I suppose by now close observers have noticed the Great Swami’s crystal ball was clouded, a few weeks back, when it came to predicting the lineup for the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, set to kick off at noon local time (closer to dawn, in civilized time zones) Wednesday, Dec. 24 at Tom Robinson National Stadium, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. I can only echo Rick Blaine, challenged on the claim he came to Casablanca for the waters: “I was misinformed.”
We had been unreliably informed the match-up would likely feature the Toledo Rockets (not the Mud Hens, that’s baseball) and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, but the Blue Raiders lost a final game to the mighty Florida International Panthers (who knew?) in late November, 38-28, slipping to 6-6. And there was no joy in Mudville, nor in Murfreesboro, neither. Goodbye bowl bids.
Things went the other way for the Rockets, who crushed Eastern Michigan 52-16 in the final game of their regular season. Suddenly Toledo was too hot a prospect to take the slow boat to Bermuda; they instead return to challenge Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference at another GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on Sunday evening, Jan. 4. The Arkansas State Red Wolves (hey, they’re all household names in this division), being the defending GoDaddy champions, are slightly favored.
As for the Bahamas rice-and-beans bowl, look for the 7-5 Central Michigan Chippewas to take on the 7-5 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. (Should we call it the “Barely Made It Bowl”?)