In this series, we are looking at what the American’s bowl lineup would look like with tie-ins inherited from the Big East. So far, we have seen the American earn better bids than their Group of Five counterparts, capitalizing with a few quality wins as well. This year’s simulation is no different as we continue looking at the 2018 bowl season for the American through a Big East lens.
Listed below are the match-ups with the changes listed in bold:
Peach Bowl: 13-0 UCF vs 9-3 LSU
Military Bowl: 10-2 Cincinnati vs 6-6 Virginia Tech
Independence Bowl: 8-4 Temple vs 7-4 Duke
Birmingham Bowl: 8-5 Memphis vs 6-6 Wake Forest
Camping World Bowl: 7-5 USF (27) vs 9-3 Syracuse (24)
*Previously in the Gasparilla Bowl vs Marshall
Belk Bowl: 6-6 Tulane (31) vs 7-5 Virginia (34)
*Previously in the Cure Bowl vs Louisana-Lafayette
Pinstripe Bowl: 8-4 Houston (13) vs 7-5 Miami (34)
*Previously in the Armed Forces Bowl vs Army
USF got a favorable bowl location, heading to Orlando to face former Big East colleague, Syracuse. A balanced attack leads the Bulls to an upset of the Orange as they win 27-24, leading wire-to-wire. Blake Barnett throws for 218, while Jordan Cronkrite adds 182 yards and a score. More importantly, the Bulls avoid becoming the first team to lose 6 in a row after starting 7-0.
Next, Tulane gets arguably the biggest upgrade by getting a date in Charlotte vs Virginia. Even though the in-state face-off with Louisiana-Lafayette was fun, a bowl game against a solid Virginia team is likely more exciting for the Green Wave. Darius Bradwell runs for 130 and three touchdowns, but it is not enough as Virginia prevails in overtime, 34-31.
Bryce Perkins threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns. A three-yard touchdown toss from Justin McMillian to Darnell Mooney with 17 seconds left sent the game to overtime, but an interception in overtime iced the game for the Cavaliers.
Finally, Houston is the odd man out in this new lineup, as they got sent to the Bronx to play Miami. This is not really an upgrade for the Cougars, as originally they played the #22 AP-ranked Army Black Knights in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Come kickoff, Miami blows out the Cougars 34-13, overcoming an early 10-0 Houston lead. Miami was lead by Lorenzo Lingard and Travis Homer each rushing for over 100 yards. In a losing effort, Patrick Carr ran for 101 yards on 16 carries.
In what amounted to a rough bowl season for the American, their struggles would have continued in these match-ups. Yet, the persistent competitiveness against quality competition would have placed the reputation of the American even more on a pedestal above the rest of the Group of Five.
Links to the other pieces in the series are below: