Bowl Analysis 11/2/14

Just enough upsets on Saturday to make things messier. In short, if you are Georgia Southern, things did not go your way but you aren't dead yet.

I’ve changed this up a bit from the past. Right now we have a LOT of schools needing one win to be eligible or to be knocked out and we have four nearly full weeks of play left plus a smattering of games the week of December 6 in addition to league title games and the suddenly looking relevant Army-Navy game on December 12.

My first change is I won’t list the remaining schedule of teams looking to get eligible until later in the season. There are just too many right now and many are pretty much locks to either fail or make it. Easier to let it sort out.

The second change is I no longer apply the “eyeball test” to determine who might make it or not except in analysis. Instead I am using the Massey Ratings across the board. There are some results I don’t agree with but this takes my bias out.

There are 46 teams eligible. Using the Massey projections of remaining games there are 34 that ought to get eligible for 80 with four left out. I can’t say this strongly enough, I think the Massey projection is very optimistic and is over-stating the eligible schools by four or five.

The third change, I’m using Jerry Palm’s projections for the CFP and “Host” bowls. Jerry Palm is projecting #1 Florida State #2Alabama, #3 Oregon, #4 TCU filling the playoff and Miss. St., Michigan State, Clemson, Auburn, Arizona State, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Marshall to fill Cotton, Orange, Fiesta, and Peach. I am using those projections to analyze each conference. I’m not sold on his picks but it’s so early in the process I’ll take them.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
BOWLS: Miami Beach, Military, St Pete, Birmingham, Armed Forces (no published pick order). Also backs up Liberty and Independence
Teams Eligible: East Carolina
Teams Out: Tulsa and SMU
Teams Alive: @5-3: Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple @2-6: Tulane, Cincinnati @3-6 USF
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. ECU is in, the projected remaining wins of the others:
Memphis is favored @Temple, @Tulane, USF, UConn
Cincinnati is favored @UConn @Temple and Houston.
Houston is favored Tulane, Tulsa, @SMU
UCF favored over Tulsa, SMU, @USF
Temple is favored @Tulane
ANALYSIS: The AAC should fill its five slots and with ECU likely out of the Access Bowl with a second loss they will likely fill the Liberty. This may finally be the year Memphis plays at home rather than sit at home in bowl season. Unlikely to cover the Independence back-up.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
< BOWLS: 1. Orange, 2. Citrus, 3. Russell Athletic, 4-7. Belk, Pinstripe, Sun, Music City, Tax Slayer 8-10. Military, Independence, Detroit. 11. St Pete Bitcoin. Also backs up Birmingham
Teams Eligible: Florida State, Clemson, Boston College, Louisville, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami
Teams Out: None
Teams Alive: @5-4 NC State, @4-5 UNC, Virginia, Pitt, Va. Tech @3-6 Syracuse @2-6 Wake Forest
Teams Expected to be eligible: 10. In addition to the 7 listed, the following project to eligible with the anticipated wins:
NC State over Wake Forest
North Carolina over Pitt and NC State
Virginia Tech @Wake Forest and Virginia
ANALYSIS: ACC is projected two in CFP/Host. Notre Dame is available to be selected by ACC bowls. ACC will be short in St. Pete. I think North Carolina getting eligible is optimistic so I say Independence is short despite the model I’m using saying otherwise.

BIG TEN
BOWLS: CFP/Host Bowl (replacing Rose), Orange/Citrus, Outback, Holiday, Tax Slayer/Music City, Pinstripe, San Francisco, Detroit, Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces (this is expected order)
Teams Eligible: Michigan State, Ohio State, Maryland, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin
Teams Out: None
Teams Alive: @5-4 Rutgers @4-4 Penn State @4-5 Michigan, Illinois @3-5 Indiana, Northwestern @3-6 Purdue
Teams Expected to be eligible: 10. In addition to the 7 eligible the following are favored to get eligible.
Rutgers over Indiana
Penn State @Indiana, Temple, @Illinois
Northwestern over Michigan @Purdue, Illinois
ANALYSIS: The model gives the Big 10 a total of ten in. Northwestern not dropping two is overly optimistic for me. I think they are short of Heart of Dallas.

BIG XII
BOWLS: CFP/Host (replacing Sugar), Alamo, Russell Athletic, Texas, Liberty, Cactus (also backs up Armed Forces)
Teams Eligible: Kansas State, TCU, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma
Teams out: none
Teams Alive: @5-4 Oklahoma State @4-5 Texas, @3-6 Texas Tech @2-6 Iowa State, Kansas
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. The five eligible plus Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State over Texas
ANALYSIS: They make all their games but cannot back-up the Armed Forces. Game to watch is Texas at Oklahoma State, a Longhorn upset probably doesn’t get UT eligible but should knock the Cowboys out.

CONFERENCE USA
BOWLS: Bahamas, Boca Raton, Hawaii, Heart of Dallas, New Mexico (no published pick order). Also backs up Independence
Teams eligible: Marshall, Louisiana Tech
Teams out: none
Teams Alive: @5-3 Rice, UTEP @5-4 MTSU, UAB, @3-5 WKU @3-6 FAU, FIU, Southern Miss, Old Dominion (FCS Transitional) @2-6 North Texas
Teams Expected to be eligible: 7. In addition to the two eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
Rice over UTSA, UTEP
UTEP over North Texas, MTSU
MTSU @FIU, FAU
UAB @Southern Miss
WKU over UTEP, Army, UTSA
ANALYSIS: Right now Marshall looks like the leader for the Access Bowl, so they will fill their slots and back-up the Independence with no teams left over if the model is right. WKU has almost no margin for error and UAB has to beat one of La.Tech and Marshall at home or win at Southern Miss. If one stumbles Indy is open on both sides.

