Get your passports ready, Topper fans.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, and also carried on ESPN Radio.
"It’s definitely a great day to be a Hilltopper," WKU head coach Jeff Brohm said. "We’re extremely excited to be going bowling.
"We’re definitely thankful for Conference USA and the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl and we’re looking forward to this next challenge. I know our players are extremely happy. It’s something we’ve worked hard for. We’re excited to get down there and play a game but I know our families and fans are all excited for us as well. It is definitely a great day. I know our players will be ready for the challenge.
"We’re looking forward to playing a Central Michigan team that has the same record as us, a very good football team. They have a great win under their belt in beating Northern Illinois 34-17, who won the MAC. I know just a little about them so far but they finished No. 1 in their conference in total defense. It’ll be a great challenge for our offense to see how we match up. They have a pretty good quarterback and running back as well. We think it’s a great matchup and I know some of our players will be excited to get back against Central Michigan as well. It’s a great day and we’re excited to get down there and play this bowl game."
Christmas Eve won't be the first time some of WKU's players square off against Central Michigan--the two programs met in the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl, which CMU won 24-21.
"This is a team that beat us in the bowl game a couple of years ago," Brohm said. "So I know our players that have been here are looking forward to showing how far we’ve come since then.
"It’ll definitely be a challenge for us but we’re happy to play another game. To play it in a setting like this against a good, solid football team is going to be fun for our guys.”
It was a long wait for the program after their big win against Marshall on Nov. 28, knowing they were assured a bowl spot, but not knowing their destination until after the CFB playoff spots were announced.
“Officially we got the call a couple of hours ago after the 12 teams were announced that got into the contract bowls," WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said. "We knew all week long we were in a bowl and knew it would be, in all likelihood, Hawaii, Bahamas or Boca Raton. There were different scenarios for each of those three and as we followed the games yesterday we then knew it was either going to be Hawaii or the Bahamas being the most likely one. There were still some other dominoes that had to fall today so while we had a pretty good idea it was probably 2:15 (CT) when we got the formal invite.
“We’re certainly excited to have it. Again, I’m really proud of Jeff and our staff and really our whole program. If you think back going into the 2011 season we had gone through a three-year period where we were 4-32 as a program. Now we are one of 29 programs in the nation that has had seven or more wins in four-consecutive seasons. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time and Coach Brohm’s leadership is a big reason why we are able to keep that streak going.”
The teams are expected to arrive in Nassau on Dec. 20, where they will have a full week of bowl-events, making public appearances in the community and more leading up to the game.
CMU finished 7-5 overall this season, and 5-3 in the MAC. Football Outsiders' F/+ ratings ranks WKU at No. 65 nationally, and the Chippewas at No. 77 nationally.
Stay tuned with WKUInsider for more coverage leading up to the bowl game on Dec. 24.