Will There Be 70?
Sunday, the University of Miami self-imposed a bowl ban, and with that the Hurricanes will not be eligible for the ACC Championship Game.
That brings to four the number of bowl eligible teams that will not be in bowls this year—Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina, and Miami.
This presents a problem for the bowls. With 35 bowls, 70 bowl-eligible teams are required. As of today, only 63 teams are bowl eligible. Additionally, Georgia Tech could now be looking at a 6-7 record if they lose to Georgia this week and Florida State in the ACC Championship Game next week. The Yellow Jackets would be allowed to go bowling, just like UCLA last year.
Let’s take a look at the conference-by-conference bowl outlook.
Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State is virtually assured of going to the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles wrapped up the Atlantic Division title with a win over Maryland, who has started as many quarterbacks as they have jersey combinations. FSU can play spoiler this week when they host rival Florida. A win over the Gators could keep Florida out of a possible National Championship Game (Georgia would have to lose to Georgia Tech and beat Alabama, or Alabama would have to lose to Auburn and beat Georgia).
Clemson appeared to be a lock for a BCS at-large bowl bid if they beat South Carolina, but now that is not so certain. In fact, it is unlikely, unless Oklahoma loses another game. The Tigers must root for UCLA to pull off another upset and beat Stanford this week and then lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If Oregon isn’t in the Rose Bowl, they will be in another BCS Bowl, and that will not leave a bid for an 11-1 Clemson team. Of course, CU has to beat South Carolina, and that is not a given.
North Carolina State is the only other bowl eligible team from the Atlantic Division. Wake Forest is 5-6, and the Deacons must win at home against 7-4 Vanderbilt this week to become bowl eligible. Vandy beat Wake last year 41-7.
With Miami and North Carolina both out of the picture, the ACC faces the same dilemma as the Big Ten. The Coastal Division will send the number three team to the title game. Georgia Tech will probably be 6-6 and playing in that game.
Duke is bowl eligible, and the Blue Devils are staring at a 6-6 record and four consecutive losses to end the regular season. Virginia Tech is 5-6 and defeat Virginia this weekend to make it to a bowl.
If the Hokies and Deacons fail to win this week, and if Clemson sneaks into a BCS Bowl game, the ACC is going to fall four teams short in its bowl responsibilities. That would force the Belk, Music City, Independence, and Military bowls to find at-large entries. We think VT will win this week, while Wake Forest loses. We are going to be generous to the ACC bowl tie-ins and say that Clemson will not receive a BCS at-large bowl bid. That leaves the league just two bowls short this year.
Thanks to Under Armor, it looks like Maryland could be leaving the ACC for the Big Ten. Will the Terps continue their trend of multiplicity?
1. BCS (Orange): Florida State
2. Chick-fil-A: Clemson
3. Russell Athletic: North Carolina St.
4. Sun: Georgia Tech
5. Belk: Virginia Tech
6. Music City: Duke
7. Independence: None Available
8. Military: None Available
Big East Conference
There are four bowl eligible teams for six bowl tie-ins, but at least the Big East still has a chance to fill the fifth and sixth bowls (we believe they will not fill those slots).
Rutgers and Louisville are the two contenders for the automatic BCS Bowl bid, and the winner of their November 29 game will become the last team chosen in the BCS Bowl pecking order (The Orange Bowl). By the way, if Maryland leaves the ACC for the Big Ten, it looks like Rutgers will leave the Big East and join the Terps.
Cincinnati and Syracuse are the other two bowl eligible teams. Syracuse is almost a lock to play in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Temple can still get to 6-6 and become bowl eligible, but we cannot see any of this trio winning out. UConn finishes at Louisville and at home with Cincinnati. Pitt hosts Rutgers and closes at South Florida. Temple has the best chance, but the Owls have to upset Syracuse Friday and then hope they can get a waiver at 5-6 because they did not get to schedule a 12th game. Their proposed hastily-scheduled game against Hawaii was called off.
