We are continuing to look at what the American Athletic Conference’s bowl situation would look like if they kept the Big East’s tie-ins. Already, we have seen the American gain stronger bowl match-ups and opportunities for signature wins. Continuing on, here is what 2017 would look like with Big East bowl tie-ins:
Here are the match-ups with changes in bold:
Peach Bowl: 12-0 UCF vs 10-3 Auburn
Liberty Bowl: 10-2 Memphis vs 7-5 Iowa State
Birmingham Bowl: 9-2 USF vs 6-6 Texas Tech
Military Bowl: 6-6 Navy vs 6-6 Virginia
Pinstripe Bowl: 6-6 Temple (44) vs 7-5 Boston College (37)
*Previously in the Gasparilla Bowl vs FIU
Belk Bowl: 7-4 Houston (26) vs 7-5 Texas A&M (33)
*Previously in the Hawaii Bowl vs Fresno State
Camping World Bowl: 7-5 SMU (45) vs 9-3 Virginia Tech (50)
*Previously in the Frisco Bowl vs Louisiana Tech
Dead conferences come alive in the new tie-ins. Temple plays their old Big East foe Boston College in their second Pinstripe appearance in three years. In a high-scoring game, the Owls score two touchdowns in the final 2:43 to force overtime, where a 29-yard touchdown from Logan Marchi to Isaiah Wright wins it for Temple, 44-37.
Marchi’s 354 passing yards and three touchdowns were just enough to hold off the dynamic duo the Eagles had in AJ Dillon and Thadd Smith, who combined for 299 rushing yards and four scores.
The Southwest Conference comes alive…in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl as Houston and Texas A&M reunite. In another overtime game, Houston blows a 14-point 4th quarter lead and loses 33-26. D’Eriq King threw for 229 passing yards, with Linnell Bonner on the receiving end of 85 of them, while Dillon Birden added 90 rushing yards. However, it is not enough as Nick Starkel led the Aggies comeback with 318 yards and three touchdowns.
SMU was the odd man out in this arrangement, being forced to travel to Orlando to play 9-win Virginia Tech. In a shootout, the underdog Mustangs have a strong showing, but ultimately fall short 50-45 to the Hokies.
Ben Hicks threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns and Xavier Jones rushed for 120 yards and a score. Cortland Sutton and Trey Quinn were hard to stop all day, with Sutton notching 115 receiving yards and Quinn catching 10 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Ultimately, Josh Jackson’s 322 total yards and three touchdowns and Deshawn McClease’s 137 rushing yards were enough for the Hokies.
With the Big East’s tie-ins, the 2017 bowl season brought the AAC some high-scoring games and a signature win in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, further showing that keeping the Big East’s bowl tie-ins would have benefited the league significantly.
Listed below are previous editions of this series: