The Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team is only a win away from bowl eligibility. Should they become eligible, they could be going anywhere from Hawaii to Florida. Here’s a quick prediction of where they could end up.
First of all, you may ask if Tulsa is even guaranteed a bowl in the first place. Well, not necessarily. The American Conference is guaranteed six spots in bowl games. As of this week, Tulsa is tied for seventh in the American Conference. Navy is ahead of Tulsa yet has a bowl of their own, the Military Bowl against an ACC team or even possibly Notre Dame. Therefore, Tulsa is on the cusp of being allowed a bowl.
However, Tulsa could still drop both of the next two games and be out. Additionally, two situations could arise where Tulsa could finish the year with a win and a loss, and still be left out at 6–6. Then Connecticut, who is tied with Tulsa in the conference at the moment, could win both of their games, putting them at 7–5. Or East Carolina could win the next two weeks and gain eligibility due to their victory over Tulsa as a tiebreaker.
But let’s say Tulsa gets in. Where could they land? The American Conference has, again, six bowl spots to work with. The first happens on the first day of bowl games, in the AutoNation Cure Bowl against a Sun Belt team. The second is the Miami Beach Bowl, held in Marlins Stadium against a team from Conference USA. Thirdly, a visit to the stadium of Tulsa’s first opponent this season, FAU, in the Boca Raton Bowl against a MAC school.
Fourth, an American team could spend Christmas Eve in Hawaii, to face a Mountain West team or BYU in the Hawaii Bowl. Next, a possible location is the day after Christmas, in the St. Petersburg team against a C-USA school. Finally, the American plays an SEC school in the Birmingham Bowl on December 30th.
Of course, there’s no way of knowing where any of the conference members will end up. Theoretically, Tulsa could show up in all of these bowls. But what’s the fun of not predicting? Houston may grab a New Year’s Six bowl, should they remain undefeated. I’d predict that Houston or any other top AAC school, like Memphis or Temple, would play an SEC for exposure. Next, the Boca Raton Bowl could feature one of these high-powered offenses against a school such as Toledo.
This leaves us with three Florida bowls and a Hawaii one. As much as you would think Tulsa would be facing a Sun Belt or C-USA school for not being the first round of choices for bowl teams, a Hawaii bowl game is just as likely.
In ESPN’s bowl projections relative to last week, analyst Mark Schlabach pitted Tulsa against Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl, while Brett McMurphy put them in against Kentucky in Birmingham. Either way, Tulsa making a bowl game would mark a step in the right direction of the program.