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UConn, yes that UConn, is bowl eligible

The Huskies have six wins, and can play in their first bowl game since 2015. Where might the independent team land?

Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Aaron Turner runs the ball against the Liberty Flames in the second quarter at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The UConn Huskies football team is officially bowl eligible after a 36-33 victory over the No. 19 Liberty Flames on Saturday, moving to 6-5 for the season. Assuming they find their way to a bid, this will be the Huskies’ first bowl appearance since they fell to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2015.

UConn has now become bowl eligible before the following teams: Auburn, Texas A&M, Miami, Oklahoma, and Michigan State. They defeated a ranked team, something that the USC Trojans can’t say they’ve done this season. And they did it all under the leadership of Jim Mora, who has revived a program that totaled ten wins over its previous five seasons.

Wins over Fresno State and Boston College helped bring them to this point, and the Huskies will finish out the season against Army next week. Sports Illustrated projects that UConn will face East Carolina in the Armed Forces Bowl in the postseason, but as an independent they don’t have a guaranteed path to a game.

It might take some maneuvering and politicking in December by athletic director David Benedict to put the Huskies in a postseason game, but they’ve certainly earned it in 2022.

Below is the list of games that don’t have a direct tie-in affiliation for a bowl game this season. That doesn’t mean there aren’t conference considerations for these bowl committees, but it does mean that Team X from Conference Y is not necessarily tied to that destination. And keep in mind potential trades and moves (often engineered by ESPN which owns plenty of bowl games themselves) are always possible.

Cure: December 16, Orlando, FL
LendingTree: December 17, Mobile, AL
Frisco: December 17, Frisco, TX
Myrtle Beach: December 19, Myrtle Beach, SC
Boca Raton: December 20, Boca Raton, FL
Armed Forces: December 22, Fort Worth, TX
Gasparilla: December 23, Tampa, FL
Camellia: December 27, Montgomery, AL
First Responder: December 27, Dallas, TX
Birmingham: December 27, Birmingham, AL

Nothing is ever set in stone but the New Year’s Six, and everything else is fungible. Let’s hope that’s enough to get a winning UConn football team (still seems weird to type) some warm weather around the holidays.