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Bowl Bubble

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I decided to give up on doing a Top 25 since my Top 10 wouldn't be a whole lot different from the BCS Top 10 at this point. So instead I'm going to go conference by conference to see what teams are on the bubble to make it to a bowl game. Any BCS conference team with seven wins at this time is a lock and some with six wins are as well although it all depends on if their conference is going to have too many or too few bowl eligible teams. There are no preset open bids this year although a couple may open if a conferece can't fill it. If any bids do open up something to keep in mind is if there is an available 7-5 team, that bowl take them over a 6-6 team which is how Middle Tennessee got to the Motor City Bowl (Big Ten didn't couldn't fill their bid) last year over a few a BCS conference 6-6 teams. Of course no one should feel sorry for any team who didn't finish with a winning record being left home this holiday season.

 

ACC

 

Bowls: BCS/Orange, Chick-Fil-A, Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Meineke Car Care, Emerald, Humanitarian

 

Locks: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech

 

Near Locks: Georgia Tech, Wake Forest

 

On the Bubble: Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State

 

Now even though they both have six wins the reason why I have FSU as a lock and Wake Forest as a near lock is purely because of FSU's brand name. If the ACC were to end up with more than eight bowl eligible teams a 6-6 Wake Forest team could get left out but Bobby Bowden and company would definitley get an invite at 6-6. Georgia Tech has Duke and North Carolina the next two weeks so they should be fine. N.C. State has come out of no where to have a realistic shot at getting to six wins with home games against UNC and Maryland left. Maryland is reeling and I think they'll come up short. Miami is in big trouble after their loss to N.C. State as their last three games are against Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. UNC has to run the table to have a shot.

 

Big XII

 

Bowls: BCS/Fiesta, Cotton, Holiday, Gator or Sun, Alamo, Insight, Independence, Texas

 

Locks: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech

 

Near Locks: Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

 

On the Bubble: Kansas State, Nebraska

 

Colorado has Iowa State and Nebraska left so seven wins is very realistic. A&M will end up 6-6 most likely with Missouri and Texas left so there's an oustide chance they could be left without a place to go but the Big XII might end up with two teams in BCS bowls plus the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth is likley to be open (which I'll get to in the Pac-10) so I'd be very surprised if they are staying home. Oklahoma State should pick up win #6 against Baylor in two weeks, if they don't upset Kansas, but again a small chance they might not have an available bid. K-State has Nebraska, Missouri, and Fresno State left and all bets are off after their embarrassing performance against Iowa State. Nebraska is likely toast although beating K-State could provide a glimmer of hope.

 

Big East

 

Bowls: BCS, Gator or Sun, Meineke Car Care, International, PapaJohns.com

 

Locks: Cincinnati, Connecticut, West Virginia

 

Near Locks: Rutgers, South Florida

 

On the Bubble: Louisville, Pittsburgh

 

Again the great purge of the Big East leaves the conference with by far the most pathetic line up of bowl games of any BCS conferece. It'll get worse this year as there's a 99% chance that the Gator Bowl will excercise it's option to grab the Big XII #2 team this year. USF will get win #7 at Syracuse this week but left them out of the locks just in case the roof caves in, literally. Rutgers has Army and Pittsburgh in the next two weeks so seven wins is expected. Louisville has a tough final three games at West Virginia, at USF, and vs. Rutgers so getting that 6th win is far from guarenteed. On top of that a 6-6 Big East team without an available in conference bid is very likely to be staying home. Pitt is only alive in the most clinical of terms.

 

Big Ten

 

Bowls: BCS/Rose, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City

 

Locks: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Ohio State

 

Near Locks: Iowa

 

On the Bubble: Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern

 

Now here's a conference where it's almost a lock a 6-6 team will stay home. The mediocrity of the middle of the conference and everyone getting to beat up on sorry ass Minnesota has allowed a lot of teams to near bowl eligibility. They'll get helped out if Ohio State and Michigan both get in the BCS. Iowa looked awful most of the season but like N.C. State has turned it around and with Minnesota and Western Michigan left there's no reason they shouldn't get seven wins. Indiana could get left out in the cold if they can't pick up a 7th win and it's not a lock with a road trip to Northwestern and then at home against Purdue. They haven't been to a bowl game since 1993 so they have to be rooting for two teams from the conference to get into the BCS. Northwestern has Indiana and Illinois left while Michigan State has Purdue and Penn State left so both are longshots at this point if they don't win both games.

