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2008 Bowl Bubble

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Did this the last couple of years so might as well keep doing. This is just a conference-by-conference breakdown (plus Notre Dame) of where everyone stands when it comes to making bowl games.


I know last year you were all thinkg, "Hey they just aren't enough bowl games and I was outraged that 6-6 South Carolina didn't go to a bowl game last year." My friends, the NCAA and ESPN have listened to you and they added two more bowl games (Congressional and St. Petersburg Bowls) bringing the total number of bowl games to 34. That increases the odds even further this year that if you are 6-6 and play in a BCS conference, you will probably find a bowl bid some where. But for the sake of taking into account all possible scenarios I'm not going to consider all six win teams as locks just yet to make bowl games except in certain conferences which I'll get to.


Note Navy has already accepted a bid to the Congressional Bowl.




Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Orange, Chick-Fil-A, Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Meineke Car Care, Emerald, Humanitarian, Congressional


Locks: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina


Bowl Eligible: Boston College, Maryland, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest


Bubble Teams: Clemson, Duke, N.C. State, Virginia


As usual the ACC is just one big entertaining, clusterfuck. Technically it is possible that all 12 teams will become bowl eligible as there just isn't a whole lot of difference in talent from 1 to 12 but the odds of that are very, very slim. The most important game among the bubble teams will be two weeks from now when Virginia hosts Clemson. Duke and N.C. State are both longshots.


Notre Dame


Bowl Tie-ins: Cotton, Gator, Sun


I'm going to mention the Irish before the Big East since what happens to them directly effects the Big East bids. With their loss last night the Irish's were officially eliminated from BCS consideration but if they run the table they could still get into the Cotton Bowl (note this would take away a bid from the SEC) although they'd have to win at USC to do so. 7-5 is more realistic but that also means beating Navy this week which isn't a given and if they do end up 7-5 they probably get an invite to the Gator Bowl or at worst the Sun Bowl, which if either happens the Big East loses a bid. At 6-6 it then gets a bit dicey for them as they then would need to rely on an open bid and hope they don't get gobbled up by 7-5 teams who don't have a bid. By rule any bowl that has a bid that couldn't be filled by one of their conference affiliations, they must invite an available 7+ win team over a 6 win team. If this happens and Notre Dame gets shutout of a bowl at 6-6, expect that rule to change. :)


Big East


Bowl Tie-ins: BCS, Gator/Sun, Meineke Car Care, International, Papajohns.com, St. Petersburg


Locks: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh


Bowl Eligible: Connecticut, South Florida, West Virginia


Bubble Teams: Louisville, Rutgers


Now that I've covered Notre Dame, it's very likely the Big East will have only five available bids instead of six so 7+ wins might be a must in this conference to go bowling. If everything goes to form, the Louisville/Rutgers game on 12/4 will be an elimination game for bowl eligibility. The Cardinals do have Cincinnati and West Virginia at home before then and its not out of the question they could spring an upset in one of those games.


Big Ten


Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Rose (two bids?), Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City


Locks: Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State


Bowl Eligible: Iowa


Bubble Teams: Illinois, Wisconsin


As long as Ohio State avoids an upset in their final two games against Illinois and Michigan, they will give the conference a second team in a BCS bowl. Wisconsin has some bizarre scheduling this year as they finish the year against I-AA Cal Poly so you can put them down for win #6 there, if they don't do it this week against Minnesota. Illinois has much longer odds as they finish at home against Ohio State and then at Northwestern.




Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Fiesta (two bids?), Cotton, Holiday, Gator/Sun, Alamo, Insight, Independence, Texas


Locks: Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech


Bowl Eligible: Kansas, Nebraska


Bubble Teams: Colorado, Kansas State, Texas A&M


Unless something truly shocking happens, this conference will send two teams into the BCS. That also means that it doesn't look they'll fill the Texas Bowl bid and possibly not the Independence Bowl bid either. Kansas State has the easier road of the three bubble teams as they have Nebraska and Iowa State at home but a loss in either eliminates them.


Conference USA


Bowl Tie-ins: Liberty, GMAC, Texas, Armed Forces, New Orleans, St. Petersburg


Locks: Rice, Tulsa


Bowl Eligible: East Carolina


Bubble Teams: Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Miss, UTEP


Outside chance that the conference won't fill the illustrious St. Petersburg Bowl bid as Marshall, Southern Miss, and UTEP all need two wins and they will all need to spring an upset to do so. Memphis is a near lock with only home dates against UCF and Tulane remaining.




