Currently UL Lafayette at 5-1 holds a half game lead over Arkansas State at 5-2.
The assumption has been that if the Cajuns lose at South Alabama next Saturday that the result would not matter to AState. Some have thought that based on Sun Belt tie-breakers and others believe that the league no longer guarantees a spot to the league champ.
If that were correct, with the Cajuns accepting a bid to the New Orleans Bowl, Arkansas State would be hoping that the GoDaddy Bowl would not want a different Sun Belt team or would be hoping that an open bowl would take AState. The problem being that the only open bowl that would likely consider AState is the Independence Bowl who would have to turn down a Pac-12 team. While AState would easily bring more fans to Shreveport than a west coast team, a Pac-12 would likely be a better television draw.
However those assumptions appear to be wrong according to a document labeled "Football Sport Regulations updated August 1, 2013" found on the Sun Belt website. Link here Below is the relevant text with my notations in italics.
3.2 Championship Determination: The Sun Belt Conference champion shall be the team that has the
highest winning percentage in Conference games during the regular season. To be eligible for the
Conference championship, a minimum of six Conference games must be played.If South Alabama defeats Louisiana, AState and Louisiana will have winning percentages of .714 in Conference games.
3.2.1 Co-Champions: If more than one team shares the highest winning percentage in Conference games, co-champions shall exist. Ok, a tie means co-champs, pretty simple so far
3.3 Postseason Bowl Games: Conference football teams shall be selected to participate in postseason bowl games as follows:
3.3.1 Participation: A team becomes eligible for a conference-contracted bowl game when the team
reaches 6 wins. A team with 6 wins also becomes eligible to participate in a game where the
conference has a secondary participation agreement and/or be placed in the BCS at-large pool. Six teams are at this point, Louisiana, AState, Western Kentucky, Troy, Texas State, ULM. USA can make it with a win at home over the Cajuns
3.3.2 Selection/Placement: Selection will be determined by the following process:
184.108.40.206 SBC champion is guaranteed a bowl spot in either one of the two SBC contracted games;
or as an at-large against the best possible opponent in the best possible bowl game.
Skipping rules about not negotiating with bowls leaving it to the league to handle
220.127.116.11 If there are co-champions; both teams are guaranteed a spot as long as both have a minimum of 7 regular season wins. If one of the co-champions has a 6-6 regular season record and is not selected by one of the SBC contracted bowls, that team will be placed in the pool of other at-large SBC teams. BINGO! AState is at 7 regular season wins, a win by USA makes AState a co-champ and guarantees a bowl berth.
Based on this publication, a South Alabama win means AState has to be placed in a Sun Belt tied bowl unless the Red Wolves are placed in a bowl that isn't contracted with the Sun Belt.
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