NIU Huskies QB Jordan Lynch. - Jonathan Daniel
Examining the 2012/13 Bowl Landscape.
MAC BOWL AGREEMENTS
The MAC is one of the Primary conferences contracted to provide teams to three bowls:
1. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl,
2. GoDaddy.com Bowl, and
3. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
According to NIU's Postseason Central site, the MAC has secondary agreements with four bowls:
4. New Mexico Bowl,
5. Beef O'Brady's Bowl,
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl, and
7. BBVA Compass Bowl.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Detroit, MI - Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012)
The Pizza Bowl alternates the top MAC selection with the GoDaddy Bowl and has the first selection this year. The bowl should feature a Big Ten opponent but will likely not be able to fill that spot this year as contracted and instead should host a team from the Sun Belt Conference.
GoDaddy.com Bowl (Mobile, AL - Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013)
The top MAC selection alternates between the GoDaddy Bowl and the Pizza Bowl, with the GoDaddy picking second this year. The featured opponent comes from the Sun Belt, likely the second selection from that conference.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID - Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012)
The Potato Bowl gets the third choice from the MAC bowl eligible teams. The bowl, as the WAC's sole bowl tie-in, should feature the WAC champion.
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM - Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012)
The New Mexico Bowl has primary agreements with the MWC and Pac-12 and appears to have a secondary agreement with the WAC on the PAC side. It doesn't seem likely that the MAC gets this bowl as the MWC looks to have enough bowl eligible teams to fill its obligation. The PAC side also appears out of reach, as the PAC looks like it should be able to fill this bowl, with the WAC having a surplus of teams available to pinch-hit if it were to fail.
Beef O'Brady's Bowl (St. Petersburg, FL - Friday, Dec. 21, 2012)
The Beef O'Brady's Bowl has primary agreements with the Big East and C-USA and looks to be a realistic possibility this year for the MAC. The Big East is always tricky to predict since it has so many borderline bowl eligible teams every year and C-USA is dealing with a bowl suspension appeal from one of its bowl eligible teams, but it looks like this bowl may need to go to its secondary agreements as it did last year. The MAC had a secondary agreement last year, but the bowl ended up selecting an in-state Sun Belt team instead that sent a total of 34 fans (approx.), hopefully bowl officials learned from that. There will not be a bowl-eligible Sun Belt team from Florida this year.
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas, TX - Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013)
The Heart of Dallas Bowl has primary agreements with the Big Ten and alternates between the Big 12 and C-USA, with the Big 12 having priority in 2013. Both conferences with tie-ins this year appear to have enough teams to fulfill their commitments and with the alternating primary agreement with C-USA, the large payout, and the proximity to the C-USA footprint, NCB does not see a MAC team bowling here.
BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, AL - Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013)
The BBVA Compass Bowl has primary agreements with the SEC and the Big East with alternate agreements with C-USA and the MAC. See above (Beef O'Brady's Bowl) for issues with the Big East and C-USA, further complicating things is a convoluted partnership involving the SEC and other bowl(s). Things will become clearer, but NCB projects that the MAC has a good chance of landing a team here.
In addition to the primary and secondary agreements listed above, the likely shortage of bowl eligible teams this season means that several at-large selections may be "in play" for NIU and the MAC.
Be sure to look for future Bowl updates and features.