No Bowl For The Jaguars
Unfortunately the South Alabama Jaguars football team were not extended an invitation to a bowl game their first season eligible. Though it was a long shot, many took to social media to plead USA case to a couple bowl committees. Their hard work and determination was fruitless this season, though it may not be forgotten in the future. A fan base as passionate as South Alabama’s are hard to silence.
The entire team including the group of 15 seniors who represent the first freshman recruiting class in South Alabama history, did their part. They rebounded after the season opening loss to Southern Utah. They went to Tennessee and were one play away from a tie or 2-point conversion attempt to defeat the Volunteers.
Again they rebounded after three consecutive losses and sitting at 3-6, they fought and dominated the remaining games, including the statistical top team in the conference, to get bowl eligible. Unfortunately beyond that, the bowl selections were out of their hands.
Had the bowl scenario had been similar to last season’s or next season, then the Jaguars may have fared better. Last season it went down to the final games of the season before enough teams were bowl eligible to fill all of the bowl slots before relying using newly passed rules to determine which teams could fill bowl slots who were not normally bowl eligible.
Also, beginning next season, there will be a couple new bowl games with tie-ins from the Sun Belt Conference. The Miami Beach Bowl will feature the American Athletic Conference facing a team from a six-year rolling rotation with Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. There will also be a Bahamas Bowl where the Sun Belt will be in rotation with up to five conferences including the Mountain West, Mid-American, American Athletic conference and Conference USA. Finally the new Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, AL will feature the Sun Belt and the Mid-American Conference.
Though, the new bowls are not a comfort for the sting of being passed over by the bowl committees this season, it does lend hope for next season. Though the team will be aiming at winning the conference title next season and not just getting bowl eligible and hoping one of the bowls extend an invitation.
Most of all, I am saddened that the inaugural recruiting class do not get to go to a bowl game and suit up one final time in the Red, White and Blue of South Alabama.
I think those of us that watch as many bowl games as they can will watch a game and think, ‘South Alabama could have done better than that.’ Unfortunately we will not know that.
To the Seniors, thank you. You chose a school that was short on facilities but long on dreams. You believed in the vision that Coach Jones, his staff, the administration and the students had. But it was you who made that vision possible. Anyone can build a building, but it takes a team to go out every day, working together, to the accomplish what has been accomplished over the past five seasons.
There will never be another inaugural class of recruits to the South Alabama football program. And there will not be another class of recruits that will accomplish what you have. Everything from here on out will be building on the foundation laid back in 2009 through 2013.
Again, thank you and we hope to not only see you but to see all of the graduates back in some form or fashion in the future. Because Jag Nation is a family and we always welcome family back.