2018 Bahamas Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick
Football in paradise.
It’s the 2018 Bahamas Bowl, because what football player doesn’t want a free trip to an island paradise?
This is the only international bowl out of 40 FBS postseason games to be played this year. It means fun in the sun as well as a trophy for one of the two teams. This year’s contenders are the Florida International Panthers, who just had to hop about 200 miles, and the Toledo Rockets. It does not matter who loses, because getting treated to a little bit of life in the Bahamas, they are all winners.
But seriously, one of these teams is going to lose. We attempt to put two and two together to figure out who that team is. Will it be the Rockets or the Fightin’ Butch Davises?
2018 Bahamas Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info
|Friday, December 21, 2018, 12:30pm ET (9:30am PT)|
|Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas|
|Broadcast on ESPN|
|$225,000 payout (Link: College Football Poll)|
|Toledo is a 6-point favorite|
2018 Bahamas Bowl: Florida International Panthers
|8-4 (6-2 Conference USA); T-2nd in C-USA East|
|Best Win: Middle Tennessee|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense T-30th, Total Offense 54th, Rushing Offense 64th, 3rd Downs 23rd, Time of Possession 47th, Turnover Margin T-12th, Sacks Allowed T-3rd, Red Zone T-95th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense T-46th, Total Defense 58th, Rushing Defense 100th, Opponent 3rd Downs T-94th, Sacks Per Game T-96th, TFL Per Game T-95th, Interceptions T-4th, Opponent Red Zone T-21st|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-40th, Punts Per Game T-123rd|
2018 Bahamas Bowl: Toledo Rockets
|7-5 (5-3 MAC); T-2nd in MAC West|
|Best Win: Western Michigan|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 11th, Total Offense 29th, Rushing Offense 23rd, 3rd Downs 77th, Time of Possession 73rd, Turnover Margin T-47th, Sacks Allowed T-83rd, Red Zone 107th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 84th, Total Defense 93rd, Rushing Defense 78th, Opponent 3rd Downs 18th, Sacks Per Game T-21st, TFL Per Game T-24th, Interceptions T-34th, Opponent Red Zone T-92nd|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-58th, Punts Per Game T-59th|
2018 Bahamas Bowl: Head-to-Head
This game will be the fourth all-time meeting between Florida International and Toledo.
FIU leads the series, 2-1.
All three games have been played within the past decade, with the first coming in 2008. Their most recent meeting was in 2010, which was a 34-32 Golden Panthers win. (Link: Winsipedia)
2018 Bahamas Bowl: Most Likely Standout Player
James Morgan, QB, FIU. The Panthers had a prolific offense in 2018, with Morgan as the catalyst. This was a career year for the quarterback, having completed over 65 percent of his passes, 2,727 yards to date, and 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Morgan started off the year on the Golden Arm Award Watch List and backed it up with a creditable season.
He bookended the regular season with games that were not great, Indiana and Marshall, but everything else in the middle was solid. No passer in Conference USA had a higher passer rating than James Morgan, and he was just two off of the C-USA lead for touchdown passes. Mason Fine of North Texas accumulated much more yardage (with 131 more attempts) but there is no doubt Morgan earned his acknowledgment as one of the conference’s top quarterbacks.
FIU faces a defense that does put pressure on the quarterback but also gets gashed for big passing plays. Toledo has allowed 26 pass plays of 30 yards or more this season, which is near the bottom of the national list. Florida International has hit more than a few such plays of their own (23 to be precise; tied for 26th in FBS).
2018 Bahamas Bowl: Pick
Neither one of these teams will scare you on defense but both might scare you on offense. That adds up to potential for a high-scoring game. In fact, we would be surprised if it is not. When you get into a slugfest, the more explosive offense is usually the one that wins. James Morgan should have a good game for the Panthers, but is his offense the most explosive? Toledo’s is, though FIU has had some success against the pass when on defense.
We are not going to overthink this one too much more. Vegas thinks this is going to be fairly high scoring and so do we; the sort of contest where the last team to have the ball could win.