In a move that could prove key for determining the fates of some of the bowl-eligible teams in the Mid-American Conference, the organizers of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl announced today that a MAC team will be a primary bid for the 2015 season, a change from a previous deal where the MAC would be a secondary bid.
The change comes about due to the fact that the Army West Point Black Knights have fallen out of bowl eligibility. Also precipitating this change was Navy's move from an FBS independent to the American Athletic Conference. Up until 2015, Navy also had an independent tie-in to the Poinsettia Bowl.
In a statement released earlier today, Mid-American Conference Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher stated "the Mid-American Conference is honored to be a part of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and provide yet another great destination for our students, fans and alumni. We are excited to have the opportunity to come to San Diego with an opportunity to play a competitor from the Mountain West Conference."
Under a deal crafted in 2013 between the bowl organizers and the MAC, the MAC would be "primary bowl partners" in 2017 and 2019, while being "secondary bowl partners" in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. The Mountain West Conference is the other "primary bowl partner" for the Poinsettia Bowl and is unaffected by today's change.
This will be the sixth bowl tie-in for the MAC this season. The other five (in order of date) are the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Dec. 19th), the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (December 22nd), the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 22nd), the GoDaddy.com Bowl (Dec. 23rd), and the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 24th).
There are five teams that are currently bowl eligible in the MAC, including Northern Illinois, Toledo, Bowling Green, Ohio, and Western Michigan. On the outside looking in are Central Michigan, Buffalo, and Akron.
The San Diego County Poinsettia Bowl will be played on December 23rd at 4:30 P.M. Eastern time at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. It will be aired on ESPN.