UConn (6-6) is going bowling for the first time since a team quarterbacked by Zach Frazer and coached by Randy Edsall won a share of the Big East and earned a BCS bowl bid.
It has been a long, strange five years waiting for the next bowl appearance, but here we are. Hopefully with the program trending in a positive direction and a lot of young talent on this team, the next five years will go a lot better.
With the regular season now over, and only championship games left to play, bowl projections for the tier in which UConn sits are not very likely to change. So let's survey the web and find out where college football analysts are projecting UConn to go bowling in 2015.
CBS Jerry Palm - AutoNation Cure Bowl, December 19 vs. Arizona (6-6) - Orlando, FL
The Cure Bowl is supposed to pit an American team against a Sun Belt member, but the Sun Belt doesn't have enough bowl-eligible teams. One solution to this problem is going outside of the normal conference tie-ins.
This particular matchup wouldn't be too bad. Arizona is a 6-6 team in the Pac 12, which would give UConn a nice opportunity to test itself against a similarly situated team in a so-called power conference- the Huskies are currently ranked ahead of the Wildcats in the Football Outsiders F+/ rankings. Plus, who wouldn't enjoy a trip to Orlando?
Wait, what's that? Rich Rod is Arizona's head coach? Hold on one second...
ESPN Mark Schlabach - Cure Bowl vs. Georgia Southern (8-3)
Georgia Southern has been on the rise since joining the FBS ranks in 2014. The Eagles won the Sun Belt in their first year as members and finished tied for second in 2015. Their fans would probably travel well for this game, as GSU was an FCS power for many years before making the jump.
ESPN Brett McMurphy - Boca Raton Bowl, December 22 vs. Toledo (9-2) - Boca Raton, FL
Toledo has been considered one of the best "group of 5" (non-"power five") teams in the country for most of the season. The Rockets bungled an opportunity to make the MAC championship game and maybe stake a claim to a New Year's bowl bid when they suffered an upset loss to Western Michigan in the regular season finalé.
Still, Toledo is a dangerous team, currently ranked 22nd in the F/+ rankings. It would be an exciting matchup for UConn to have.
SB Nation - St. Petersburg Bowl, December 26 vs. San Jose State (5-7)
As many had speculated might happen, a few 5-7 teams will be receiving bowl invites to fill the existing openings since not enough schools qualified for bowl eligibility. For UConn to draw one of those teams in its bowl game would mean a higher chance of ending the season with more wins than losses, so that's always good. It'd be nice to end the season on a high note.
Campus Insiders - Cure Bowl vs. California (7-5)
This is the second Pac-12 team projected to play against UConn in the Cure Bowl. The Bears don't have many impressive wins, but have beaten up on the bottom of their conference and did hand San Diego State one of its three losses.
Fox Sports - Stewart Mandel - Boca Raton Bowl vs. NIU (8-4)
A matchup of the Huskies! Northern Illinois is a team I have advocated for adding to the UConn schedule, so obviously I think this would be a great bowl game. NIU has been a MAC power, especially since the start of this decade, previously coached by Jerry Kill (formerly of Minnesota), Dave Doeren (currently at NC State), and now coached by Rod Carey, who led the fake Huskies to two double-digit win seasons before a down 2015 campaign.
The American has tie-ins with a few other bowl games, such as the Birmingham, Military, Miami Beach and Hawaii Bowls, but UConn is most likely to end up in one of the three that are on these projections. Many of those bids are already spoken for, or have better suitors in line from the conference. This should be good news for the many former Connecticut residents in Florida.
Another possibility which has been brought up in the web-o-sphere is that UConn could play in the Pinstripe Bowl due to a lack of options from the ACC or Big Ten. It's fun to dream, but hard to imagine as a real possibility. While the organizers of a college football game in New York City in December would probably want UConn over Indiana, a 5-7 team from the midwest, or a Miami team whose fanbase won't travel 30 miles for Senior Night to cap off an 8-4 season, I can't see the ACC or B1G powers that be allowing this kind of infringement on their #brand.
Where would you like to see UConn play its next game? Share your thoughts in the comments below!