It has become increasingly likely that the University of Miami will leave the state of Florida for its bowl game.
As of Saturday, indications pointed to the Hurricanes being the Atlantic Coast Conference’s representative in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 27 in Shreveport, Louisiana, according to multiple individuals familiar with the bowl scenario.
Two sources said a good possibility exists that Miami (6-6, 3-5) will face Texas A&M (7-5, 3-5 Southeastern Conference), rather than the matchup with the University of Florida Gators (6-5, 4-4) that many were expecting.
However, nothing is certain until the ACC reveals the destinations for each of its bowl-eligible teams at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
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Until then, the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26 against an American Athletic Conference team such as UCF (9-3, 7-1), remains one of the possibilities.
Go to TheACC.com/Bowls to view “The ACC Live: Bowl Selection Show.”
Should UM travel to the Independence and not play Texas A&M, it could also meet Arkansas (6-6, 2-6), South Carolina (6-6, 3-5) or the Gators.
This year, with the College Football Playoff making its debut, the bowl system works differently.
The Hurricanes will be slotted for a “Tier Two” bowl, which, in order of selections, encompasses the Military (Annapolis, Maryland), Independence and Quick Lane (Detroit) — with the Bitcoin teams being decided after the others pick.
The “Tier One” bowls (Belk, Sun, Music City or Taxslayer, and Pinstripe) don’t make picks. Conference officials work with bowls and athletic directors to try to make everyone as satisfied as possible.
Conference officials are also involved in Tier Two matchups.
The Independence, which had Arizona-Boston College last year, has in its selection pool on the ACC side UM, North Carolina (6-6, 4-4), Pittsburgh (6-6, 4-4) and Virginia Tech (6-6, 3-5).
Shreveport is a four-plus hour drive from Texas A&M and six-hour drive from Arkansas. The Hurricanes do well on TV, and this game will be shown on ABC.
The thought is that despite Miami fans not traveling, the Independence would have the national brand covered with the Hurricanes, and sell some tickets with a Texas A&M (or Arkansas) as the opponent.
Gator fans, like Canes fans, do not travel well to bowl games.
UM has never played in the Independence Bowl, but played at its stadium against Louisiana Tech to open the 2003 season — Brock Berlin’s first game as quarterback. The Hurricanes, then ranked third, won 48-9.
Miami is 2-1 against Texas A&M, winning the past two games 34-17 in 2007 at home and 41-23 at College Station in 2008.