If UCF can close out the regular season by building some momentum against Tulane and UAB, the Knights would become a very appealing choice for the Dec. 29th EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C. UCF’s potential opponent in that could be any one of several teams, but clearly the most attractive to Knights’ fans would be a showdown against the Florida State Seminoles.
Largely because of geographic reasons, it has been assumed for some time that the Knights were headed to the Dec. 19th St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field. A potential foe for that game could be arch-rival USF, but the Bulls have yet to qualify for a bowl bid and would likely want to avoid playing in nearby St. Petersburg for a second consecutive year if so. Both ESPN.com and CBSSports.com are projecting Southern Miss as Conference USA’s representative in the St. Pete Bowl.
Meanwhile, the Knights may prefer a trip to Washington, D.C., in order to face another prestigious opponent.
Army has a contractual tie-in the EagleBank Bowl, but the 4-6 Black Knights need wins against North Texas and Navy, an unlikely scenario considering the Midshipmen’s powerful team. That would open up a possibly for UCF in the EagleBank Bowl.
An East Carolina win on Saturday eliminates the Knights from contention for the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The Pirates are the favorites to win Conference USA and represent the league in Memphis’ Liberty Bowl.
If SMU isn’t in the Liberty Bowl, it will assuredly head to the Hawaii Bowl because of coach June Jones’ past ties to the University of Hawaii. And if Houston isn’t in the Liberty Bowl as the champions, it will play close to home in the Armed Forces Bowl.
If UCF gets to 8-4 with two more wins, the Knights could also aim its sights outside the New Orleans Bowl and its Sun Belt Conference foe. Either Marshall or UAB, if one qualifies, could likely play in New Orleans.
With an 8-4 record, the Knights may prefer the EagleBank Bowl at Washington’s RFK Stadium because of the quality of opponent it could duel against. But even that is filled with uncertainty because the ACC has yet to qualify enough teams to fill all of its bowl slots.
If Florida State (5-5) beats Maryland on Saturday or upsets top-ranked Florida in two weeks, the Seminoles would have the six wins needed and could become a candidate to play in D.C. If the Seminoles fail in that bid, a Big 12 team (possibly Texas A&M) or a Pac-10 foe (UCLA) could be land in D.C. And mega-draw Notre Dame could end up in the EagleBank Bowl if the Irish lose their remaining games against Connecticut and Stanford to finish at 6-6.
Source: UCF Athletics