1. BCS (Orange): Rutgers
2. Russell Athletic: Louisville
3. Belk: Cincinnati
4. Pinstripe: Syracuse
5. BBVA Compass: None Available
6. Beef O’Brady’s: None Available
Big Ten Conference
Ohio State could still earn part of a national championship. If the Buckeyes thrash Michigan this weekend, and then Notre Dame loses (and probably Alabama loses in the SEC Championship Game), Ohio State could earn the Associated Press National Championship.
The Rose Bowl will be just another game this year, because the best team will not be there. At best, an 11-2 Nebraska team will represent the league. At worst, an 8-5 Wisconsin team will sneak into Pasadena.
Along with the Cornhuskers and Badgers, Michigan, Northwestern, and Minnesota are bowl eligible. Michigan State must win at Minnesota this week to become bowl eligible, and this is an iffy proposition. Purdue must beat Indiana, and this is also an iffy proposition. If both teams lose, then there is virtually no chance there will be 70 teams with 6-6 records or better.
1. BCS (Rose): Nebraska
2. Capital One: Michigan
3. Outback: Northwestern
4. Buffalo Wild Wings: Wisconsin
5. Gator: Michigan St.
6. Meineke Car Care of Texas: Minnesota
7. Heart of Dallas: Purdue
8. Little Caesar’s: None Available
Big 12 Conference
Ouch! Kansas State was so close, and now they can only hope for a Fiesta Bowl bid. The Wildcats must still beat Texas, and the Longhorns’ defense has improved a lot since the Oklahoma game.
Oklahoma will steal an at-large bid away from any non-SEC 11-1 teams if the Sooners beat Oklahoma State and TCU to finish 10-2.
With Baylor’s big upset, it looks like nine of the ten members will become bowl eligible. However, it has not yet happened. West Virginia has lost five games in a row after starting 5-0. The Mountaineers still have games at Iowa State and at home against Kansas, and losing to the Jayhawks would be an astronomical upset. Baylor plays Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium and finishes at home against Oklahoma State. We think the Bears will get that sixth win this weekend at the Jerry Dome.
1. BCS (Fiesta): Kansas St.
2. BCS At-Large (Sugar): Oklahoma
3. Cotton: Texas
4. Alamo: Oklahoma St.
5. Buffalo Wild Wings: Texas Tech
6. Holiday: T C U
7. Meineke Car Care of Texas: Baylor
8. Pinstripe: West Virginia
9. Heart of Dallas: Iowa St.
Tulsa beat Central Florida Saturday by two points, and it looks like the two teams will do it again in the CUSA Championship Game. If UCF loses at home to UAB this week, and East Carolina beats Marshall, then ECU would win the East, but we give that about a 2% chance of happening.
Tulsa, UCF, and ECU are the only bowl eligible teams, but there are three 5-6 teams with a chance to become bowl eligible. Marshall would have to win at ECU. SMU would have to upset Tulsa. Neither one of those scenarios looks all that promising. However, the third team, Rice, has a legitimate shot to get their sixth win this week. The Owls were given up for dead at 1-5 after losing to Memphis. It was almost a given that Rice would be looking to make a coaching change. Then, the Owls got hot. They beat a decent UTSA team by 20 in a non-conference match, and then they gave Tulsa a real scare, losing late. Since that loss, Rice has won three straight games, while averaging 43 points per game. If the Owls beat UTEP this week, they are going bowling.
1. Liberty: Central Florida (beats Tulsa in a rematch)
2. Hawaii: Tulsa
3. Armed Forces: Rice
4. Beef O’Brady’s: East Carolina
5. New Orleans: None Available
Notre Dame could not ask for a better setup. The Irish are one win away from going to the National Championship Game, and they face a Southern Cal team that will not have Matt Barkley available.
Brigham Young and Navy are already set in their games. Army is not bowl eligible this year, so there will be one more bowl looking for an at-large team.
