Old Dominion Fanbase Conflicted About The Bahamas Bowl

With the regular season complete in both the MAC and Conference USA, it was no surprise that the Bahamas Bowl was the first bowl to announce a matchup for the upcoming postseason. The Eastern Michigan Eagles and the Old Dominion Monarchs are heading out of the country in a first of sorts for both programs.

Eastern Michigan is playing in their first bowl since a trip to the California Bowl in 1987. That win over San Jose State was their only trip to a bowl as a FBS program. Since then, it has been doom and gloom in Ypsilanti as they came up short time and time again to secure a postseason berth.

Old Dominion is a completely different animal. They had a program a long long time ago, but shut it down for over 60 years. In 2008, the Monarchs officially started playing football at the FCS level before making the move to the FBS in 2014. After only three years at the FBS level, the Monarchs became bowl eligible (2014 was a 6-6 team but no postseason eligibility) for the very first time.

Now, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. A team that hasn’t played in a bowl in nearly 30 years and another team that is going to their first bowl ever are playing in the Bahamas. A trip to the Bahamas bowl for fanbases is not even a possibility for the majority of either fanbase.

Is it fair for this historic event for both programs to become a virtually television only event rather than something that could fill a stadium with fans excited to experience the college football postseason? I posed the question to Old Dominion fans and they had a variety of answers.

https://twitter.com/cfoutpost/status/803793886179131392

And the responses rolled in.

https://twitter.com/ODUandHEEL/status/803931380543586304

https://twitter.com/12thmonarch/status/803806892090859521

https://twitter.com/chrismettler19/status/804093434852233221

It should be noted that the Bahamas Bowl has only claimed attendance totals of just over 13,000 people in each of the first two years of the bowl. Those numbers were a far cry from the truth as the stadium looked virtually empty in both contests. Western Kentucky faced off versus Western Michigan and Middle Tennessee played Western Michigan in the first two years.

In comparison, UTSA is also making their first bowl appearance this fall with many projecting them to head to the New Mexico Bowl. That is a trip of just over 700 miles or basically 11 hours by car. In addition, hotel rooms are expected to be a bit more reasonable in New Mexico compared to the Bahamas.

For full disclosure, this is a list of all CUSA bowl partners:

  • Boca Raton Bowl: Boca Raton, Florida. December 20. (CUSA/MAC)
  • Hawaii Bowl: Honolulu, Hawaii. December 24. (CUSA/MWC)
  • New Mexico Bowl: Albuquerque, New Mexico. December 17. (CUSA/MWC)
  • Bahamas Bowl: Nassau, Bahamas. December 23. (CUSA/MAC)
  • New Orleans Bowl: New Orleans, Louisiana. December 17. (CUSA/Sun Belt)
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl: Dallas, Texas. December 27. (CUSA/Big 10)
  • Independence Bowl: Shreveport, Louisiana. December 26. (CUSA/ACC/SEC) *Secondary choice is AAC or SEC cannot fill slot*

The plane ticket price per person is surprisingly affordable, but as stated above, hotel rooms and traveling out of the country make it a very tough sell. Oh yeah, the game is played on December 23 as well. That makes your entire previously made holiday plans go up in flames, so there is that to consider.

I personally feel very conflicted about this game. While I am happy for both teams and excited for this matchup, there is only one chance to go to the first bowl game for the school you follow and very few people can say they did so. Alabama fans, Texas fans, and many other fans cannot say that unless they are at or close to 100 years old. This is a big deal for Old Dominion University and it is sad that very few Monarchs fans will be able to attend.

Let’s hear your opinions Old Dominion fans. Are you going to make the trip to the Bahamas for the game, or will you just watch it on TV? Are you disappointed that you will not get to see the first FBS bowl in school history in person.

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