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Where is UCF Going Bowling?

E-Lo breaks down UCF’s bowl options

NCAA Football: Gasparilla Bowl-Florida at Central Florida Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With the UCF Knights clinching a bowl bid for the eighth consecutive season with a 27-13 win over Houston on Saturday, the question now is where will UCF go bowling?

Here is what the national sites are projecting for the Knights as of November 28th:

Athlon Sports: Gasparilla Bowl vs. USF

College Football News: Gasparilla Bowl vs. USF

CBS Sports: Cure Bowl vs. Arkansas State

Fox Sports: Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. Miami

ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: Independence Bowl vs. California

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach: First Responder Bowl vs. Syracuse

Action Network’s Brett McMurphy: Gasparilla Bowl vs. James Madison

It appears that the options for UCF are to either stay in the state (Cure, Gasparilla) to play a G5 school, or go out of state to play a P5 school.

Keep in mind that bowl games are always fluid with TV networks and bowl game reps all working together to put together the best possible game that checks the most boxes for attendance and TV viewership.

The challenge for UCF is you may be faced with an issue either way because if UCF gets sent out of the state, many fans will likely pass on flying to the game versus driving to a bowl game in Orlando or Tampa.

But who is excited to go see UCF play Arkansas State, JMU, or any G5 school? UCF is now a Power 5 school. There is no benefit from playing a G5 school because if you win, well, you were supposed to win, and if you lose, then it's a horrible end to the season.

A game against Miami regardless of location would be the best-case scenario for UCF. I am just not sure how realistic that is. A couple of weeks ago I heard Cure Bowl, which will be played at the Bounce House, could be the landing spot. But playing Liberty or a Sun Belt team is not going to sell out the bowl game.

War on I-4 Redux?

I do not see UCF going to Tampa to play USF. There is nothing to be gained there from either side. The game would not gather anywhere close to the interest from TV or ticket sales for UCF-USF that there was in 2021 for UCF-Florida. UCF gets no benefit from playing that game from a perception standpoint, and if you are USF, you do not want to share the bowl game attention and be reminded that UCF passed you into a power conference while you are in the AAC.

My guess is that either USF or UCF will end up there but not both. I would be stunned if they got paired up.

But then again, nobody thought pro-wrestler CM Punk would ever return to WWE after his ugly departure in 2014.

So you never know! We will wait and see where UCF ends up and against whom. We will know by Sunday if we are in for a surprise.