Sun Belt Bowl Regulations

Last year the Sun Belt briefly placed it's regulations for football in an unprotected part of the league website. Assuming that the regulations are substantially similar this year they shed some light on how the league's selection process purportedly works. See update at the end of the story.

The league is in a unique situation. The rules (at least as they existed last year) only protect the champion or co-champions from being left out of a bowl. This year barring an upset by ULM at Georgia Southern, there will be no bowl eligible champion. That triggers the part of the regulation that deals with placing non-champions. Once SBC champion(s) are placed in a bowl and the contracted SBC bowl games are filled, the remaining at-large teams will be placed using the following guidelines:
i. A selection committee comprised of those SBC ADs whose teams have already been placed in bowl games, along with those ADs whose team is not bowl eligible, will conduct a conference call with the Commissioner to review the bowl eligible teams and the bowl spots open and available and assist the Commissioner in the placement of teams using the principle of "right team in the right place." The Committee will seek to balance the best interests of the bowl(s), the SBC, and the involved teams.
ii. If there are two bowl eligible teams for two open bowl spots, placement of teams will be done based on geographic location of the two teams relative to the two bowl sites
iii. If there are two bowl eligible teams for one open bowl spot, the following factors will be considered to determine which team receives the final bowl spot. Again, the Committee will balance what is in the best business interest of the bowls and the SBC and what is in the best interest of the two teams.
a) Head to head between the two teams and/or conference standings and regular season record to determine what team is the most deserving.
b) How did a team finish the season (e.g., record in last four games).
c) Bowl history of both teams (e.g., previous ticket sales and when did the teams last play in a bowl game).
d) Number of wins by each team versus FBS teams; versus FCS teams.
e) Quality wins and/or "bad" losses by each team.
f) BCS/RPI rankings of each team, including both team’s strength of schedule.

The commissioner's bowl selection committee will be the ADs at: Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy, New Mexico State, Idaho, and Georgia State.

Here are how the teams shake out using the criteria.

The eligible teams head-to-head
ULL 3-0
AState 1-2 defeated only USA
USA 1-2 defeated only TXST
TXST 1-2 defeated only AState

The eligible teams last four games assuming favorites win
ULL 3-1
AState 2-2
TXST 2-2
USA 1-3

Bowl History (note rule seems to imply some favor toward teams with longer droughts)
ULL 3 games phenomenal sales
AState 3 games very good sales
TXST none
USA none

Number of wins vs. FBS (again assuming favorites win)
AState 6

Non-conference wins (FBS) to determine quality win assuming favored Navy wins.
AState 1 Utah State (6-1 MWC 9-3 overall)
TXST 1 Tulsa (2-5 AAC, 2-9 overall)
USA 1. Kent State (0-6 MAC, 1-9 overall)

Non-conference losses (FBS) to determine "bad" losses.
AState 2 @Miami by 21pts Miami (3-4 ACC 6-5) @Tenn by 15pts Tenn (2-5 SEC, 5-6)
TXST 2 @Illinois by 7 Illinois (2-5 Big Ten 5-6) Navy by 14 Navy (5-5)
USA 3 (presuming favored Navy wins) Miss St by 32pts. Miss St (6-1 SEC 10-1), @South Carolina by 25 pts South Carolina (3-5 SEC, 6-5)
ULL 3 La.Tech by 28pts La.Tech (6-1 CUSA, 7-4), @Ole Miss by 41pts. Ole Miss (4-3 SEC, 8-3), @Boise State by 25pts. Boise State (6-1 MWC, 9-2).

There are no BCS rankings to consult, so using Massey Composite of all computers.
ULL 74
AState 81
USA 92

Schedule strength as rated by Sagarin through last weeks games
USA 109
AState 113
ULL 120
TXST 123
USA strength of schedule will rise this week the other three will drop.

Rating the teams 1-4 in each category except bowl history awarding 4pts for best 1pt for worst and in the event of a tie combining the points and dividing equally it scores like this:
AState 20pts
ULL 20pts
TXST 15pts.
USA 15pts.

Now what is really going to happen? Most likely New Orleans grabs ULL and the dogfight is on to see who of AState, TXST, and USA gets left out.

I've confirmed that no matter what is in the current regs the process is as follows since there is no champion bowl eligible:
1. New Orleans selects. Commissioner can give his input but the decision rests solely with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and their selection committee.
2. GoDaddy selects. Commissioner can give his input but final decision belongs to the bowl.
3. Camellia Bowl. Once again commissioner is to be consulted but the final decision rests with the bowl. They have a local director but the game is owned by ESPN Regional Television and they will have the final decision.