Now that Memphis football is bowl eligible for a ninth consecutive season, fans can take a closer look at where the Tigers will play in December.
Memphis (6-5, 3-4 AAC) heads into its season finale at SMU on Saturday (2:30 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU) with a chance to improve in the AAC pecking order. The Tigers are tied for seventh in the conference with East Carolina.
If Memphis defeats SMU and ECU defeats Temple on Saturday, the Tigers will be in a four-way tie for fifth place with SMU, ECU and Navy. Memphis then holds a tiebreaker over SMU and Navy but not ECU due to the Tigers losing to the Pirates in four overtimes.
If Memphis loses and ECU wins, the Tigers will finish no better than eighth in the conference. If Memphis and ECU lose, both schools will remain in seventh.
As a reminder, the AAC typically places its best teams in bowl games against Power Five opponents. If an AAC team finishes as the highest non-Power Five team in the final College Football Playoff rankings, it will head to the Cotton Bowl.
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The AAC’s bowl tie-ins this season are with the Fenway Bowl (Dec. 17 vs. ACC), Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 22 vs. C-USA), Independence Bowl (Dec. 23 vs. Army) and Military Bowl (Dec. 28 vs. ACC).
The conference also has four selections from among the Birmingham Bowl, Gasparilla Bowl, First Responder Bowl, Boca Raton Bowl, Frisco Bowl, Cure Bowl, Myrtle Beach Bowl and New Mexico Bowl. The First Responder Bowl (Dec. 27 vs. ACC, Big 12 or Pac-12), Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27 vs. SEC) and Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23 vs. ACC, Pac-12 or SEC) are typically against Power Five opponents.
Here are Memphis’ projections collected from various sites.
ESPN: Gasparilla Bowl vs. Coastal Carolina; Birmingham Bowl vs. South Alabama
CBS Sports: Fenway Bowl vs. Syracuse
247Sports: Birmingham Bowl vs. BYU
Sports Illustrated: Armed Forces Bowl vs. UAB
Sporting News: Birmingham Bowl vs. Utah State
Yahoo Sports: Birmingham vs. UAB
Action Network: Birmingham Bowl vs. Southern Miss
Our thoughts: Memphis is no stranger to the Birmingham Bowl, having played there in 2015 and 2018. Both games were losses to Auburn and Wake Forest, respectively. It might not the bowl that fans want to attend but it’s close for travel reasons. However, should the Tigers lose this week, it might help their odds of not getting picked since they’d be low in the AAC standings.