Monday, November 26, 2007

Bowl Scenarios, Part III

Some good things happened this past week for IU's bowl scenarios.

The big talk now is what will happen if Oklahoma beats Missouri in the Big 12 title game, since that could push Ohio State into the BCS title game and possibly move Illinois into the Rose Bowl. As absolutely horrifying as both of those possibilities sound, it could mean good things for IU, as it might push them up to the Champs Sports Bowl.

Since bowl bids will likely not be given out until after the BCS bowl bids are handed out (12/2), we have a week to speculate.

The main thing that IU has to worry about now are 7-5 teams that have been shut out of their conference bowl slots. Currently there are only 2 non-Big-Ten at-large teams that are 7-5: Western Kentucky and TCU. In addition, Florida Atlantic can become 7-5 with a win at Troy.

Several teams have accepted bowl bids already.

Here are the leagues that have bowl tie-ins that might not have enough bowl-eligible teams, and the teams that are bowl eligible or that can still become bowl eligible:

ACC (8 bowl tie-ins)
8 bowl eligible: Virginia (9-3), Virginia Tech (10-2), BC (10-2), Clemson (9-3), Wake Forest (8-4), FSU (7-5), Georgia Tech (7-5), Maryland (6-6)
0 at-large teams

Unless the ACC gets 2 BCS berths (which is unlikely), all of the ACC's bowl slots will be taken. However, they will not have any 7-5 at-large teams.

Big East (6 bowl tie-ins, although 2 are shared with the Big 12)
5 bowl eligible: Connecticut (9-3), West Virginia (10-1), Cincinnati (9-3), South Florida (9-3), Rutgers (7-4)
1 team that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
Louisville - 5-6 (Rutgers 11/29)
0 at-large teams

West Virginia will go to the BCS, leaving 5 slots for 4 teams. Louisville has a very tough home game against Rutgers to clinch a bowl berth. The five current bowl-eligible teams are the only teams from the Big East likely to go to a bowl. As noted above, the Big East and Big 12 share some bowl affiliations (the Sun Bowl and the Gator Bowl). The Sun Bowl can choose a Big 12 team twice or a Big East team (or Notre Dame, but that's not an issue) twice between 2006 and 2009. The Gator Bowl can also choose a Big East team, a Big 12 team, or Notre Dame, but doesn't appear to have any restrictions on who it chooses.

Big 12 (8 bowl tie-ins)
8 bowl eligible: Kansas (11-1), Missouri (11-1), Oklahoma (10-2), Texas (9-3), Texas Tech (8-4), Texas A&M (7-5), Oklahoma State (6-6), Colorado (6-6)
0 at-large teams

Between Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the Big 12 could get 2 BCS bids, which will leave 7 other bowls for 6 remaining currently bowl-eligible teams. Thus, the Texas Bowl (reserved for the #8 team from the Big 12) should be able to take an at-large team.

Conference USA (6 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: UCF (9-3), Tulsa (9-3), Houston (8-4), East Carolina (7-5), Memphis (7-5), Southern Miss (7-5)
0 at-large teams

C-USA will fill all 6 of its slots with no extra at-large teams. In fact, three teams have already accepted bowl bids: Memphis (New Orleans Bowl), Houston (Texas Bowl), and Southern Miss ( Bowl).

2 bowl eligible: Navy (7-4), Western Kentucky (7-5)
1 at-large team: Western Kentucky

Navy has already accepted a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl. Western Kentucky will not likely get a bowl bid.

MAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
5 bowl eligible: Bowling Green (8-4), Central Michigan (7-5), Ball State (7-5), Miami (OH) (6-6), Ohio (6-6)
2 at-large teams: Miami (OH), Ohio

The MAC will get its 3 bowl-eligible teams, but will not have any 7-5 at-large teams.

Mountain West (4 bowl tie-ins)
5 bowl eligible: BYU (9-2), Air Force (9-3), Utah (8-4), New Mexico (8-4), TCU (7-5)
1 at-large team: TCU

The MWC will have more than its 4 bowl-eligible teams, and one at-large team with a 7-5 record or better.

Pac-10 (6 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: Arizona State (9-2), Oregon (8-3), USC (9-2), Oregon State (7-4), Cal (6-5), UCLA (6-5)
1 team that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
Arizona - 5-6 (at Arizona State 12/1)
2 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games)
Cal (at Stanford 12/1)
UCLA (at USC 12/1)
0 at-large teams (currently)

UCLA's win over Oregon made it bowl eligible, although it will not likely get to 7-5. There is still an outside shot that the Pac-10 will get 2 BCS bids between Arizona State and USC. If the Pac-10 gets 2 BCS bids, that will leave 4 teams for 5 slots, thus opening the Armed Forces Bowl for an at-large bid.

SEC (8 bowl tie-ins)
10 bowl eligible: LSU (10-2), Georgia (10-2), Florida (9-3), Tennessee (9-3), Auburn (8-4), Arkansas (8-4), Kentucky (7-5), Mississippi State (7-5), South Carolina (6-6), Alabama (6-6)
1 or 2 at-large teams: South Carolina and/or Alabama

The SEC will likely get 2 BCS bids (probably LSU and Georgia), leaving 7 bowl slots for 8 bowl-eligible teams. However, there will not be any 7-5 at-large teams from the SEC.

Sun Belt (1 bowl tie-in)
1 bowl eligible: Troy (8-3), Florida Atlantic (6-5), UL-Monroe (6-6)
1 team that can become 7-5 (with remaining games):
Florida Atlantic 6-5 (at Troy 12/1)
2 at-large teams: FAU, UL-Monroe

Not that we would need to worry about an at-large FAU team, but it looks like they won't get to 7 wins anyway.

WAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
3 bowl-eligible: Hawaii (11-0), Boise State (10-2), Fresno State (7-4)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Nevada - 5-6 (Louisiana Tech 12/1)
Louisiana Tech - 5-6 (at Nevada 12/1)
1 at-large team: either Nevada or La Tech

If Hawaii finishes undefeated and goes to a BCS bowl, that will free up a WAC bowl if they don't have 3 other bowl-eligible teams, meaning that the WAC's bowl slots will be full if Nevada or La Tech wins a 6th game. Given that they play each other, it is mathematically impossible for both teams to end up at 5-7. However, the winner of that game will be 6-6, so an at-large berth is not an issue on the off chance that Hawaii doesn't finish 12-0.

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