1) The Big East: Currently, the Big East has four
guaranteed bowl slots, except in the unlikely event that Walt Harris' Stanford
Cardinal pull off a huge upset over Notre Dame this weekend, which would drop
the Irish down to the Big East spot in the Gator Bowl. At present, the Big East also has four
bowl eligible teams:
2) The Available Bowl slots: In the event that Pitt and/or UConn
become bowl eligible, or if Notre Dame stumbles, the Big East will need to rely
on at-large bowl slots to place all of its eligible teams. There are only two bowl slots that are
free of any conference affiliation: one Liberty Bowl and one Poinsettia Bowl
slot. At present, both have been
Big Ten: seven slots, currently filled by seven bowl eligible teams = no vacancies
SEC: eight slots, but only six teams can
be bowl eligible this year, leaving a vacancy in the following two bowls:
Houston Bowl (vs. a Big XII representative).
Pac-10: six slots, currently filled by only four
teams; Stanford could qualify with a win over ND and
Pac-10 qualifies five teams; expect the lone vacancy to
come from the
Bowl vs. BYU (already accepted other bid). If neither Stanford nor ASU win
their final games, the additional opening would come in the Emerald Bowl in San
Francisco, likely vs.
Big XII: eight slots currently filled by 7 teams; Texas A&M could qualify for the final
by beating archrival
ACC: six slots currently have 7 eligible teams, making them the only BCS conference to
exceed their committed bowl slots. The winner of the
ACC teams will be in search of an at-large bid.
3) How many at-large slots will there
be? One of the vacancies listed
above has already been committed to an at-large team; TCU has secured the SEC's
vacant spot in the Houston Bowl vs. a Big XII representative. In the very unlikely scenario that
4) Who will compete for the at-large spots?:
Assuming Pitt upsets West
Virginia, or UConn ends the season by upending USF and Louisville, the Big East
will be fighting against the following teams for these one or two bowl slots:
Virginia (6-4 with a game left at Miami), the winner of NC State vs. Maryland
(would be 6-5), Toledo (7-3 with a game against Bowling Green left, and an
outside shot at the MAC title game), and New Mexico (6-5). If Pitt were to finish 6-5, winners of
five of their last six games (only loss being a road trip to
than a Big East representative. Pitt stands a decent chance here.
Emerald: Given the decision to drop the Big East from this bowl slot in previous years,
unlikely Pitt could get the nod over either UVA,
invite to a Big East or ACC team is likely a wash here.
5) Bottom line: I predict that at-least three at-large slots will be open, and that two will be taken by the ACC teams, leaving either an Emerald or Las Vegas Bowl bid on the table for Pitt or UConn.