Bowl Analysis 11/1713

There are three weeks left in the college football season and one thing is certain. Several bowl eligible teams are going to stay home.

American. Six bowl ties, four eligible. Rutgers has three chances to win one game and get eligible. SMU must win two of their final three (that includes games against Houston and UCF). Memphis has to go 3-0. If one of the three get eligible they leave Beef O'Brady open.

ACC. Eight bowl ties, eight eligible. Syracuse, Pitt and North Carolina each need to split their remaining two games to get eligible. Syracuse and Pitt play each other so one will get eligible. North Carolina has Old Dominion. Looks like the ACC may have two extra teams, one is guaranteed and three is improbable but possible.

Big 10. Eight bowl ties, seven eligible. Indiana has to win out, they play at Ohio State and host Purdue. Northwestern has to win out, they host Michigan State and travel to Illinois. Unlikely that Indiana will make it but Northwestern still has a fair shot. If either get eligible the Big 10 covers all of its spots. If both fail, Detroit is open.

Big XII. Seven bowl ties, six eligible. No one else can get eligible. Kansas does all the hopefuls a favor almost certainly sending Notre Dame to the Pinstripe Bowl. Two things to watch BCS (see discussion below) and possible wheeling dealing (see discussion below).

Conference USA. Six bowl ties, six eligible. FAU can still get eligible but have to win the last two, they host New Mexico State and FIU. La. Tech needs two wins. They host Tulsa and travel UTSA..

MAC. Three ties, six eligible with Central Michigan needing to win two 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, four eligible. UNLV, Colorado State and San Jose State each need one win. Wyoming need two wins. Fresno has a shot to bust the BCS which would give them seven bowls. If they come up short, Boise is most likely the empty game. More likely they have more than they can place.

PAC-12. Seven ties, eight eligible. Washington State needs one win. Utah needs two wins and travels to Washington State and hosts Colorado. Odds are they end up with nine eligible.

SEC. Ten ties, nine eligible. Miss St needs two wins hosting Ole Miss and traveling to Arkansas. Florida needs two wins they host Georgia Southern and Florida State. Tennessee must win out hosting Vandy and traveling to Kentucky. Florida is a long shot, Tennessee has somewhat better odds, Miss State barring an upset by Arkansas is in decent shape hosting Ole Miss. Worst case they get 12 eligible and have a team left over. Best case, no more get eligible and Shreveport and Birmingham come up short.

Sun Belt. Two ties, four eligible. ULM needs one both remaining games are on the road at USA and UL Lafayette. Troy has one shot hosting Texas State.

Independents. Notre Dame is eligible. BYU has already accepted a trip to Fight Hunger. Navy is headed to Armed Forces.

The BCS

Based on Jerry Palm's projection for this week (official comes later tonight), it appears that either Fresno State or Northern Illinois will bust (projected 15 and 16 respectively). UCF is projected at 17. The position of the AAC champion is critical. If a champion from an AQ league is worse than 16 a buster needs only be 16 or better instead of 12 or better. If UCF wins the AAC (and no league title game goes weird) and climb to 16 it becomes harder for the MWC or MAC to produce a buster.

Right now it appears that we will have a buster and the SEC, Pac-12, and ACC will place two in the BCS each.

That would give the SEC 11 bowl spots to fill potentially leaving Shreveport and maybe Birmingham open.

The Pac-12 would have eight spots to fill and currently has eight eligible and likely will have nine.

The ACC would have nine spots and is guaranteed to have at least nine eligible and could have one or possibly two more.

Now if both Fresno State and NIU stumble or all the AQ champs reach 16 or better and neither Fresno State or NIU makes it 12, there will be one BCS slot open that will likely go to the Big XII. Since the Big XII has filled its spots that would leave the Texas Bowl short.

Wheeling and Dealing.

Notre Dame has a back-up tie to go the Pinstripe, but with an abundance of AQ's with no place to go they may have some options. For example if Notre Dame wanted to play an AQ (AAC is but in name only) they could be a threat to go to Shreveport to face an ACC (for example Boston College) leaving Pinstripe the option to take Syracuse or Pitt.

Texas if open would be courted by both the ACC and Pac-12 for the chance to play a Big 10 team.

The MAC's back-up agreement with the ESPN owned bowls according to some only requires ESPN to fill one of those openings with a MAC. ESPN might choose to send the MAC to St. Pete to face CUSA while pulling an ACC to Birmingham or might opt to send an AAC from Birmingham to the Liberty in place of CUSA and set up a deal to pit the CUSA team vs a MAC in Birmingham while an ACC goes to St. Pete to face a CUSA.

What's it all mean for AState?

If the Red Wolves defeat Georgia State, AState can finish no worse than tied for second and would have defeated every other bowl eligible Sun Belt team except UL Lafayette and WKU and WKU would finish at least a game back of AState.

With no wheeling or dealing, UL Lafayette is faced with returning to the New Orleans Bowl or going to Mobile. The Cajuns would like to play Tulane in New Orleans but there is a significant chance Tulane will go to Hawaii instead and likely face Middle Tennessee, North Texas or Rice in New Orleans. Mobile could be an attractive option if NIU doesn't go to the BCS or doesn't end up in the Poinsettia to face Fresno State or Birmingham.

If Notre Dame doesn't go to Shreveport, the Cajuns if they win out could face an ACC team there leaving both New Orleans and Mobile open.