MID-AMERICAN
BOWLS: 1. GoDaddy 2-5. Camellia, Potato, Boca Raton, Bahamas. Also backs up Poinsettia and Detroit
Teams Eligible: Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan
Teams Out: UMass, Miami, Kent State, Eastern Michigan
Teams Alive: @5-3 Bowling Green, Toledo @4-4 Akron @4-5 Ohio @3-5 Ball State, Buffalo (has two FCS)
Teams Expected to be eligible: 8. In addition to the three eligible the following are projected to qualify.
Toledo @Kent State @NIU, Bowling Green, @Eastern Michigan
Bowling Green @Akron, Kent, Ball State
Akron @Buffalo, UMass, @Kent
Ohio over Buffalo, @Miami (OH)
Ball State over NIU, @UMass, Eastern Michigan
ANALYSIS: Right now the models says they have three more teams than they have slots for. The Poinsettia back-up probably doesn’t come into play and Detroit probably does not either. I’m not buying that Ball State will win three of the final four. That gives them only two extras.

MOUNTAIN WEST
BOWLS: Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Potato, New Orleans (this is expected order). Also backs up Cactus
Teams Eligible: Nevada, Colorado State, Boise State, Air Force
Teams Out: Hawaii, UNLV
Teams Alive: @6-3 Utah State (plays 13 games) @4-4 San Diego State @4-5 Wyoming @3-5 San Jose State, New Mexico @3-6 Fresno
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. In addition to the four eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
Utah State @Wyoming, New Mexico, San Jose State, @Boise State
San Diego State over Idaho, Air Force, San Jose State
ANALYSIS: On pace to cover their games with no one available to back-up Cactus. I think six eligible is right.

PAC-12
BOWLS: 1. CFP/Host (replacing Rose), 2. Alamo 3. Holiday 4. San Francisco 5. Sun 6. Las Vegas 7. Cactus
Teams Eligible: Oregon, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Utah
Teams Out: Washington State, Colorado
Teams Alive: @6-3 Washington (plays 13 games) @5-4 Cal, Stanford @4-4 Oregon State
Teams Expected to be eligible: 8. In addition to the six eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
Washington over Oregon State @Washington State
Stanford over Utah @Cal
ANALYSIS: They are projected to place two in CFP/Host if they hit their projected teams they cover all the bowls with no one left over. I’m pretty comfortable with Pac-12 getting 8 but the wrinkle comes from “the Big Game”. Stanford can get eligible at home against Utah and has to go to Cal who needs it to stay alive. Pac-12 having an extra would not be a surprise.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
BOWLS: 1. CFP/Host (replacing Sugar) 2. Citrus 3-8. Outback, Texas, TaxSlayer, Music City, Belk, Liberty. 9. Birmingham 10. Independence
Teams Eligible: Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas A&M
Teams Out: none
Teams Alive: @5-4 Kentucky @4-3 Florida @4-5 South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas @3-6 Vanderbilt Teams Expected to be eligible: 10. In addition to the eight teams eligible the following project to get eligible.
Florida @Vandy, South Carolina, Eastern Kentucky
Tennessee over Kentucky @Vandy
ANALYSIS: With four projected CFP or Host Bowl teams, the SEC looks to fill only six other spots. Birmingham and Independence will be vacant. One of Outback, Texas, TaxSlayer, Music City, Belk, Liberty will be vacant. Since only Liberty has a signed back-up agreement I suspect Liberty may be first out so I expect that to be the vacant bowl. Ten for the SEC looks pretty solid to me. If UK beats Tenn it just swaps the Vols and Wildcats.

SUN BELT
BOWLS: New Orleans, GoDaddy, Camellia
Teams Eligible: None (but transitional Georgia Southern is eligible if fewer than 76 are eligible after applying other exceptions)
Teams Out: New Mexico State, Troy, Idaho, Georgia State
Teams Alive: @5-3 Louisiana Lafayette, Arkansas State, Texas State, South Alabama @3-5 ULM, Appalachian State (FCS transitional)
Teams Expected to be eligible: 4. The following schools project to be eligible.
Louisiana Lafayette @NMSU @ULM, App State, @Troy
Arkansas State over South Alabama, App St, @TXST, NMSU
South Alabama over Texas State
Texas State @Georgia State
ANALYSIS: Georgia Southern needs no more than 75 to get eligible. Otherwise four from the Sun Belt is probably right.

INDEPENDENTS
BOWLS: Notre Dame CFP/Host Bowl and some ACC bowls, Navy Poinsettia, BYU Miami Beach, Army Armed Force
Teams Eligible: Notre Dame
Teams Out: None
Teams Alive: @5-4 BYU @4-5 Navy @2-6 Army
Teams Expected to be eligible: 3. The following are expected to become eligible in addition to Notre Dame:
BYU over UNLV, Savannah State, @Cal
Navy @South Alabama @Army
ANALYSIS: BYU should cover Miami Beach, Navy should cover Poinsettia, Armed Forces will be open.