In a delightful bit of college football irony, Conference USA announced that it will head for international waters and help found a new bowl game.
According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the conference will start playing postseason games in the Bahamas (as well as Boca Raton, Florida) in 2014:
C-USA will play in new bowl games in Bahamas & Boca Raton, sources told @ESPN. That's at least 38 bowls in 2014— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 20, 2013
Per McMurphy, Conference USA's foray to Nassau will be the first non-U.S. bowl game since Toronto's International Bowl in 2010:
New Bahamas Bowl will be in Nassau & will be 1st non-USA postseason bowl since Toronto's International Bowl 2007-10— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 20, 2013
It's a move McMurphy hinted at earlier this summer—and actually just the first of what could be many bowl games outside the U.S. Some of the other potential destinations McMurphy cited were Dubai, Toronto (again) and Ireland.
From his mid-June report:
As many as nine locations are under consideration to begin bowl games in 2014, according to sources: Miami, Orlando, Little Rock, Ark.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Montgomery, Ala.; Los Angeles; Ireland; Dubai and either Toronto or Nassau, Bahamas.
Any new bowls created in 2014 would be for the smaller conferences: the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt. An NCAA moratorium to add new bowls expires after the 2013 season.
It's not yet clear who C-USA will play in the Bahamas Bowl, but the conference did shed light on some of its other 2014-and-beyond bowl plans. According to Drew Champlin of AL.com, the following six bowls will be connected with Conference USA through 2019 (though not necessarily every season):
Of those six, New Mexico is the biggest get for C-USA, which, according to Champlin's report, will take the Pac-12's spot and play a team from the Mountain West. The conference's champion will no longer play in the Liberty Bowl, which has been usurped as a game between the SEC and Big 12.
But the advent of the Bahamas Bowl is the biggest news of the day, an exciting prospect both for its tropical backdrop and its poetic irony.
Though in a sport where San Diego State was this close to joining the Big East, I guess anything is possible.