 

Conference USA

 

Bowls: Liberty, GMAC, Texas, PapaJohns.com, Hawaii, New Orleans

 

Locks: East Carolina, Houston, Tulsa, UCF

 

Near Locks: Southern Miss

 

On the Bubble: Memphis, UTEP

 

Reason #712 There are Way Too Many Fucking Bowl Games: Conference USA has six bids. This is a conference where half the teams aren't in the BCS Top 100. Memphis is ranked 103rd in the country yet they still have a shot at a bowl game. So since ECU, Houston, Tulsa, and UCF have six they are locks as it would be next to impossible for them not to get in that this point even if any of them lost out. Southern Miss still needs to get win #6 but they should pick it up against Memphis this week. UTEP only has four more wins and after Tulane this week they have Southern Miss and UCF left so the odds are against them which would be good news for those teams hoping for another open bid.

 

MAC

 

Bowls: Motor City, GMAC, International

 

Locks: None

 

Near Locks: Bowling Green, Central Michigan

 

On the Bubble: Ball State, Buffalo, Miami of Ohio, Ohio, Toledo

 

Awful, awful year for this conference as BGSU and CMU are the only two teams with winning records at the moment but both should win at least two of thier last three games to get to seven wins. After that it is anyone's guess as two gets the 3rd bid although Miami of Ohio does control their own destiny to win the East division to get to the title game but they better win their last two regular season games against Akron and Ohio or otherwise they'll be 6-6 and in a must win situation for the conference championship to remain bowl eligible.

 

Mountain West

 

Bowls: Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces, New Mexico

 

Locks: Air Force

 

Near Locks: BYU, New Mexico, Utah

 

On the Bubble: San Diego State, TCU, Wyoming

 

BYU would have seven wins already if their game against SDSU wasn't postponed and they are a good bet to run the table in the conference. We could actually end up with more than four seven win teams in this conference which could create some problems for 6-6 BCS conference teams hanging their hat on grabbing an open bid. On the other hand one of the open bids will very likely be the Armed Forces Bowl (which again I'll get to) which will already have a Mountain West team so that will eliminate one option for this conference. There should end up being at least four seven plus win teams so any 6-6 team will definitely not be bowling.

 

Pac-10

 

Bowls: BCS/Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas, Emerald, Armed Forces

 

Locks: Arizona State, California, Oregon, USC

 

Near Locks: Oregon State

 

On the Bubble: Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

 

With the conference being so top heavy this year and with the odds being very good at the moment that they will get two teams in the BCS, it is highly unlikely the Pac-10 will be able to fill all their bids. As previously mentioned the Armed Forces Bowl is pretty much a given to be open but the Emerald Bowl might also be available if UCLA fails to become bowl eligible. The Bruins have ASU, Oregon, and USC so it is looking bleak, although given their propensity to play to their competition watch them win two out of three. Oregon State has the Washington schools the next two weeks so they should win at least one of those games to become bowl eligible. The rest of the schools all need to run the table but it is unlikely any will do so.

 

SEC

 

Bowls: BCS/Sugar, Capital One, Cotton, Outback, Chick-Fil-A, Music City, Liberty, Independence

 

Locks: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee

 

Near Locks: Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina

 

On the Bubble: Mississippi State, Vanderbilt

 

Picking the locks and near locks are tough here as it is possible we could get 11 bowl eligible teams here which would obviously leave some 6 win teams without a SEC tie in bowl to go to. I went with Alabama and Tennessee as locks even though they still need that important win #7 over the other three as those two would be more attractive to bowls than the other three. Of the near locks South Carolina has the toughest road to get win #7 as they have Florida and Clemson left although both games are at home. Mississippi State will at least get win #6 when they play Ole Miss but the next two weeks are huge for them against Alabama and Arkansas as they must win one of them or otherwise they are very likely staying home. Vanderbilt also has the odds stacked against them while trying to end their 24 year bowl drought as they will definitely need to get seven wins to have a shot but they have Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest left on their schedule.

 

Sun Belt

 

Bowls: New Orleans

 

Locks: None

 

Near Locks: Troy

 

On the Bubble: Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee

 

Don't look now but the Sun Belt finally has a good team in their conference, that being Troy. I only have them as a near locks simply because they have to beat MTSU and FAU still to wrap up the conference but I expect they will. It's a real shame that Troy gets stuck going to the New Orleans Bowl as they would easily be the best team in both the MAC and Conference USA. FAU and MTSU could still win the conference if they upset Troy.

 

WAC

 

Bowls: BCS?, Humanitarian, Hawaii, New Mexico

 

Locks: Boise State, Hawaii

 

Near Locks: Fresno State

 

On the Bubble: Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Nevada, San Jose State

 

Pretty much in the same boat as last year with this conference as a lot will depend on whether they get a team in the BCS or not. Fresno has Hawaii and Kansas State the next two weeks so their season finale against New Mexico State may have to be where they get win #7. The rest all need to become bowl eligible and hope either Hawaii or Boise gets into the BCS.

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