Let me say first off I hate the bowls. Okay scratch that I kind of like them but I hate the bastardized system we currently have that helps determine an undisputed champ about half of the time and in the process kills any tradition the bowl system still had. I'm an all or nothing guy when it comes to bowl games. Give me the Pac-10 champ against the Big Ten champ in the Rose, give me the SEC champ in the Sugar, and give me the Big XII champ in the Orange (not the fucking Fiesta) or don't give me any bowls at all, give me playoffs. Give me tradition or give me a real NCAA Division I-A College Football National Champion every year.
But we, or just me I suppose, have to deal with the cards we've been dealt so in that regard I'm going to take a look at each conference in March Madness kind of way to see who is going bowling and who is on the bubble. I'm not going to do any projections as I'm just not Bored enough to take the time to do so as there is still plenty of season left to fuck up any sort of projections. Now this year we've gone back to the 12 game schedule, which I can't stand because it guarentees teams with non-winning records will go to bowl games and thus we'll most likely end up with teams who went 6-7 but still being able to call their season a success because they went to the Birmingham Bowl. Also to make matters worse, as of last season I-AA wins now count every year rather than every four years to become bowl eligible. So if you're in a BCS conference and you are already at six wins, you're going bowling. Now to fill conference bids bowls can not take a 6-6 team over a team with a winning record so it's not impossible that a 6-6 BCS conference team could be left out but it would take an unusual set of circumstances for that to happen beyond a team just flat out rejecting an invite. There's always at least one or two conference bids that can't be filled by it's designated conference.
Conference bids: Orange/BCS, Chick-Fil-A (ugh), Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Car Care, Emerald, MPC
Locked up a bid: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech
Near locks: Florida State, Miami
On the Bubble: N.C. State, Virginia
Seminoles have Virginia and Western Michigan at home so they'll definately get to six wins and as bad as they've been it still would be a pretty big upset if Wake Forest won in Doak Campbell. Although if FSU does end up 6-6 and they find themselves invited to Boise I would wonder if they would choose not to go but doubtful they'd wanna piss off the ACC like that. Miami has a much tougher remaining schedule and it's also not out of the realm possibility they could also end up squeaking into a bowl at only 6-6. N.C. State closes the the season with UNC and ECU but before that they need to upset Clemson or Georgia Tech to get into a bowl and after last week's loss against Virginia that doesn't seem likely. Virginia breathed some life into their season with that win but they'll need to win at FSU or Virginia Tech including a win at home against Miami to get to a bowl.
Conference bids: Fiesta/BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Alamo, Gator or Sun, Insight, Independence, Texas
Locked up a bid: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M
Near locks: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
On the Bubble: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State
This conference has been impossible to figure out once you get past Texas and there's plenty of potential jumbling of the standings left to go. I was reluctant to call anyone a near lock but both the Cowboys and Red Raiders have Baylor at home. If either drops that game though they go on the bubble. Now like those two Kansas State does only need one more win and they do get Colorado this but it's in Boulder and don't forget what they did to Texas Tech a few weeks ago. After that the Wildcats have a loss against Texas and then it's a rivalry game at Kansas where all bets are off. Along with the two road games already mentioned, Baylor closes at home against Oklahoma so barring a miracle it's likely the Bears will have to wait another year before ending their bowl drought. Kansas has an outside shot of winning at Iowa State and then winning at home against against the Wildcats. If not they will need to upset Missouri at home to close out the season, assuming they get at least a split in the first two game. Iowa State has done nothing to indicate they can run the table but they are technically still alive.
Conference bids: BCS, Gator or Sun, Car Care (Navy has a conditional bid), Texas, International, Birmingham
Locked up a bid: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia
Near locks: South Florida
On the Bubble: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Syracuse
USF I have as a near lock simply because they still have Syracuse at home. An upset at home against Pittsburgh this week would also get the job done. Although Cincinnati is clearly the better team than USF, they are on the bubble as the have West Virginia and Rutgers next and then close out at UConn. I think they can beat UConn but the Huskies may also be playing for a bid so there's no guarentee. UConn will have to win their next three as they close at Louisville. Syracuse could run the table to get to a bowl. And I also could fuck Beyonce.
Conference bids: Rose/BCS, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City
Locked up a bid: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Near locks: Purdue
On the Bubble: Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota
Purdue has been exposed in recent weeks and they have a 13 game schedule so they do need to get to seven wins but you have to figure they can win two out of three against Michigan State, Illinois, and Indiana. If they don't they are in big trouble going into Hawaii to close the season. Indiana can wrap up a bid at Minnesota this week but can you really guarentee a win for a team who already loss to I-AA team in any week? Lose to the Gophers and their chances dim in a hurry. The Spartans can help their chances big time if they win at home against Purdue this week but if the greatest comeback in college football history can't turn their season around, nothing will. Minnesota is toast.
Conference bids: Liberty, GMAC, Birmingham, Armed Forces, New Orleans
Locked up a bid: Tulsa, Houston
Near locks: Southern Miss
On the Bubble: East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulane, UAB, UCF, UTEP
This conference just blows this year and really doesn't deserve five bids. If Houston were to drop their last three games it's possible they could be left out but it's unlikely and they have very winnable games against SMU and Memphis left. Southern Miss may have played themselves on to the bubble with their loss at home against ECU but they've played all their tough games and I'd be very surprised if they didn't win three of their last four. As for the bubble teams there are waaaaaaaay too many scenerios to go into with ECU and UTEP being the most likely to get the last two bids.
This entry is going longer than I expected so I'll stop now and do another entry tommorrow for the rest of the conferences.