What Teams Could Play In Shreveport’s 2023 Independence Bowl
Shreveport's college football bowl game, The Independence Bowl, is getting another prime time spot in 2023. The Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl is set for a Saturday night kickoff on December 16th. The TV broadcast for the game will be on ESPN, and will be carried nationally on the radio broadcast, which can be heard on 1130 The Tiger - KWKH in Shreveport.
Of course the date and kickoff time of the game are always a big question about the Independence Bowl, but the biggest question is WHO will play in the game? While we don't have the exact answer right now, we have a couple of good ideas.
This year's Independence Bowl is set for a Big 12 vs Pac 12 matchup. Which could serve as one of the last Pac 12 bowl games of all time.
The Pac 12 is losing the majority of their teams to "conference realignment", as teams like UCLA, Oregon, USC, and Washington will be leaving the conference. With all of the teams set to leave, its going to be just Oregon State and Washington State by next football season.
With these changes, the Pac 12 will either have to completely rebuild, or dissolve into nothing. Without knowing the direction the conference will take, we don't know what their bowl agreements will look like moving forward.
Some of the teams being plucked from the Pac 12, and actually heading to the Big 12...who are set to be on the other side of this matchup.
The Big 12 is actually only tied into the Independence Bowl this year because the bowl had an agreement with BYU when they were without a conference. As BYU joined the Big 12, the conference adopted the bowl agreement. Much like they're taking in teams from the Pac 12.
The Big 12 will be adding Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah from the Pac 12. Meaning this matchup could turn into a preview of next year's Big 12 regular season. But is that really possible? Because right now we're starting to get a clearer picture of the teams that could actually qualify for the Independence Bowl from both sides.
Here are the teams the are in play for this year's Independence Bowl:
Washington State - Pac 12
The way the Pac 12 conference could have a very interesting bowl assignment season this year. With so many teams leaving, it will be interesting to see if any school is "punished" by their bowl placement by the conference. Washington State is one of the two loyal schools, so the conference leadership might give them a little bit of a boost with their placement.
However, as of today, Washington State needs 2 more wins to become bowl eligible. They have two winnable games in their last 3, but will need to get themselves eligible over the next 3 weeks.
Iowa State - Big 12
Iowa State is another team not bowl eligible yet, but they only need 1 win over their last 3 games to get there. They do have some tough games ahead, but are fully in play for Shreveport.
BYU - Big 12
Another Big 12 team that needs 1 more win to become bowl eligible, they also have 3 games to make it happen. One of those games is against another team fighting for a bowl spot, and then 2 against ranked teams. So if BYU can't make it happen against Iowa State, they will have to pull off a steal against Oklahoma or Oklahoma State if they want to return to Shreveport.
West Virginia - Big 12
West Virginia is already bowl eligible, which might be the reason they end up somewhere besides Shreveport. The Big 12 is one of the conferences that locks their teams hard into bowl placements based on record. So if WV is too good, they won't be coming to Shreveport, but instead will be sent to another game.
UCF - Big 12
While UCF only has one Big 12 win, they are still just 2 wins away from being bowl eligible. They do have winnable games over their final three weeks, which means they could get there. If they do, they will be a big possibility to head to Shreveport because of where they will be sitting in the conference standings.
Illinois - Big Ten
You might notice that this isn't a Big 12 or Pac 12 school...WILD CARD. We could basically slot this for any "at large" team. As always, there's a chance that neither team could fulfil their obligations to bowls. If there aren't enough 6 win teams in the main agreement conferences, someone else could step in. Usually the backup agreements for the Indy Bowl are with Conference USA and the Sun Belt...but if THOSE conferences are also not able to fulfill their agreements, it becomes a totally "at large".
Houston - Big 12
Could Houston return to Shreveport for a second straight year? Yes. Houston currently has 4 wins, and could easily get 2 more in their last 3. If they do, it will put them directly in the mix for an Independence Bowl assignment from the Big 12. Because once again, the Big 12 sticks really tight to their record-based assignment, so there might not be much considerations put into the fact that they just played here.
TCU - Big 12
This is a pretty interesting consideration. TCU was just in the College Football National Championship game last year. They have 4 wins right now, meaning they must win 2 of their last 3 games to get eligible. However...those last 3 games include Texas and Oklahoma. So they will have to score a major upset to get enough wins to be considered for the Independence (or any) Bowl.
Colorado - Pac 12
Now we're cooking with fire. Could Coach Prime and Colorado could still make it to Shreveport for the Independence Bowl. They came out super hot, but have cooled way off. They're still at 4 wins, which means they need 2 wins in their last 3 games. But they have two ranked teams in their last 3. If they knock off Arizona, which is in Boulder, they suddenly have a very good chance to play in a bowl They would still have to beat Washington State in Pullman, Washington, but their final game is at Utah. So if they want 6 wins, they're going to need at least one upset.
Stanford - Pac 12
This one is also a long shot. Because Stanford needs to win-out to be bowl eligible. That means beating a ranked Oregon State and a ranked Notre Dame, both on the road. So this is highly unlikely...
We could actually keep going with this list. When you start to factor in the College Football Playoff system and how many teams that could pull out of each conference, and how that could reduce the teams available. Then when you work in the backup agreements and if they'd have enough teams, we really could list out 20+ teams.
As we get closer to the game, we will keep an eye on where the landscape stands. For right now, its getting a little clearer, but we're still a few weeks away from having a good idea.
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