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AAC Bowl Predictions: Week 11

Predicting how the postseason will shake out in the American

Gasparilla Bowl UCF beats Marshall 48-25 Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

As we continue through November, the college football season is working its way towards the postseason. It’s time to start projecting how the bowl season is going to shake out. Obviously, this continues to be a moving target, but that’s half the fun.

As mentioned in our previous predictions, we have a few challenges when it comes to bowl predictions:

1) COVID-19 has more than once thrown a monkey wrench into a number of schools’ seasons. We assume no further games are postponed or canceled as a result of COVID-19.

2) This is the first year of the new bowl contract cycle, which has many of the lower end ESPN owned games as part of a pool, where the matchups can vary within a select group of conferences. This is definitely a new thing in college football. It was common for a third conference to have a backup tie-in to a game, but that’s not what this is. This is multiple primary conferences that will juggle bids.

3) Based on the above, we also assume that no new bowl games will be canceled. The Hawaii Bowl has already been canceled and that the AAC was one of the conferences potentially involved. Also, the Fenway Bowl won’t happen in 2020. Because of that, the Montgomery Bowl exists as a one year stand-in.

4) For 2020, having a winning record is not a prerequisite for being eligible.

Here are our takes regarding the bowl games tied to the American Athletic Conference.

New Years Six/College Football Playoff

Andrew: Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl - Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs

The NY6 spot is still Cincinnati’s to lose. With Florida in control of the SEC East, they will either end up in the CFP or the Orange Bowl. Georgia becomes the next school in the SEC worthy of consideration.

Eric: Chick-Fil-a Peach Bowl- Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs

If Cincinnati wins out, they will be in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. But they need help to make the College Football Playoff.

Other Bowls

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

December 19 - G5 pool (AAC, MAC, C-USA, MWC)

Andrew: Houston Cougars vs. UTSA Roadrunners

Unchanged from last week.

Eric: Houston Cougars vs UTSA Roadrunners

This makes sense. Andrew nailed this 100%

Boca Raton Bowl

December 22 - G5 Pool (AAC, C-USA, MAC)

Andrew: UCF Knights vs. Liberty Flames

Short of a miracle, I don’t see UCF getting away from this bowl game outside of maybe ending up at the Cure Bowl. Liberty is one of the surprise stories of the season and could end up undefeated. As an independent, they don’t have a primary bowl tie-in, but this would be a very intriguing match-up. The Flames do have secondary tie-ins with the Boca Raton, Camelia, Famous Idaho Potato, Frisco, Myrtle Beach, and New Mexico Bowls.

Eric: UCF Knights vs. Central Michigan Chippewas

I think Liberty could be in play as well. I am going with Central Michigan, who is led by former Florida Gators Head Coach Jim McElwain. I have McElwain returning to the Sunshine State and ending up here in Boca.

Montgomery Bowl

December 23 - AAC vs. ACC

Andrew: Tulane Green Wave vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Unchanged from last week.

Eric: Tulane Green Wave vs. Troy Trojans

I think the ACC will not end up here, and a team from Sun Belt will, as teams like Troy or Georgia Southern makes more sense to play in Montgomery. I go with Troy, which is an easy bus ride away, vs. Tulane, which makes tons of sense here.

New Mexico Bowl

December 24 - G5 Pool (AAC, C-USA, MWC)

Andrew: No AAC team

With Tulsa continuing to surprise the world, there is less reason to believe they will be exiled to New Mexico. This looks to end up being a Mountain West vs Conference USA match-up.

Eric: No AAC team.

I think we will end up with the Mountain West vs C-USA here, as the AAC has better options from a location standpoint than New Mexico.

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

December 26 - Pool (AAC, ACC, SEC)

Andrew: No AAC team.

Unchanged from last week.

Eric: No AAC Team.

I agree with Andrew. USF is struggling and UCF will not go back there for a second year in a row.

Cure Bowl

December 26 - G5 Pool (AAC, MAC, Sun Belt)

Andrew: No AAC team.

Unchanged from last week. I do believe Florida Atlantic will end up in Orlando, but there is always a possibility of FAU and UCF switching places. I don’t think that will happen though.

Eric: No AAC team.

I think this is the only other bowl I can see UCF playing in because it’s in their backyard. But I agree with Andrew. I think they end up with a Sun Belt vs. MAC or C-USA. I right now have Florida Atlantic in this bowl game.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

December 26 - Pool (AAC, ACC, Big XII)

Andrew: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Tulsa is going to play closer to home and get a P5 opponent. The fact that it’s Texas Tech gives little solace to the AAC’s runner up.

Eric: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

I wonder now, with Tulsa’s win over SMU, if the Golden Hurricane move up over SMU in bowl pecking order, and perhaps prefer to play at Ft. Worth or Dallas. I will keep them here for now.

Military Bowl presented by Perspecta

December 28 - AAC vs ACC

Andrew: Navy Midshipmen vs Boston College Eagles

Unchanged from last week.

Eric: Navy Midshipmen vs Virginia Tech Hokies

I agree with Andrew. Navy stays in their backyard to play at home against Virginia Tech, which is not far from Annapolis.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

December 31 - Big XII vs G5 Pool

Andrew: SMU Mustangs vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Eric’s original rationale regarding TCU and SMU is very valid and with multiple bowls in the area, can still happen. With the AAC as one of the pooled conferences for this bowl, there is still a good chance they land a team in and SMU makes the most sense. TCU also makes a lot of sense too from both the location and the opponent standpoint.

Eric: TCU Horned Frogs vs SMU Mustangs

TCU and SMU play every season. They were supposed to play this season but COVID scrapped it. I think both sides will try to play at a bowl game and with this bowl game being held at Ft. Worth, it makes too much sense, as we must give out the Iron Skillet to the winner.

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

January 1 - Pool (AAC, ACC, SEC)

Andrew: Memphis Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

I’m sticking to my guns here. To make the matchup even more regional, Mississippi State could replace Arkansas depending on how the season progresses.

Eric: Memphis Tigers vs Mississippi State Bulldogs

I think Memphis is close to a lock for this bowl game. The opponent is interesting. Arkansas may end up being too good for this bowl game, as with Ole Miss. So I think it will be Mike Leach’s Mississippi State Bulldogs.