Published Thu, Dec 1, 2011 11:59 am Dateline
Ohio football's bowl destinations and opponents are set, even before Friday's MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois.
According to multiple sources, Ohio will either play Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl January 8 in Mobile, Ala., or the WAC's Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Id. on December 17.
The Red Wolves and Aggies have already accepted bowl invites to Mobile and Boise, respectively.
The outcome of the MAC title game (Friday, 7 p.m.) will determine Ohio's bowl destination. With a win over the Huskies, Ohio will play in Mobile. With a loss, the team will travel to Boise.
Ohio is 0-5 in the postseason under head coach Frank Solich, including 0-2 in the conference's championship game. Ohio last played in the title tilt in 2009, when it lost to Central Michigan 20-10.
There was hope among Bobcat fans that Ohio could land in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit on December 27, but the same sources said there is "almost no chance" of the 'Cats playing at Ford Field for its bowl game. ESPN's Mark Schlabach predicted a Ohio/Ohio State bowl match-up in the Pizza bowl, but those chances have quickly dwindled if not disappeared.
The Gator Bowl has expressed interest in a Florida/Ohio State match-up for its bowl game, and the same Ohio sources believe Toledo - because of the Rockets' proximity to Detroit - will be invited to the Pizza Bowl to play a middle-tier Big Ten team (possibly Northwestern).
Ohio is in search of its first MAC Championship since 1968, when Cleve Bryant led Ohio to a 10-0 regular season and an appearance in the Tangerine Bowl, which Ohio lost to Richmond 49-42.
Ohio also has another chance to win the school's first-ever bowl game, regardless of where it plays. Ohio is 0-5 all-time in postseason bowl games. Last year, the Bobcats were thumped by Troy 41-14 in the New Orleans Bowl. Ohio is 0-3 in bowl games under Solich.
Ohio rides a five-game winning streak into the MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois.