Now that regular season is over for USF and a bit of bad luck prevented them from reaching the conference title game, it’s officially time to start speculating on where the Bulls will end up this bowl season.
As a refresher, here are all of The American’s bowl tie-ins and the conferences that are paired up with (adjustments obviously will be made depending on other factors). There’s no pecking order for the American, just what makes sense in terms of geography and matchups:
- Cure Bowl: American vs. Sun Belt (Orlando/Citrus Bowl, December 17)
- Miami Beach Bowl: American vs. MAC (Miami/Marlins Stadium, December 19)
- Boca Raton Bowl: American vs. C-USA (Boca Raton/FAU Stadium, December 20)
- Bahamas Bowl: Normally American vs. MAC, but Old Dominion and Eastern Michigan have already been slated for this game. Not that USF stood a chance of slipping to this bowl.
- Armed Forces Bowl: Navy* vs. Big 12 7 (Fort Worth/Amon G. Carter Stadium, December 23) *If Navy gets a New Year’s Six bowl, this could possibly be filled by an American team.
- St. Petersburg Bowl: American vs. ACC 10 (St. Pete/Tropicana Field, December 26)
- Military Bowl: American vs. ACC 7 (Annapolis/Navy Stadium, December 27)
- Birmingham Bowl: American vs. SEC 9 (Birmingham/Legion Field, December 29)
Let’s see where people in the media have USF going as of now:
- As of now, SB Nation’s Jason Kirk has USF heading to Birmingham to take on
Large Adult Nick Saban Son #3Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs. Imagine the angst in Athens if the Dawgs get lit up here.
- USA Today has the Bulls going down I-275 to St. Pete to do battle with Army. The Black Knights have improved significantly this season and despite beating two FCS schools, would get bowl eligible based on APR scores.
- CBS Sports also has USF going to St. Pete, only this time to face Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons started 6-3 to quickly become bowl eligible for the first time in five years, but crashed and burned in November with maulings at the hands of Louisville and Clemson before falling to Boston College last weekend.
- Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel has the Bulls squaring off with South Carolina in Birmingham which means, Cooooaaacchh Booooommmm!!!
- Both ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy have the Bulls heading to B-Ham as well. McMurph has USF playing South Carolina while Schlabach projects Vanderbilt, where I’m sure Derek Mason is still dancing after upsetting Tennessee.
How bout those Dores! Anchor down! Vandy coach Derek Mason wins their rival game to become bowl eligible! Dance away Coach Mason! Great game pic.twitter.com/OJligFqZz7— ANTHONY GERONIMO (@ATXANT10) November 27, 2016
So as of now, all signs point to the Bulls packing their bags for Birmingham to take on an SEC East squad.
While it’s not quite a glamorous, NY6 bowl as one would hope for, but presents an opportunity for a Quinton Flowers led team to flex their top-25 ranking and 10-2 record by dunking on someone from the SEC. (Seriously, the East was trash and will remain trash for the foreseeable future.)
We’ll most likely find out USF’s bowl fate on Sunday after the CFP is announced and every other bowl starts to officially send out invitations.