Bowl Tie-ins: Motor City, GMAC, International


Locks: None


Bowl Eligible: BCS?, Ball State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan


Bubble Teams: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Temple


The MAC is kind of a poor man's Big XII this year because the three best teams in the conference all play in the same division, that being the West divison. Now you probably are wondering how the hell can I say Ball State isn't a lock? Yes they are undefeated and it is not impossible that they could sneak into the BCS if both Utah and Boise State lose. But the problem is, is that they still have to play CMU and WMU. If they were to lose both games and then say the East division champ were to upset the West division champ in the MAC title game then Ball State could find themselves without a MAC affiliated bowl game to go to, if both CMU and WMU were invited over them. The odds are strongly against this and they likely find an open bid somewhere but again have to take into account all possible scenarios, however unlikely. This is also why CMU and WMU are not locks either in case there is a huge upset in the title game.


Mountain West


Bowl Tie-ins: BCS?, Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces, New Mexico


Locks: Air Force, BYU, TCU, Utah


Bubble Teams: Colorado State, UNLV, Wyoming


As we all know, Utah will be going to a BCS Bowl (likely the Fiesta) if they finish undefeated which would give the conference five bids. UNLV and Wyoming will play an elimination game this week. The Rebels will be in great shape if they win as they finish the season against lowly San Diego State. Since all three bubble teams are 4-6, it is possible that the New Mexico Bowl will become an open bid if Utah does end up in the BCS.




Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Rose (two bids?), Holiday, Sun, Emerald, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Poinsettia


Locks: Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, USC


Bubble Teams: Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA


The reason why all eligible teams are already locks in this conference is because UCLA and ASU play an elimination game on 11/28 thus there can be no more than seven eligible teams for the conference. There is an outside shot at the Pac-10 getting two teams in the BCS because if Oregon State wins out, they win the conference by tiebreak over USC and get the Rose Bowl bid. The odds are against this because the Beavers still have Cal, Arizona, and Oregon left to play but it's certainly not impossible. Also, STANFORD~ will beat Cal to become bowl eligible...or at least they better win.




Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Sugar (two bids?), Capital One, Cotton, Outback, Chick-Fil-A, Music City, Liberty, Independence, Papajohns.com


Locks: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina


Bowl Eligible: Kentucky, LSU


Bubble Teams: Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt


Just like the Big XII, it would be a shocker if the SEC doesn't send two teams into the BCS so you can put them down for ten bids. Now they might not fill them all as Mississippi State for one will need pull off the upset of the year at Alabama this week just to stay alive and Auburn will have to upset Georgia or Alabama to become bowl eligible. Mississippi should pick up win #6 against UL Monroe this week.


Sun Belt


Bowl Tie-in: New Orleans


Locks: None


Bowl Eligible: Troy


Bubble Teams: Arkansas State, FIU, Florida Atlantic, UL Lafayette, Middle Tennessee


Barring something unforeseen, the conference title should come down to the ULL/Troy game on 11/22. The conference this year does now have contingency bids with the Congressional Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl and the Independence Bowl where if those bids are not filled by the primary conference, a Sun Belt team will be taken although I think they have to be 7-5 or better but I could be wrong about that.




Bowl Tie-ins: BCS, Humanitarian, Hawaii, New Mexico


Locks: Boise State


Bowl Eligible: San Jose State


Bubble Teams: Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State


Boise State will be huge BYU fans on 11/22 as they need Utah to lose that game to get into the BCS, otherwise they play another glorified home game against a 6-6 ACC team in the Humanitarian Bowl. Now the conference does have a contingency bid with the Poinsettia Bowl if the Pac-10 doesn't fill it and popular speculation is that they will invite the Broncos to play BYU. Not sure that is much of a consolation prize though. The rest of this conference is a complete mess and I'm not even going to attempt to figure out how it will shakeout.

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Wait, Boise St. could go undefeated and miss out on a BCS bowl AGAIN? Jesus. Wasn't the 5th BCS bowl added for situations like this? Unbelievable.

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Wait, Boise St. could go undefeated and miss out on a BCS bowl AGAIN? Jesus. Wasn't the 5th BCS bowl added for situations like this? Unbelievable.

No, it was created to just get one non-BCS conference school an opportunity to get a big payout and just as important to create another big payout for a BCS conference school. For me the problem isn't that Boise State probably isn't going to get into a BCS bowl, the problem is they get stuck with the crappy WAC bowls. I've said this before but they need to get rid of the automatic conference bids and have a committee like they do for the NCAA basketball tournament where they assign schools to certain bowls. That way in a case like Boise State who may get left out of the BCS bowls can go to say the Holiday Bowl or some other higher tier bowl instead of again playing another glorified home game in the Humantarian Bowl.

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Was there ever a Div. 1-A team that had 7 wins that didn't make a bowl game? I seem to remember Temple finished something like 7-4 or 7-3 back in 1990 or 1991, but I'm not sure.

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It's happened many times because you have to remember there was a time when there wasn't 30+ bowl games. From 1984 to 1996 there was no more than 18 bowl games in a given year. It wasn't until the late 90's that we started to see this perpetual increase in the number of bowl games. Just last year though 8-4 Troy was snubbed due to the Sun Belt only having one bid as they lost their season finale to Florida Atlantic to lose the conference title.

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