Who Will the Cajuns Play?
It's now been ten days since Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns accepted a bid to play in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. And still, the opponent is unknown.
And probably will remain unknown until Sunday.
There are still football games to be played this weekend and other decisions to be made by other bowls. And, until that's decided, there will be nothing announced.
But, through sources, we've been able to narrow it down.
The first game to watch for is the CUSA championship game between Houston and Southern Mississippi. CUSA has more bowl tie-ins than they do bowl eligible teams. Houston, if they win against USM, will in all likelihood go to a BCS bowl, probably the Sugar. That will leave a couple of openings in CUSA-contracted bowls and one of those will be in New Orleans.
There is also the question of Boise State. The Broncos still have an outside shot at a BCS bowl, even if Houston winds up in the Sugar. Much will depend on who wins this weekend and specifically, if Michigan can get into the top 14 of the BCS.
It's pretty certain at this stage, the New Orleans Bowl will not have a Conference USA team, regardless of what else happens. But the above scenarios will have a say in who winds up in the Crescent City.
IF HOUSTON WINS AND BOISE DOES NOT GET A BCS BOWL it looks as though the opponent will be San Diego State out of the Mountain West Conference. The Mountain West has five teams eligible for four slots (Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Independence, New Mexico). If Boise does not get a BCS bid, the Mountain West will have one extra team. TCU is bound for Vegas, Boise would go to the Poinsettia, Wyoming to New Mexico and Air Force to Shreveport. That would leave SDSU available and they would be New Orleans' choice. They would probably be the best team available.
The Aztecs are 7-4 going into their final game this weekend against Fresno State. The have wins over FCS Cal-Poly, Army, Washington State, Air Force, New Mexico, Colorado State and UNLV. Their losses are to Boise State, TCU, Michigan and Wyoming. They are a balanced team, averaging 194 yards rushing and 225 passing per game.
Now, if Houston loses, it gets a little cloudier.
IF HOUSTON LOSES TO SOUTHERN MISS--Boise State would get a BCS bid being the highest rated non-AQ team. Mountain West would then fill its slots. New Orleans would remain open and the opponent would then likely be a school from the Mid America Conference. Right now it appears Ohio, Northern Illinois and Toledo are going to get the contracted bowls (godaddy, Idaho and Little Caesars) for the MAC. That would leave Temple (8-4), Western Michigan (7-5) and Ball State (6-6) as New Orleans possibilities.
IF HOUSTON BEATS SOUTHERN MISS AND BOISE GETS A BCS SPOT--Again, San Diego State would be out of the picture and a MAC school would be the likely opponent.
Houston and Southern Miss play at 11am Saturday. Boise plays hapless New Mexico Saturday at 5pm.
Now, upsets can happen. But if the favorites win and conventional wisdom rules (i.e.; both Houston and Boise aren't in BCS games) you can expect to see the Aztecs in New Orleans on December 17th.