South Alabama and Troy have another regular season game to impress bowl representatives and position themselves for various postseason goals.
The Jaguars and Trojans are both 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the Sun Belt Conference game, although Troy has the neck-and-neck tiebreaker for a spot in the Dec. 3 league championship game. The Trojans need only beat Arkansas State — or lose South Alabama to Old Dominion — on Saturday to secure the division title.
As the 2022 regular season draws to a close, we polled the latest bowl projections from 10 national college football writers. They were very different, although there was some overlap.
Five of the forecasters have Troy as a “second-choice” team from the Sun Belt in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21. Action Network’s Brett McMurphy lets the Trojans face North Texas, while USA Today’s Erick Smith, ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, Athlon’s Steven Lassan and The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman and Stewart Mandel let Troy score with UT-San Antonio.
Two projections by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Johnson show Troy at the LendingTree Bowl on December 17 in Mobile. Schlabach projects the Trojans to BYU, Johnson has them against Eastern Michigan.
The Sporting News’ Bill Bender offers an intriguing duel: Troy vs. UAB in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Dec. 19 in Conway, SC CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm projects Troy in the Frisco (Texas) Bowl on Dec. 17 against Fresno State, while College Football News staff will play the Trojans against Air Force on Dec. 20 in the Boca Raton (Fla.) Bowl.
Five out of ten projections also have South Alabama in the same location: the Camellia Bowl on December 27 in Montgomery. ESPN’s Bonagura and CBS’ Palm both have the Jaguars against Liberty, while The Athletic USA takes on Ohio. College Football News has the Jaguars vs. Toledo, quarterback Carter Bradley’s former team. Athlon’s Lassan brings South Alabama together with Bowling Green in what would be a rehash of the 2014 Camellia Bowl.
Two more place South Alabama in the December 16 Cure Bowl in Orlando. The Sporting News’ Bender pairs the Jaguars with Rice, while SI’s Johnson pits them against the Air Force (their 2016 Arizona Bowl opponent).
ESPN’s Schlabach projects South Alabama to the Dec. 27 Birmingham Bowl vs. Memphis game. Action Network’s McMurphy has the Jaguars on Dec. 17 in the Frisco Bowl against Utah State.
Then there’s USA Today’s Smith, who takes South Alabama to Mobile for the December 17 LendingTree Bowl against Miami of Ohio. As we’ve said repeatedly here, there isn’t much desire on the part of bowl organizers or the Jaguars to have them play a postseason game at their home turf.
The final bowl pairings will be announced on December 4th, the day after the conclusion of the conference championship games.