When the fifth Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl takes place in Nassau on December 21, 2018, the game will feature teams from Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.
Last season, Conference USA produced 10 teams that were bowl eligible, sending a record nine teams to 2017 bowls. No FBS conference had more bowl-eligible teams than C-USA, with the ACC also producing 10. League champion Florida Atlantic (Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton) and West Division Champion North Texas (R+L Carriers New Orleans) were joined by FIU (Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla), Louisiana Tech (DXL Frisco), Marshall (Gildan New Mexico), Middle Tennessee (Raycom Camellia), Southern Miss (Walk On’s Independence), UAB (Bahamas) and WKU (AutoNation Cure) in playing in the postseason.
C-USA has a record of 15-11 in bowl games over the past four years, the most wins among the Group of Five Conferences. That record includes a record of 14-8 vs. Group of Five schools over that period.
East Division champion Florida Atlantic won its first C-USA title with a 41-17 victory at home over West Division champion North Texas in the 2017 Dynacraft Conference USA Championship Game. Florida Atlantic finished 11-3 overall, 8-0 in C-USA games. The Owls received votes in both the final Associated Press and USA Today Amway Coaches polls.
The Mid-American Conference had five teams in postseason bowls in 2017. Ohio was chosen for the Bahamas Bowl, while conference champion Toledo played in the Dollar General Bowl and East Division champion Akron participated in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl. Other MAC bowl participants were Central Michigan (Famous Idaho Potato) and Northern Illinois (Quick Lane).
The MAC has had at least five teams selected for bowl games each season since 2011, and 10 times overall. The conference set a record with seven bowl participants in 2012 and 2015.
East Division champion Toledo claimed their first MAC title since 2004 with a 45-28 victory over West Division champ Akron in the 2017 Marathon MAC Football Championship at Detroit’s Ford Field. The Rockets finished 11-3 overall and 7-1 in MAC play. Ohio received votes in the final USA Today Amway Coaches poll.