I think there is potential and they are being smart with the conference tie-ins.
It's not ever going to sell out, but because they are pulling from two conferences with regional presence, there are going to be years where the bowl has a very respectable turnout compared to other lower-tier bowls.
The draw of lower-tier bowls isn't so much the destination... it's just the fact that fans get to go to a bowl game. It's not an automatic, every year thig for most of these schools. If Tulsa is playing LA Tech (assuming they join he SBC when the WAC folds), I'd bet 40k is an attainable goal for the Rice Bowl. ASU, Troy, North Texas, MTSU, UAB, Southern Miss, etc. would all bring folks.
The Liberty Bowl is a shithole in a shithole town, and ECU brought a very respectable contingent in 2009.
As long as its a doable trip for both schools I think there is potential for some decent crowds.