Troy prepares for bowl possibilities

Published 10:35 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

The big question on the minds of every Troy fan as of late is where exactly the team will be playing once the regular season wraps up this weekend in Boca Raton, FL.

And like last season, there are several possible options for where the Trojans will be playing regardless of a win or loss.

The New Orleans Bowl, which has been the destination for the Sun Belt champion every season with the exception of last season, the newly named Bowl, which was previously the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, and the Little Caesars Bowl, which is in Detroit.

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“I think we are very much a part of several bowl discussions,” Troy Athletic Director Steve Dennis said Wednesday afternoon.

“The main thing for Troy is to take care of our own business and do what we are supposed to do. We have a chance to be co-champions of the Sun Belt and our coaches have done a good job of getting our guys focused on that and only that.”

With a win over Florida Atlantic, the Trojans would improve to 7-5 and once again claim a co-championship in the conference, if FIU losses and ends up with a 6-6 overall record.

While no bowl will make its selections until after the regular season has come to a close, with the decisions coming on Sunday, there have been numerous reports saying that New Orleans is not a likely destination for Troy.

According to New Orleans Bowl executive director Bill Ferrante, that is not the case.

“Troy is still very much in the mix,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

“We have had numerous conversations about the selections for the bowl. But this is nothing new, we go through these motions every year around this time.”

Ferrante said while no decision would be made on which team would be representing the Sun Belt come Dec. 18, until after the regular season, there are a number of things that will go into the decision process.

“Everything from TV appeal, to the matchup, to the team’s fan base will go into consideration. Every conversation we have had about the selection, Troy has been a major consideration.”

Another part of the evaluation that Ferrante said would play a role is Troy’s history with the bowl itself.

The Trojans made their first appearance in the Superdome for the New Orleans Bowl back in 2006, when Troy defeated Rice 41-17.

The attendance for that game was 24,791.

Two years later, the Trojans returned to the bowl game, this time taking on Southern Miss., falling in overtime, 30-27.

The attendance for that game was 30,197, which was the highest ever before last year’s game between Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss.

“That fact that Troy has been here before and has had good showings as far as the game and fans go is something that we have brought up, but again, there are a lot of things that go into a decision like this,” Ferrante said.

However, according to the AP, as of Tuesday afternoon, it was not the New Orleans Bowl that the Trojans were projected to be going to, as it had Troy playing Miami, (OH), in the Bowl.

But that is still all just speculation at this point.

“The point is, the New Orleans Bowl has to wait to see how everything pans out (this weekend), and to say that we are out of possibly going back to New Orleans is not true.

“I wish I had a crystal ball to see what is going to happen, but I don’t,” Dennis said.

“All the bowls have been very open and cordial with us. They all respect the program.”

As far as which bowl would be best for Troy, Dennis said either location would be good spots for the Trojans.

“I’d like to say both,” he said.

“This is not one of those things where money is the deciding factor for this situation. That’s a part of it all, of course. But we are looking for the best situation for Troy. We have shown that we can bring a good crowd to either bowl game in recent years. But right now, the best case scenario for Troy is a victory on Saturday.”

In the end, while Dennis said this time of the year is always fun, Sunday cannot come soon enough.

“There is so much stuff out there right now between tweets and blogs saying what may happen and it’s fun to play with but honestly, all of it gives me a headache. The only thing that is important at this point is making sure we come away with a win this Saturday.”