The Sun Belt Conference will have five opportunities to build on its bowl success of 2016.
After its football teams went 4-2 in the postseason games last year, the top five teams in the conference are bowl eligible and have learned where they are headed in bowl games.
Troy and Appalachian State shared the conference title with 7-1 records in conference games, though Troy finished 10-2 overall including a win at LSU, and Appalachian State finished 8-4.
Troy was chosen for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and will face North Texas (9-4) on Dec. 16. North Texas won the West Division of Conference USA with a 7-1 league mark and fell to Florida Atlantic 41-17 in the conference title game.
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Appalachian State will face Mid-American Conference champion Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl on Dec. 23 in Mobile, Ala. The Rockets (11-2) went 7-1 in the conference to win the MAC West title and defeated Akron 45-28 in the conference championship game.
Arkansas State (7-4), which finished third in the Sun Belt at 6-2 after falling late against Troy on Saturday, will face Middle Tennessee State (6-6) in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on Dec. 16 in Montgomery, Ala. MTSU went 4-4 in Conference USA.
Georgia State (6-5, 5-3) will face Western Kentucky (6-6), which tied for third in the Conference USA East Division with MTSU and Marshall at 4-4 in the conference, in the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 16 in Orlando.
New Mexico State (6-6) finished in a three-way tie for fifth in its final year in the Sun Belt at 4-4 with Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe but was the only team among the three with a winning record to qualify for a bowl. The Aggies will face Utah State (6-6), which finished 4-4 in the Mountain West Conference, in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in Tucson on Dec. 29.
The New Orleans, Dollar General and Camellia bowls will all be broadcast on ESPN, while the Cure and Arizona bowls will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
The Sun Belt’s bowl arrangements allow each bowl the liberty of choosing the team they find most attractive for their game. A team’s status as conference champion or its spot in the league standings is not tied to the selections.
The New Orleans Bowl has the first selection, as it has since the conference began sponsoring football in 2001. It is followed by the Dollar General, Camellia, Cure and Arizona bowls in the selection order.
The conference, which will be pared to 10 teams next year with the loss of Idaho and NMSU, will be split into two five-team divisions and have a championship game in 2018.
Coastal Carolina will be grouped in the East Division with Appalachian State, Troy, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.