I wrote a story for Tuesday's Blade about the bowl possibilities for Bowling Green, Toledo and the Mid-American Conference. Here is how I put together some of the facts and statistics I used in that story, as well as some good old-fashioned rumor-mongering at the end. Enjoy!
Click here to read the story in Tuesday's Blade about the bowl possibilities.
Currently there are 62 bowl-eligible teams at the FBS level. By conference (and that's important, for reasons we'll talk about shortly), here are the eligible teams ...
- Atlantic Coast (5 teams): Clemson 10-1, Duke 6-5, Florida State 10-1, Georgia Tech 6-5, North Carolina Sate 6-5.
- Big East (4 teams): Cincinnati 73, Louisville 9-1, Rutgers 9-1, Syracuse 6-5.
- Big Ten (5 teams): Nebraska 9-2, Northwestern 8-3, Michigan 8-3, Minnesota 6-5, Wisconsin 7-4.
- Big 12 (7 teams): Iowa State 6-5, Kansas State 10-1, Oklahoma 8-2, Oklahoma State 7-3, Texas 8-2, TCU 6-4, Texas Tech 7-4.
- Conference USA (3 teams): East Carolina 6-4, UCF 8-2, Tulsa 8-2.
- Mid-American (6 teams): Ball State 8-3, Bowling Green 7-4, Kent State 10-1, Northern Illinois 10-1, Ohio 8-3, Toledo 8-3.
- Mountain West (5 teams): Air Force 6-5, Boise State 9-2, Fresno State 8-3, Nevada 7-4, San Diego State 8-3.
- Pac 12 (8 teams): Arizona 7-4, Arizona State 6-5, Oregon 10-1, Oregon State 8-2, Stanford 9-2, UCLA 9-2, USC 7-3, Washington 7-4.
- Southeastern (8 teams): Alabama 10-1, Florida 10-1, Georgia 10-1, LSU 9-2, Mississippi State 8-3, South Carolina 9-2, Texas A&M 9-2, Vanderbilt 7-4.
- Sun Belt (5 teams): Arkansas State 8-3, Louisiana-Lafayette 6-4, Louisiana-Monroe 7-4, Middle Tennessee 7-3, Western Kentucky 6-5.
- Western Athletic (3 teams): Louisiana Tech 9-2, San Jose State 9-2, Utah State 9-2.
- Independents (3 teams): Navy 7-4, Notre Dame 11-0, BYU 6-5.
That should equal 62, one of the most important numbers in the bowl equation. There are 35 bowls, so at two teams each there are 70 teams necessary for the bowls.
A fact everyone should know: There are provisions in place in case there aren't 70 bowl-eligible teams. Oversimplified, what happens in that case is teams with 5-7 records are eligible in a plan based on APR scores (isn't that clever?). Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
Personally, I don't think it will. There are only eight spots left, and there are 15 schools that still could be bowl-eligible. I'm going to list them by league (be patient, I'll explain why shortly), and I'm also going to list their final games. As an added bonus, I'll underline games where they have a good chance to win (and that's subjective; I'm basically going to underline opponents with similar and/or losing records). Here we go ...
- Atlantic Coast (2 teams): Virginia Tech 5-6 (Virginia), Wake Forest 5-6 (Vanderbilt).
- Big East (2 teams): Connecticut 4-6 (at Louisville, Cincinnati), Pittsburgh 4-6 (Rutgers, at South Florida).
- Big Ten (2 teams): Michigan State 5-6 (Minnesota), Purdue 5-6 (Indiana).
- Big 12 (2 teams): Baylor 5-5 (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State).
- Conference USA (3 teams): Marshall 5-6 (at East Carolina), Rice 5-6 (UTEP), SMU 5-6 (Tulsa).
- Mid-American (1 team): Central Michigan 5-6 (Massachusetts).
- Mountain West (0 teams)
- Pac 12 (0 teams)
- Southeastern (2 teams): Missouri (at Texas A&M), Ole Miss (Mississippi State).
- Sun Belt (1 team): Troy 5-6 (Middle Tennessee).
- Western Athletic (0 teams)
- Independents (0 teams)
The key is the underlines ... because those are the games I feel are going to be "won" by the team still searching for a bowl bid. And there are only five teams in that position, which falls short of the magic number of 70.
Now, a word about the possibilities for the Falcons ... Let's start with the MAC tie-in bowls. The three "MAC" bowls are ...
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Boise; Saturday, Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m.
- Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Detroit; Wednesday, Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.
- GoDaddy.com Bowl: Mobile, Ala.; Sunday, Jan. 6, 9 p.m.
OK, now here's where things get interesting. I'm going to name a few more bowls that are possibilities for MAC schools, and explain why I was using the charts above. Hang on ...
- Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: St. Petersburg, Fla.; Friday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. This bowl includes the sixth choice from the Big East and the fourth choice from Conference USA. I think the Big East will only have four bowl-eligible teams (and lose one of those to the BCS), so there's an opening.
- R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: New Orleans; Saturday, Dec. 22, noon. This bowl includes the sixth choice from Conference USA, and there's a strong choice there won't be six teams eligible.
- Military Bowl: Washington D.C.; Thursday, Dec. 27, 3 p.m. One of the automatic qualifiers for this bowl is Army, which won't be bowl-eligible. The other team is the eighth pick from the ACC, which will have no more than seven available teams (thanks to Miami deciding to take a bowl ban).
- Music City Bowl: Nashville; Monday, Dec. 31, noon. This bowl is a bit of a longshot, but if two SEC teams are taken in the BCS (which is not a longshot), this bowl may not have an SEC team available when it makes the seventh selection.
- BBVA Compass Bowl: Birmingham, Ala.; Saturday, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. Since this bowl will take the eighth or ninth SEC team, the chances are very good there won't be enough teams to fill it (especially if there are two SEC teams taken in the BCS pairings).
So, there are the possibilities. Now let's delve into the rumors ... and remember, these are GUESSES. These are PREDICTIONS. These are NOT CERTAIN TO BE TRUE.
Strong enough disclaimer?
The most recent set of predictions strongly favor Bowling Green playing in the Military Bowl. I've seen 10 different predictions this week, and five indicate that bowl. The opponent also is starting to come into focus as either San Jose State (three votes) or Western Kentucky (two votes).
From there a number of other options have been mentioned, including two votes for the BBVA Compass Bowl and one for the Liberty Bowl, the Independence Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl. Many of the guesses include Louisiana-Lafayette or Louisiana-Monroe as a potential opponent.
But here's one other thing to consider: Last week I had four different "predictions" of BG playing in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. This week? None so far.
Everyone will find out the bowl pairings at some point on Sunday, Dec. 2 when the BCS pairings are announced.