Southern Miss is headed back to the New Orleans Bowl for the second straight season and will face one of the nation's hottest teams, Middle Tennessee.

Coach Rick Stockstill's Blue Raiders (9-3) reached nine wins for the first time since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999 and enter the postseason on a six-game winning streak, also a team high in that span.

The New Orleans Bowl's Sun Belt Conference slot typically goes to the champion, but Troy headed to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile instead, opening the opportunity for Middle Tennessee. It will be the Blue Raiders' second bowl appearance in Stockstill's four seasons.

Larry Fedora's Golden Eagles (7-5) beat Troy 30-27 in an exciting 2008 installment that was decided late. They will be playing in their 12th bowl in 13 years.

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