Final Predictions For 2019 Independence Bowl
The 2019 Walk-On's Independence Bowl will kickoff December 26th at 3pm local time at Independence Stadium in Shreveport. You'll be able to hear the game on 1130 The Tiger in Shreveport and Bossier once again.
We've been over and over that this year's Walk-On's Independence Bowl will feature a lot of "last times". This will be the last time Walk-On's will sponsor the game, abandoning Shreveport's bowl game after three years. This will be the last time the match up should feature the SEC vs ACC, as both conferences will move to new bowl aliments without the Indy Bowl being involved.
Now that the dust has settled on the SEC, it looks like the Missouri bowl-ban will prevent an SEC team from fulfilling their Independence Bowl obligation. Which will bump us to secondary agreements.
There are two secondary agreements with the Indy Bowl, one with the American Athletic Conference, and one with Conference USA. These backup agreements have been used a lot over the last few years. Normally they alternate between using the two. Which means since Temple came to Shreveport from the American Athletic last year, its Conference USA's turn. Which should be great news. SHOULD BE.
Conference USA has 5 full bowl agreements, and two backup agreements. The Indy Bowl is one of their backups, but is a prime bowl for the conference. So it will likely move up the order, since the conference will have more than enough teams to fill all of their spots.
According to Brett McMurphy, one of those Conference USA teams already has their destination:
Charlotte is going to their first ever bowl game, and what a trip they've earned. They'll be on their way to the Bahamas Bowl. Which takes one option off the table for Conference USA to send to Shreveport.
This sets up for the best chance that the Indy Bowl has had to secure Louisiana Tech in a long time. Tech would of course be a big benefit to the game with a regional draw. HOWEVER...according to a lot of reports this morning, Louisiana Tech seems destined for the New Orleans Bowl.
If Tech does not make it into the Indy Bowl, it will be a travesty. Especially with all of the uncertainty moving forward around the game. If this is one of the last chances for Tech to get into the game for the foreseeable future, let's hope the people responsible do the right thing.
As far as the ACC goes, this decision will not be black and white.
Clemson will be in the College Football Playoffs, which pulls up teams in the ACC bowl pecking order. Within that order, the Independence Bowl is a secondary tier. So the first tier bowl games will get a first pick. Meaning one of our previous projections is probably out, because Louisville is 7-5, which is one of the best records in the conference.
The teams that could be coming to Shreveport include Florida State, Boston College, Miami, and North Carolina.
Miami is probably the most in-demand of those programs, based on national attention. Even though the prestige has been lowered with the program over the last couple of seasons.
Florida State was recently in Shreveport, so they're likely out. But based on some of the other moving parts, it wouldn't be a shock to see them back.
Boston College and North Carolina will likely be in bowls closer to their campus as a regional draws. Which might be unfortunate for the Indy Bowl, because North Carolina would be a big impact.
Now why would North Carolina be a good choice for Shreveport and the Independence Bowl? Mack Brown.
Tar Heels Head Coach Mack Brown made his name as the Head Coach for the Texas Longhorns, bringing them a National Championship during his tenure in Austin. Having a legendary Texas coach in the Ark-La-Tex could also be a big local draw.
So with the final predictions, I'm going to do two. First, what will probably happen, and then what I REALLY hope happens, because this could be an Independence Bowl that helps turn some attitudes around.
First, what is likely to happen:
UAB VS. MIAMI (FL)
Now, what I WANT to happen:
LOUISIANA TECH VS. NORTH CAROLINA
Tech against anyone would make a strong bowl game in Shreveport. Similar to the way that the Boca Raton Bowl leans on Florida Atlantic as often as possible. But there are more factors that go into the decision than the benefit of one bowl or one school. Miami's program going anywhere is good news, if only for TV ratings purposes.
A lot of the teams in play for the game would be great, so I thought I'd add in a little list of teams that could be a little more of a letdown that are also in play: