When the fourth Bahamas Bowl takes place in Nassau on December 22, 2017, the game will feature teams from Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.
Conference USA placed a record seven schools into bowl games in 2016, and C-USA posted a 4-3 record. Old Dominion was chosen for the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, while champion WKU (Boca Raton), Louisiana Tech (Lockheed Martin Armed Forces), Middle Tennessee (Hawai’i), North Texas (Heart of Dallas), Southern Miss (R&L Carriers New Orleans) and UTSA (Gildan New Mexico) also participated in bowl action.
This season, UAB restarts football as a full member of C-USA.
C-USA has had at least five teams in bowl games in every season since 2002. Conference USA is 22-11 in bowl games in the last five years, and has led all conferences in bowl winning percentage three times in the last six years.
East Division champion WKU won its second consecutive C-USA title with a 58-44 victory at home over West Division champion Louisiana Tech in the 2016 Dynacraft Conference USA Championship Game. WKU finished 11-3 overall, 7-1 in C-USA games. The Hilltoppers received votes in both the final Associated Press and USA Today Amway Coaches’ polls.
The Mid-American Conference had six teams in postseason bowls in 2016. Eastern Michigan was chosen for the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, while conference champion Western Michigan played in a New Year’s Six bowl as the Broncos participated in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic after an undefeated regular season. Other MAC bowl participants were Central Michigan (Miami Beach), Ohio (Dollar General), Miami (St. Petersburg) and Toledo (Raycom Media Camellia).
The MAC has had at least five teams selected for bowl games each season since 2011, and nine times overall. The conference set a record with seven bowl participants in 2012 and 2015.
West Division champion Western Michigan claimed their first MAC title since 1988 with a 29-23 victory over East Division champ Ohio in the 2016 Marathon MAC Football Championship at Detroit’s Ford Field. The Broncos finished 13-1 overall and 8-0 in MAC play, and was ranked No. 15 in the final Associated Press Poll and No. 18 in the final USA Today Amway Coaches Poll.