Still mostly a Liberty-Military mix among the experts. Here’s the list:
Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Military Bowl vs. Pittsburgh
Brad Edwards (ESPN.com) — Military Bowl vs. Maryland
Jerry Palm (CBS Sports) — Liberty Bowl vs. Pittsburgh
College Football News — Military Bowl vs. Maryland
Sporting News — Liberty Bowl vs. Pittsburgh
USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Colorado State
Athlon — Liberty Bowl vs. Vanderbilt
National Football Post — Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl vs. Buffalo
Jason Kirk (SB Nation) — Hawaii Bowl vs. UNLV
Stewart Mandel (SI.com) — BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Central Michigan
Here’s an interesting turn of events. Both Edwards and Mandel have Marshall out of the Liberty because they predict no C-USA team will play in the Liberty. Both have Vanderbilt playing American Athletic Conference member Houston in Memphis. The Liberty Bowl has that option and has used it before, pushing Southern Miss to the Hawaii Bowl in 2011, despite the Golden Eagles winning the conference title, and taking Cincinnati. That’d be a disappointing way for C-USA to end its Liberty Bowl relationship, losing one of its few chances to play a marquee bowl opponent.
That threw a new option into the mix, as Mandel predicts the Herd will get farmed out Birmingham, Ala., and play Jan. 4, between the Orange Bowl and BCS title game. While that does fall on a Saturday and helps hacks like me dodge days of bowl coverage during Christmas and New Year’s, methinks that might do a number on attendance. A post-holidays trip to Alabama might not be in many budgets.