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AAC Bowl Predictions: Week 12

Predicting how the postseason will shake out in the American

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

As we near Thanksgiving, 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 match-ups 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

Unchanged from last week. The NY6 spot is still Cincinnati’s to lose.

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. Interesting to see where Cincinnati is ranked in the first College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. If they are ranked 6th or better, I think they have a shot to make the playoff with some help. If they are lower than 6th, no chance.

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. Kent State Golden Flashes

This one is a bit biased. My mother went to Kent State. I’d love to see the two meet on the field again. I see the Cure as UCF’s only other possible destination. I still have FAU in Orlando. With Liberty losing, I think they will stay more local in Myrtle Beach.

Eric: UCF Knights vs. Ohio Bobcats

I think Liberty could be in play as well. I am going with Frank Solich’s Ohio Bobcats to represent the MAC.

Montgomery Bowl

December 23 - AAC vs. ACC

Andrew: Tulane Green Wave vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Unchanged from last week.

Eric: Tulane Green Wave vs. Georgia Southern

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 Georgia Southern, 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

Unchanged from last week. 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 the 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 Pittsburgh Panthers

At this rate, Boston College is moving up the pecking order and will probably end up in the Pinstripe. Pitt becomes the next school on the totem pole and it’s not a long trip for them.

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. Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss replaces Arkansas. Aside from the Lane Kiffin effect, they’re looking better on the field. Arkansas might still find their way here, but I think Mississippi State is playing themselves out of a bowl.

Eric: Memphis Tigers vs Ole Miss Rebels

I think Memphis is close to a lock for this bowl game. The opponent is interesting. I think it will be either against Arkansas or Ole Miss. I will go with Lane Kiffin’s Rebels.