Bowl Analysis 11-9-14

Nothing super dramatic this weekend, only a few teams getting eligible and several we’ve been waiting to drop out of the bowl race finally did.


As I explained last week. I use two models for projecting. Massey Ratings to determine who will be eligible, and Jerry Palm to project slots that taken by the CFP teams and the teams placed in bowls by the Selection Committee. Using Massey, the number projected eligible is 77 and there are 76 spots. Last week the Massey model had 80 eligible and I thought it over-stated the number, I tend to think 77 maybe a few teams too high as well.

Currently there are 51 teams eligible and 24 out (27 if you count transitional teams as out). There are 23 teams needing one win to be eligible and 17 one loss from elimination (16 taking ODU off the list). So we are starting with 128 and if 52 become ineligible that leaves 76 eligible covering every game. Taking the three transitional teams as out and add the 24 with six or more losses and the 16 potentially eligible who would be eligible with six wins but are one loss from being out, that leaves you have 43 out or out with one more loss and 67 eligible or one win from eligible.

We have three mostly full weeks to get it sorted out and a short week when only AAC and Big 12 play regular season games. Then we have the December 13th dilemma. Bowl pairings will be announced December 7. Army and Navy meet December 12. Army, if they win at WKU and beat Fordham will be bowl eligible for Armed Forces with a win over Navy. Navy needs two more wins to be eligible. If they split with Georgia Southern (home) and USA (road) they have to beat Army to be bowl eligible. Navy loses both Georgia Southern and USA and Army loses one of WKU and Fordham then Army-Navy means nothing. Likewise, if Navy sweeps Georgia Southern and USA and Army loses one, the Army-Navy game means nothing to the bowls. But if one or both arrives needing a win to be bowl eligible it gets ugly. The Poinsettia (Navy) and/or Armed Forces (Army) would have to extend a conditional invite. If their tied team becomes eligible they take them but if not, then they need someone else is waiting in the wings. This isn’t a huge problem for Armed Forces because it is played January 2nd, 20 days after Army-Navy. It is a HUGE problem for Poinsettia because it is 10 days after the Army-Navy game.

Games to watch this week:
-Indiana at Rutgers. A win by Rutgers makes them eligible. A loss means they have to win at either Maryland or Michigan State to make it. Knights are on a three game slide. Indiana stays alive with a win but would have to win at Ohio State the next week. Hoosiers have dropped four in a row.
-Wake Forest at NC State. Wake has lost 5 in a row and only won twice this year but a win means NC State has to win at UNC to get eligible.
-Pitt at UNC. Winner is 5-5 and loser is 4-6 and probably out while the winner doesn’t have an easy path. Best outcome is probably a UNC win because Pitt probably loses at Miami and is out and UNC has to win one of @Duke and NC State at home.
-Texas at Oklahoma State. No real impact on the number of available teams but it is an elimination game. Winner is eligible. If Texas loses they have to beat TCU in Austin. If OKSt loses they have to either win at Baylor or at Oklahoma.
-Army at WKU. Win by Army forces WKU to win out and they travel to Marshall. Win by WKU formally eliminates Army but if Fordham isn’t at the scholarship limit, Army still has problems, they would be ineligible at 6 wins but ahead of FCS transition teams.
-Kentucky at Tennessee. A win by UK makes them eligible, loss means they have to win at Louisville. Tennessee win means the Vols have win one of Mizzou in Knoxville or at Vandy but a loss requires a sweep.
-Texas State at South Alabama. Winner is in. If Texas State wins, USA has to win one of @South Carolina and Navy. If USA wins Texas State has to either beat AState in San Marcos or win at Georgia State. A Texas State win puts USA in a worse position compared to where TXST is if USA wins. Utah at Stanford. A Utes win means Stanford’s best chance of eligibility is at Cal. Stanford wins they are in.

BOWLS POSSIBLY LOOKING FOR A TEAM OR TEAMS (* = confident spot will be vacant):
St. Pete (ACC*)
Cactus (Big 12*) (MWC backup*)
Quick Lane Detroit (ACC) (Big 10)
Independence (ACC) (CUSA backup) (SEC*) (AAC backup)
Military (ACC)
Heart of Dallas (Big 10)
Birmingham (SEC)
Armed Forces (Army*)
Poinsettia (Navy)

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 and Memphis
Teams Out: Tulsa, SMU, UConn
Teams Alive: @5-3: UCF, Cincinnati @5-4 Houston, Temple @3-6 USF, Tulane
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. ECU and Memphis in, the projected remaining wins of the others:
Cincinnati is favored over ECU @UConn @Temple and Houston.
Houston is favored over Tulane, Tulsa, @SMU
UCF favored over Tulsa, SMU, @USF Temple is favored @Tulane
ANALYSIS: Weekend brought no notable changes. AAC should fill its five slots and with ECU still likely out of the Access Bowl, if they miss Access they can cover their back-up in Liberty if it comes open, right now both SEC and Big XII look to be able to cover the Liberty but AAC also backs up Independence.

