Conference USA Bowl Grades
Conference USA Bowl Grade: C+
The league went 3-5, but two of those three were large. Florida Atlantic whacked around a dangerous SMU in the Boca Raton, and Louisiana Tech shut out Miami in the Independence, and that was enough to keep the league’s bowl season from being a relative disaster. All five losses were against Group of Five programs, and four of them were by double-digits.
Charlotte: Grade D+
Final Score: Buffalo 31, Charlotte 9
Line: Buffalo -7, o/u: 51.5
–Bahamas Bowl 5 Things That Matter
The 49ers shouldn’t have had so many problems against a Buffalo team that was good, but shouldn’t have been 31-9 loss good. The passing game was solid, but that came after getting down 24-0.
FIU Bowl Grade: C+
Final Score: Arkansas State 34, FIU 26
Line: FIU -1, o/u: 59
– Camellia Bowl 5 Things That Matter
The Golden Panthers should’ve won this. They got down early, but couldn’t rally back after giving up almost 400 passing yards and four scores. The defense didn’t get the job done to get off the field, and the O couldn’t rally back. It was an okay performance, but … win the team that beat Miami should’ve won this.
Florida Atlantic Bowl Grade: A
Final Score: Florida Atlantic 52, SMU 28
Line: SMU -3, o/u: 70.5
– Boca Raton Bowl 5 Things That Matter
The Conference USA champs lost Lane Kiffin to Ole Miss and faced a dangerous SMU team with a high-octane passing attack. It was a nip-and-tuck game for a while, and then the Owls went off, got up 45-14, and it was a brilliant win.
Louisiana Tech Bowl Grade: A
Final Score: Louisiana Tech 14, Miami 0
Line: Miami -6, o/u: 50
– 5 Thoughts on the Independence Bowl
It was a historically fun win. Not only did Louisiana Tech win a bowl game, and not only did it do it against a Power Five team, and not only did it beat Miami, but it was the first team to ever force a shutout in Independence Bowl history.
Marshall Bowl Grade: C+
Final Score: UCF 48, Marshall 25
Line: UCF -15.5, o/u: 59.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Gasparilla Bowl
This was a reach of a game for Marshall. It might have been unbeaten in bowl games under Doc Holliday, but it was also more than a two touchdown underdog. Down 21-0 after the first quarter, the Herd were never in it.
Southern Miss Bowl Grade: C
Final Score: Tulane 30, Southern Miss 13
Line: Tulane -7.5, o/u: 56.5
There wasn’t any hope after Jack Abraham went down? The Golden Eagles were rolling along, lost their starting quarterback, and that was it. The running game had some bangs and bruises, too, in a total meltdown after halftime.
UAB Bowl Grade: C+
Final Score: Appalachian State 31, UAB 17
Line: Appalachian State -16.5, o/u: 48
– 5 Thoughts on the New Orleans Bowl
The Blazers got up 14-0, and then … pfffffffffft. The air went out of the balloon they were outscored 31-3 the rest of the way. This was a big task for them as a more than two touchdown underdog, and they failed to come through after the great start.
WKU Bowl Grade: B+
Final Score: WKU 23, Western Michigan 20
Line: WKU -3, o/u: 56
– 5 Thoughts on the SERVPRO First Responders Bowl
The Hilltoppers got the win in a thriller. It took a 52-yard bomb of a field goal and the breaks of a too-many-men-on-the-field penalty – and a trip on a WMU third down try – to get it done, but it was a bowl victory. It should’ve been easier, though, considering well the O worked and was better than WMU, but it got the W.