Even with 78 bowl slots available, several teams are jostling to snag the last ones, including Miami University.
The RedHawks (6-6) are soliciting $35 deposits through Saturday night to show bowls their fans will travel. They are in this situation because the Mid-American Conference has five bowl tie-ins but seven eligible teams.
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Toledo (7-5) avoided the drama by accepting an early invitation from the Bahamas Bowl. Slots will go to Buffalo (10-2) and Northern Illinois (7-5), which met Friday in the MAC championship game. And at 8-4, Ohio seems certain to go to a bowl for the ninth time in 10 years.
That leaves the RedHawks essentially competing with Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan, both 7-5. The Eagles stated their case in a video posted to social media. Coach Chris Creighton set up players lip-syncing in their stadium to “Say My Name,” the Destiny Child’s song from 1999. Running back Willie Parker sang into an oversized bowling pin.
If Miami had a similar viral moment to make it stand out, it came Nov. 7 in coach Chuck Martin’s comments after a 30-28 win at home over Ohio. He was beside himself after hearing unhappy fans during the game and learning that the “Battle of the Bricks” rivalry, which dates to 1908, has no trophy.
“It’s a pretty big deal! I’m like, ‘Where’s the dang trophy?’” Martin said in the more printable part of his comments. “I guess it’s not that big of a deal if no one can afford a trophy for the rivalry. It just shows how cheap the schools are in this league."
In addition to fighting the perception of the MAC, Miami will watch 5-6 schools, including Virginia Tech, N.C. State and South Carolina, play games Saturday to replace ones canceled in September as they try to become eligible. That could douse the chances for a MAC team to take a slot belonging to another conference.