2019 Independence Bowl Projections After Week 14
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.
Even though the SEC's multi-team playoff bids took a huge dip after Alabama got beat by Auburn, the Missouri bowl-ban will likely 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 is actually great news.
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. Again, good news.
The two Conference USA teams playing for their conference title are UAB and Florida Atlantic, pushing Louisiana Tech down their ranks. Making them an option for Shreveport.
Tech isn't a bad team, in fact, this might be the best Louisiana Tech team in recent memory. However over the last couple of weeks, suspensions have hit the team, and hurt them badly. This is an 8 win team, with a 5-2 conference record. They would be a big draw for the Indy Bowl in the Shreveport area.
As far as the ACC goes, that's pretty messy.
As long as Virginia doesn't go crazy and beat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, 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.
Florida State was recently in Shreveport, so they're likely out. Boston College will likely be in a bowl closer to their campus as a regional draw. Miami will be a very desirable program for any bowl, because the brand is huge, if Shreveport gets them, this could be huge.
But with all of that said, it leaves us with North Carolina.
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 here's what I'm predicting right now, and I REALLY hope this happens, because this could be an Independence Bowl that helps turn some attitudes around...
LOUISIANA TECH VS. NORTH CAROLINA
Now a La Tech game against Miami would be great as well, but I truly think that Mack Brown in Shreveport would probably be a bigger draw than a 6-win Hurricane team.