Bowl Analysis 11/12/13

There are still several weeks of play left but the bowl picture is coming into focus already.

American. Six bowl ties, four eligible. Rutgers has four shots at getting the 6th win they need (Cincinnati, @UCF, @UConn, USF). USF and Memphis would each have to go 4-0 down the stretch to get eligible. SMU has to go 3-1. Beating UConn at home is plausible. Winning at USF is plausible but they'd have to split at Houston and home vs. UCF. Most likely they leave Beef O'Brady open.

ACC. Eight bowl ties, six eligible. Syracuse needs one win they are at Florida State, host Pitt and Boston College. Boston College needs one win, they host NCState, at Maryland, at Syracuse. Pitt needs one win out of UNC, Miami and at Syracuse. Maryland needs one win at VaTech and NCState and host BC. Wake Forest has to win out hosting Duke and at Vandy. North Carolina needs two playing at Pitt, hosting Old Dominion and Duke. ACC will have an extra team, maybe two.

Big 10. Eight bowl ties, seven eligible. Indiana needs two wins they are at Wisconsin and Ohio State and host Purdue. Nortwestern needs two hosting Michigan, Michigan State and traveling to Illinois. The Illini have to win out and they host Ohio State this week, if they improbably win, they still have to go to Purdue and host Northwestern. If no one else gets eligible Detroit is open.

Big XII. Seven bowl ties, five eligible. Kansas State needs one win host TCU and OU and travel to Kansas. West Virginia needs two wins, they are at Kansas and host Iowa State. TCU needs two wins they are at Kansas State and host Baylor. Odds favor them filling their bowls unless Northern Illinois and Fresno both lose and open the door to a second BCS team from the Big XII. Then New Era Pinstripe is open to be filled by Notre Dame. In the unlikely event they short two games Texas Bowl would be the next one to come open.

Conference USA. Six bowl ties, six eligible. FAU can still get eligible but have to win the last three (which is possible), they are at Southern Miss and host New Mexico State and FIU. La. Tech needs two wins. They host Tulsa and travel to Rice and UTSA.

MAC. Three ties, six eligible with Central Michigan needing to win three in a row to get eligible. They will send teams to Detroit, Mobile, and Boise and have back-up ties with Beef O'Brady, BBVA Compass, New Mexico and Poinsettia.

Mountain West. Six bowl ties, three eligible. UNLV, San Diego State, and San Jose State each need one win. Colorado State and Wyoming need two wins. Fresno is on track to bust the BCS which would give them seven bowls. If they come up short, Boise is most likely the empty game.

PAC-12. Seven ties, eight eligible. If they put two in the BCS then they are covered. Washington State and Utah both need two more wins. If Utah can win at Washington State, chances are Utah makes it because they close with Colorado.

SEC. Ten ties, eight eligible. Vandy needs one win hosting Kentucky and Wake Forest and traveling to Tennessee. MissSt needs two wins hosting Bama and Ole Miss and traveling to Arkansas. Florida needs two wins they host Georgia Southern and Florida State and travel to South Carolina. Tennessee must win out hosting Vandy and traveling to Kentucky. Best case scenario, Vandy gets eligible while Tennessee, MissSt, and Florida do not. With two in the BCS, the SEC would short Independence and BBVA Compass. More likely Independence is short.

Sun Belt. Two ties, three eligible. AState can make it Saturday with a win. ULM still travels to USA and UL Lafayette. Troy travels to Ole Miss and hosts Texas State.

Independents. Notre Dame is eligible. BYU has already accepted a trip to Fight Hunger. Navy needs one win.

The games likely short are Detroit, St. Pete, Shreveport and Birmingham. The bad news is the MAC has back-up agreements with St. Pete and Birmingham.

Notre Dame is homeless unless the Big XII comes up short in New York. Given the options, Notre Dame either goes to Shreveport to play an ACC or they lean on ESPN to move CUSA out of Hawaii and into Detroit so they can go to Hawaii or they declare they will stay home. I find it unlikely they will stay home.

Right now my best guess is Notre Dame vs. ACC in Shreveport. A Pac-12 or ACC in Detroit vs. the MAC. The MAC fills Beef O'Brady and BBVA Compass.

Where it could get crazy.

There are conflicting accounts regarding the nature of the MAC's back-up deals. Some say MAC fills any vacancies in any ESPN owned game but others say ESPN is only obligated to fill one vacancy with the MAC. If the latter is correct ESPN probably would want to send the MAC to Birmingham and then find a slot for the CUSA team headed to St. Pete. Likely brokering a deal to send Tulane to Shreveport opening Beef O' Brady to take Notre Dame and an ACC team. I think they broker it for Tulane because the ACC would be happier playing Tulane in Shreveport than some non-AQ state school.

Unless some miracle wheeling-dealing takes place the Sun Belt has two berths.

My bet is that any thoughts UL Lafayette may have of wanting to go to Mobile will be put to rest because Northern Illinois and the MAC are going to want to send NIU to Poinsettia to face either Boise State or Fresno.

That means AState, Texas State, Western Kentucky and potentially ULM and Troy are jockeying for Mobile with AState holding the clear inside track with at least two more wins.