clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MAC Football Bowl Projections, Final Edition: It's Bowl Selection Sunday!

New, 2 comments

Today's the day we learn the entire 40-bowl lineup of 2015-16 college football postseason games. Where will the seven bowl-eligible MAC teams end up playing?

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Fourteen weeks and 829 games. It hardly seems possible that the 2015 college football regular season is already over, but except for next Saturday's Army-Navy game, it is. We're left with just the 41 post-season games and the 80 teams slated to fill them.

There are now 77 bowl-eligible teams based on traditional standards of a 6-6 or better record, after Kansas State and Georgia State joined the party yesterday. This means that three 5-7 teams will get to play in the post-season. Last Monday, the NCAA announced that it would use APR figures from the 2013-14 season to determine those three teams. After Missouri chose to not participate, we finally have those teams -- Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State.

Thus, here are the number of eligible teams from each conference: American (8), ACC (9), Big Ten (10), Big Twelve (7), Conference USA (5), Independents (2), MAC (7), Mountain West (8), Pac Twelve (10), SEC (10), Sun Belt (4).

The 2915 MAC bowl eligible teams are as follows: Toledo (9-2), Bowling Green (10-3), Ohio (8-4), Northern Illinois (8-5), Akron (7-5), Western Michigan (7-5) and Central Michigan (7-5)

The only thing we know for sure at this hour is the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, which will pit the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders against the MAC's Western Michigan Broncos. On Saturday afternoon, John Wagner of the Toledo Blade reported that Bowling Green would be headed to the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile. There have also been reports of the Sun Belt sending Appalachian State to the Camellia Bowl and Georgia Southern to the GoDaddy Bowl to face MAC teams. However, none of those three reports are official or confirmed.

So, let's project...

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 19, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): Montgomery, Ala. (2014)
MAC record: 1-0
Last MAC win: 2014
Recent history: (2014) Bowling Green 33, South Alabama 28

Appalachian State had a very strong 10-win season but fell just shy of the Sun Belt crown, while Ohio closed the season strong and finished 8-4. This potential match would present a clash of styles and could be just as exciting as last year's game was.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Ohio Bobcats vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 22, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): Boise, Idaho (1997)
MAC record: 2-4
Last MAC win: 2011
Recent history: (2012) Utah State 41, Toledo 15; (2013) San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24; (2014) Air Force 38, Western Michigan 24

We've changed around our predictions somewhat for the Mountain West, based on San Diego State winning the league title and BYU accepting the Las Vegas Bowl bid rather than going to Hawaii. Both teams finished the regular season with five wins in six games to earn bowl spots with 7-5 records. It would be nice to see a wild shootout on the blue turf, and All-MAC quarterback Cooper Rush could help provide it.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Colorado State Rams

Boca Raton Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 22, 7:00 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): Boca Raton, Fla. (2014)
MAC record: 0-1
Last MAC win: Never
Recent history: (2014) Marshall 52, Northern Illinois 23

We're sticking with this prediction to the bitter end. Toledo finished the regular season with the MAC's best overall record at 9-2, but two home losses in November doomed their league title hopes. Memphis beat Bowling Green and Ole Miss early in the season but lost key games in November, too. Both teams are also replacing head coaches that went elsewhere after the regular season ended.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Toledo Rockets vs. Memphis Tigers

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 23, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): San Diego, Calif. (2005)
MAC record: 0-2 (both NIU)
Last MAC win: Never
Recent history: (2012) Brigham Young 23, San Diego State 6; (2013) Utah State 21, Northern Illinois 14; (2014) Navy 17, San Diego State 16

This would be a battle between two of the most successful FBS programs over the last decade, but neither of them performed to their normal level. NIU lost 5 games and had to back into their sixth straight division title before getting waxed in the MAC championship game. Boise State went 8-4 in the regular season, lost multiple games at home, and didn't even reach their conference title game. Still, this would be a game between established names. Hard for any bowl to pass it up.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Boise State Broncos

GoDaddy Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 23, 8:00 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): Mobile, Ala. (1999)
MAC record: 9-5
Last MAC win: 2014
Recent history: (2013) Arkansas State 17, Kent State 13; (2014) Arkansas State 23, Ball State 20; (2015) Toledo 63, Arkansas State 44

Even though Bowling Green is now in the process of replacing Dino Babers, they should still run their #FalconFast offense in the bowl game. Pitting that against the triple option of Georgia Southern should be an incredibly fun battle of offensive systems. The Eagles crushed Western Michigan early in the season, so BGSU would need to redeem the MAC here. It will be tough, though; even with three weeks to prepare, the triple option can be a nightmare to play against.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Bowling Green Falcons vs. Georgia Southern Eagles

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 24, 12:00 pm, ESPN
Game location (debut): Nassau, Bahamas (2014)
MAC record: 0-1
Last MAC win: Never
Recent history: (2014) Western Kentucky 49, Central Michigan 48

This is the one definitive answer that we have about the bowl season so far. WMU lost two in a row to BGSU and NIU in November but steadied the ship by winning their last game at Toledo. MTSU played third fiddle to Marshall and Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Eastern Division, but they were 6-2 in the conference and 7-5 overall. They actually beat Marshall and lost by a combined six points to Vanderbilt and Illinois. It's hard to believe this could match last year's Bahamas Bowl, but it should be a good game nonetheless.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Finally, we get to the final MAC team, Akron. It appears that there will be five possible landing spots for them: New Mexico Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl, Independence Bowl, Arizona Bowl and Quick Lane Bowl. Which of those five makes the most sense?

Quick Lane Bowl

Game date, time, TV: Dec. 28, 5:00 pm, ESPN2
Game location (debut): Detroit, Mich. (2014)
MAC record: 0-0
Last MAC win: Never

Why not? This may not happen, of course; Akron may get sent to Arizona or some other far-off location. However, the MAC is usually very good about placing all of its teams in the most beneficial spots possible, and how can any of us resist the folks up in Detroit having to welcome a MAC team just two years after robbing us of our own bowl game at Ford Field?

It's just too delicious.

Hustle Belt Prediction: Akron Zips vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

------------------------

Have predictions of your own? Let us know in the comment section and see which of us is closest to being correct!