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: Wake Forest and Syracuse
Teams Alive: @5-5 NC State, @4-5 UNC, Pitt, Va. Tech @4-6 Virginia
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/Selection Committee Bowls. Notre Dame is available to be selected by ACC bowls. ACC will be short in St. Pete. The model still projects 10 but I tend to think one of NC State, UNC, and Va.Tech comes up short. If it is 9 then one of Detroit Quick Lane, Independence and Military is open as well.

BIG TEN
BOWLS: CFP/Selection Bowl, 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: Purdue
Teams Alive: @5-4 Rutgers, Penn State @5-5 Michigan, @4-5 Illinois @3-6 Indiana, Northwestern
Teams Expected to be eligible: 9. In addition to the 7 eligible the following are favored to get eligible.
Rutgers over Indiana
Penn State over Temple, @Illinois
ANALYSIS: The model drops Northwestern this week. Big 10 should have two in selection bowls. The model has Michigan out I think they have a good shot at beating Maryland and making it for 10 eligible. If Michigan doesn’t make it, Heart of Dallas or Detroit is open

BIG XII
BOWLS: CFP/Selection, Alamo, Russell Athletic, Texas, Liberty, Cactus (also backs up Armed Forces)
Teams Eligible: Kansas State, TCU, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma
Teams out: Iowa State
Teams Alive: @5-4 Oklahoma State @5-5 Texas, @3-6 Texas Tech, Kansas
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. The five eligible plus Oklahoma State.
Texas @ Oklahoma State
ANALYSIS: Texas win this week makes Texas vs. OK State a winner goes bowling game. Model flips and UT picked now. With Baylor and TCU now both likely to make CFP or a Selection Committee bowl, the Big 12 should be short in Cactus and unable to back-up Armed Forces.

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, Rice
Teams out: FIU, FAU, USM, UTSA
Teams Alive: @5-4 UTEP MTSU @5-5 UAB, @4-5 WKU @4-6 ODU (FCS transitional) @3-6 North Texas
Teams Expected to be eligible: 7. In addition to the three eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
UTEP over North Texas, MTSU
MTSU @FIU, FAU
UAB @Southern Miss
WKU over 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 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: Bowling Green, Toledo, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan
Teams Out: UMass, Miami, Kent State, Eastern Michigan
Teams Alive: @5-5 Ohio @4-5 Akron @3-6 Ball State, Buffalo (has two FCS)
Teams Expected to be eligible: 7. In addition to the five eligible the following are projected to qualify.
Akron @Buffalo, UMass, @Kent
Ohio @Miami (OH)
ANALYSIS: The model had Ball State over NIU (didn’t buy it) which didn’t happen and Ball no longer projects eligible. Model projects they will have two more teams than bowls. The Poinsettia back-up probably doesn’t come into play and Detroit may not either.

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, Utah State
Teams Out: Hawaii, UNLV
Teams Alive: @5-4 San Diego State @4-6 Wyoming, Fresno @3-6 San Jose State, New Mexico
Teams Expected to be eligible: 6. In addition to the five eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
San Diego State over 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/Selection (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: @6-4 Washington (plays 13 games) @5-4 Cal, Stanford @4-5 Oregon State
Teams Expected to be eligible: 9. In addition to the six eligible the following are projected to be eligible.
Washington over Oregon State @Washington State
Stanford over Utah @Cal
Cal over BYU
ANALYSIS: This week the model projects Cal to win at home over BYU make the Bears eligible. Pac-12 is projected to place two in CFP/Selection if they hit their projected teams they cover all the bowls with one left over. First rule of bowl analysis, you NEVER want a major conference with a team looking for a spot.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
BOWLS: 1. CFP/Selection (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: Vanderbilt.
Teams Alive: @5-3 Florida @5-5 Kentucky @4-5 Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee
Teams Expected to be eligible: 10. In addition to the eight teams eligible the following project to get eligible.
Florida over South Carolina, Eastern Kentucky
Tennessee over Kentucky @Vandy
ANALYSIS: Only two currently projected CFP or Selection Committee bowl teams. If that happens, only Independence is open. Get a third in and Birmingham comes open.

SUN BELT
BOWLS: New Orleans, GoDaddy, Camellia
Teams Eligible: Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette (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: @5-4 Texas State, South Alabama @4-5 Appalachian State (FCS transitional) @3-6 ULM
Teams Expected to be eligible: 4. The following schools project to be eligible.
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 Forces
Teams Eligible: Notre Dame
Teams Out: None
Teams Alive: @5-4 BYU @4-5 Navy @3-6 Army
Teams Expected to be eligible: 3. The following are expected to become eligible in addition to Notre Dame:
BYU over UNLV, Savannah State
Navy @South Alabama @Army
ANALYSIS: BYU should cover Miami Beach, Navy should cover Poinsettia, Armed Forces will be open.