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November 16, 2012With a pair of games left in the 2012 season, the Warhawks are looking to go where no other team in the school's history has gone before; to a bowl. Currently ULM sits with a 6-4 overall record, making them bowl eligible, however with thirty five games, and only seventy teams making the post season, more wins are needed to lock up the invitation.
Bowl games are a way to showcase a school's program against programs that they might not normally play, while also pocketing some extra monies too. The success of the post season is measured in just how successful they are in pulling this duel threat off, with expenses eating into the bottom line. The New Orleans bowl pays $50,000 cash to the participating schools, with another $300,000 possible from ticket sales. The conference foots the expense for travel and accommodations. For GoDaddy.com, the payout is based entirely on ticket sales; $750,000 is possible with the sales and no guarantees beyond the previously mentioned conference expenses taken care of.
ULM has received interest from bowl games across the nation, but seems to be projected by most publications as a likely selection for one of the Sun Belt Conference's contracted tie-ins; the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, or the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Representatives from both of these games have taken in Warhawk games this season, with more bowls expected to send committee members including the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.), Little Caesar's Bowl (Detroit), PinStripe Bowl (New York), St. Petersburg Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.), and Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.)
The current Sun Belt agreement with the New Orleans Bowl is that is must take the conference champion two out of every four years; something they must do this season or next. This leaves all teams in title contention and the bowl in a state of chaos regarding who will be in the December game.
"We are in the second year of our current agreement with the Sun Belt Conference, and it's exciting to see this conference continue to grow, from where we started eleven years ago into a league that has gotten the national respect that they deserve," New Orleans Bowl committee member Paul Valteau said. "You use the term chaos, we use the term excitement. We are excited about just how much is unknown, making the selection even more exciting and special for those involved."
The excitement for the New Orleans Bowl committee looks to be carrying over into the new leadership of Karl Benson. Benson took over for Wright Waters earlier this year and has been instrumental in the addition of several new teams to the league, while ensuring the remaining schools a chance to continue to grow.
"We are excited about the new commissioner, Karl Benson, as any and all excitement that we see from schools all starts at the top," New Orleans Bowl executive committee member Ron Gardner said. "We look a lot at the energy and the excitement that we see on campuses since that resonates through our city, throughout the game week.
So what are bowl games looking for from schools like ULM?
"Most people look at bowls from the top down, but we look at them from the bottom up," Valteau said. "We know that it's the fans that are the base of the teams that make them so great. The decision is made by a committee of ten people, that includes ULM athletic director Bobby Staub, and we all make a choice based on what's best for the conference. We get the first choice, and no one can pick until we do. We think that the choice, regardless who it is it will be great, and next year could be even better."