John David Mercer - USA Today

Another Too Early Look at the 2015 Bowl Picture

Another early look at the 2015 bowl picture.

There are 80 bowl slots to fill this year, a look at where things stand.

Bowl eligible:

AAC: Houston, Memphis, Temple

ACC: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Pitt

Big 12: Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU

Big 10: Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin

CUSA: Marshall, WKU

Independent: BYU, Notre Dame

MAC: Bowling Green, Toledo

MWC: Boise State

Pac-12: Stanford, Utah

SEC: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss

Sun Belt: Appalachian State

Currently 33 bowl eligible.

Bowl Ineligible (7): Central Florida, Eastern Michigan, Kansas, Miami (OH), New Mexico State, North Texas, Wyoming

One win from eligible (16): Arizona, California, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Navy, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, San Diego State, Southern Miss, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington State.

Two wins from eligible (24): Air Force, Arizona State, Arkansas State, Auburn, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Colorado, East Carolina, FIU, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami (FL), Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rice, San Jose State, South Florida, USC, Utah State, Western Michigan

One loss from ineligible (10): Army, Ball State, FAU, Fresno, Hawaii, Purdue, SMU, ULM, UMass, UTSA

Two losses from ineligible (16): Boston College, Charlotte*, Georgia Tech, Kent State, Iowa State, Maryland, MTSU, Nebraska, Oregon State, Troy, Tulane, UConn, UNLV, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Assuming all teams at five or six losses end up ineligible that would be 33 ineligible, for bowl eligible to equal the number of spots available there would have to be 48 ineligible teams.

Assuming all schools needing one or two wins get eligible that gives you 73 with room for seven more.

Looking at the Sun Belt, there will be four bowl spots confirmed to be available. New Orleans, GoDaddy, Camellia, and Cure. The Sun Belt won’t send anyone to Access barring a lot of major upsets but has a back-up position for Tucson.

Breaking the league down in order of standings.

Appalachian State is tied for first and is bowl eligible.

Arkansas State is two wins from eligible and tied for first. Remaining home games against Georgia State and Texas State, road games against App and NMSU. AState will get eligible.

Georgia Southern is one win from eligible and a half game out of first. They still have Texas State, USA, and Georgia State at home and road trips to Troy and Georgia. They will get eligible.

Idaho is 3-4 and a game and half out of first. They have App and TXST at home and travel to NMSU, USA, and Auburn. They will be favored only against NMSU. Idaho will be ineligible.

Georgia State is 2-4 and a game and half out of first. They play at AState, TXST, GaSo and host ULL, USA, Troy. They will not be favored in any remaining game. Georgia State will be ineligible.

Louisiana Lafayette is 2-4 and a game and half out of first. They host ULM, NMSU, and Troy and travel to Georgia State, USA, and App. Cajuns will be favored in all but App, though USA should be close. ULL will be bowl eligible.

Texas State is 2-4 and a game and half out of first. They host NMSU, Georgia State, and ULM and travel to Georgia Southern, Idaho and AState. They will likely be favored in all but AState and Georgia Southern. TXST should be eligible at 6-6 with Idaho presenting the best chance of knocking them out.

South Alabama is 3-4 and two games out of first. They host Idaho, ULL, and App and travel to Georgia State and Georgia Southern. They will be favored against Idaho and Georgia State. They have to beat ULL to have a realistic shot at being eligible. Right now I’ll say ineligible.

Troy is 2-5 and 2 games out of first. They host ULM and Georgia Southern, travel to App, Georgia State and ULL. They will be favored against ULM and Georgia State. Troy ineligible.

ULM is 1-6 and 3 games out of first. Host AState and NMSU, travel to ULL, Troy, TXST and Hawaii. They will be favored against NMSU. ULM ineligible.

NMSU is already ineligible.

Right now I think five teams get eligible. It is too early to start projecting vacancies in all the other bowls but it is worth looking at the Tucson game where there is a back-up tie.

CUSA has seven bowl ties. Two teams are eligible, two need one win, one out, two are a loss away, another one loss away. Among the rest: FIU and Rice should get eligible, MTSU will need an upset to get eligible, ODU and UTEP will need two upsets. CUSA will have six with Marshall, WKU, La. Tech, USM, FIU and Rice and only covers Tucson if one of MTSU, ODU, and UTEP makes it.

My guess right now is CUSA has around 55%-60% chance of covering Tucson

MWC on paper has seven ties but can be bumped for BYU who is eligible so they have only six. Boise State is eligible and SDSU one away. Wyoming is out and Hawaii and Fresno one away from being out. Among the rest. Air Force, Colorado State, Nevada, and Utah State should make it. San Jose State will need one upset win to make it and may end up being an underdog at Hawaii which would mean two upsets. New Mexico will need to win in two upsets.

Only way MWC ends up short is some sort of implausible situation where Toledo fails to win out AND the AAC champion isn’t the top-rated champion.

Right now the Sun Belt needs to be talking to Poinsettia about replacing Army, a conversation you know the MAC is having right now.