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November 26, 2012

UCF's bowl options narrowed to Liberty, Beef O'Brady's

Bowling on Beale Street or by the Bay?

UCF's postseason options became clearer on Monday after Conference USA announced their bowl contingency plans.

With a win against Tulsa in Saturday's Conference USA Championship, UCF will head to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl. A loss and they'll stay closer to home to play in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg.


Though UCF is focused on winning a third league title and going to Memphis, school officials were said to have preferred the Hawaii Bowl as a fallback option.

Sources said it's not happening because the Knights were outnumbered. SMU was vocal in their desire to go to Hawaii and that's also what the bowl wanted. Organizers are eager to welcome back former Hawaii coach June Jones, who remains a popular figure in Honolulu and still maintains a home on the island.

ESPN Regional Television, which owns every C-USA bowl except for the Liberty, voiced their preference for UCF in St. Petersburg because the Knights will sell more tickets than any other C-USA team. East Carolina had expressed interest in the bowl and still may get their wish as long as the Knights beat Tulsa.

The Liberty Bowl opponent remains up in the air since the SEC didn't qualify enough teams to satisfy their bowl tie-ins. Chatter is increasing the bowl could invite the winner of Saturday's Arkansas State/Middle Tennessee game, which will determine the Sun Belt champion. Both teams are 8-3.

The Beef O'Brady's Bowl has a tie-in with the Big East, but the league needs Pittsburgh and Connecticut to win this weekend in order to fill their allotment. If that doesn't happen, the Beef O'Brady's Bowl would be forced to invite an at-large selection, likely from the MAC.

Bowl contingency plans as released by C-USA:

If Tulsa wins the championship game, this will be C-USA's bowl lineup:

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31, Memphis, Tenn.: Tulsa
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas: Rice
Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Dec. 24, Honolulu, Hawai'i: SMU
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 22, New Orleans, La.: ECU
Beef `O' Brady's Bowl, Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Fla.: UCF

If UCF wins the championship game, this will be C-USA's bowl lineup:

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31, Memphis, Tenn.: UCF
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas: Tulsa
Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Dec. 24, Honolulu, Hawai'i: SMU
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 22, New Orleans, La.: Rice
Beef `O' Brady's Bowl, Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Fla.: East Carolina


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