle Belt: Central Michigan vs. Tulane

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Alabama, on Sat. Dec. 21)

  • CFN: Kent State vs. Arkansas State
  • Schlabach: Kent State vs. Georgia Southern
  • Bonagura: Western Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
  • CBS Sports: Western Michigan vs. Arkansas State
  • SI: Western Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
  • Athlon: Kent State vs. Georgia Southern
  • Stadium: Ohio vs. Georgia Southern
  • Banner Society: Ohio vs. Georgia Southern
  • Hustle Belt: Kent State vs. Georgia Southern

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Idaho, on Fri., Jan. 3, 2020)

  • CFN: Miami vs. Utah State
  • Schlabach: Miami vs. Utah State
  • Bonagura: Miami vs. Utah State
  • CBS Sports: Miami vs. Nevada
  • SI: Toledo vs. Nevada
  • Athlon: Ohio vs. Nevada
  • Stadium: Miami vs. Nevada
  • Banner Society: Kent State vs. Nevada
  • Hustle Belt: Miami vs. Utah State

LendingTree Mobile Bowl (Mobile, Alabama, on Sat., Jan. 6, 2020)

  • CFN: Central Michigan vs. Appalachian State
  • Schlabach: Central Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette
  • Bonagura: Central Michigan vs. Arkansas State
  • CBS Sports: Central Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette
  • SI: Kent State vs. Arkansas State
  • Athlon: Western Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette
  • Stadium: Western Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette
  • Banner Society: Central Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette
  • Hustle Belt: Western Michigan vs. UL-Lafayette

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas, on Sat., Jan 4, 2020)

  • CBS Sports: Kent State* vs. Air Force

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl (Tuscon, Arizona, on Tues., Dec. 31)

  • Bonagura: Kent State* vs. Liberty*

SERVPRO First Responders Bowl (Dallas, Texas, on Mon., Dec. 30)

  • CFN: Western Michigan* vs. Marshall
  • SI: Central Michigan* vs. UAB
  • Athlon: Toledo* vs. Louisiana Tech
  • Stadium: Eastern Michigan* vs. Marshall
  • Banner Society: Eastern Michigan* vs. Liberty*

Tropical Smoothie Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas, on Fri., Dec. 20)

  • Schlabach: Toledo* vs. Cincinnatti
  • Hustle Belt: Toledo* vs. FIU*

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg, Florida, on Mon., Dec. 23)

  • Bonagura: Toledo* vs. Southern Miss

Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, Michigan, on Thurs., Dec. 26)

  • CFN: Boston College vs. Toledo*
  • Athlon: Boston College vs. Central Michigan*
  • Stadium: Florida State vs. Kent State*
  • Banner Society: Boston College vs. Western Michigan*
  • Hustle Belt: Boston College vs. Ohio*