1. BCS (National Championship Game): Notre Dame
2. Poinsettia: Brigham Young (has already accepted this bid)
3. Kraft Fight Hunger: Navy (has already accepted this bid)
4. Military: None Available
With Miami of Florida dropping out of the bowl picture, the MAC could now send an unheard of seven teams to bowls. Six are already bowl eligible, and a seventh should become so this week.
Kent State and Northern Illinois have already clinched spots in the MAC Championship Game, and if Kent State wins, there is an outside shot that the Golden Flashes could sneak into the BCS Bowl picture. Wisconsin or Georgia Tech would have to win a conference championship game, and then Kent State would have to move up to number 16 in the BCS rankings. Kent State has games with Ohio U and Northern Illinois remaining and could move up a couple spots with wins in those games. However, that would still leave them short. The Flashes are number 23 in the BCS poll and would need losses from multiple teams including Boise State, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Michigan, Rutgers, UCLA, and Texas.
Outside of the top two in the MAC, Toledo, Bowling Green, Ohio U, and Ball State can pretty much make plans to play after December 20. If Central Michigan upends UMass this week (which they should), the Chippewas could be the beneficiary of the seventh MAC bowl bid and become the only 6-6 at-large team available.
1. Little Caesar’s: Kent St.
2. GoDaddy.com: Toledo (gets bid over NIU which went there last year)
3. Famous Idaho Potato: Northern Illinois
4. BBVA Compass (at-large): Ball St.
5. Beef O’Brady’s (at-large): Ohio U
6. Military (at-large): Bowling Green
7. Independence (at-large): Central Michigan
Mountain West Conference
The MWC has five bowl tie-ins and five available teams. Unfortunately, there will be no BCS at-large bowl bids available (although Boise State still has a remote chance).
We are more than likely looking at a three-way tie for the conference championship, so the MAACO Bowl can choose from among three teams.
1. MAACO: Boise St.
2. Poinsettia: Fresno St.
3. Hawaii: San Diego St.
4. Armed Forces: Air Force (has already accepted this bid)
5. New Mexico: Nevada
Oregon’s loss may be bittersweet for this league. While the Ducks are almost assured of missing out of the national title game and possibly eliminated from the conference title game, they will get an at-large BCS Bowl bid.
If Stanford beats UCLA this week, they will play them again the following week for the Pac-12 title. The winner of that game would earn the Rose Bowl, and Oregon would almost be a guarantee for the Fiesta Bowl.
Five other teams are bowl eligible. Oregon State is looking at a 9-3 season, while Arizona and Washington could both be 8-4. All three teams would move ahead of USC, which should finish 7-5. Arizona State is the eighth Pac-12 bowl team.
1. BCS (Rose): Stanford
2. BCS At-large (Fiesta): Oregon
3. Alamo: UCLA
4. Holiday: Oregon St.
5. Sun: Arizona
6: MAACO: Washington
7. Kraft Fight Hunger: Southern Cal
8. New Mexico: Arizona St.
It sounds like a horror movie, where you think the beast has been killed, but it always comes back for the sequel. Yes, the winner of the Alabama-Georgia game is almost a lock to play in the National Championship Game. And if the unthinkable happens and Notre Dame loses to Southern Cal, a Florida win over Florida State would put the Gators in the National Championship Game against the SEC Championship Game winner. Can you imagine a Florida-Georgia title game? It would be like Major League Baseball finding a way to put the Yankees and Red Sox in the World Series when both teams won 100 games.
The big question here is who gets the second BCS Bowl bid if Florida loses to Florida State and the Gators, LSU, and Texas A&M all have two losses? Throw in South Carolina if the Gamecocks upend Clemson.
With Arkansas and Tennessee losing this past weekend, the SEC will not furnish enough teams to its allocated bowls. Missouri and Ole Miss lost as well, and we don’t see both teams winning this week to become bowl eligible. At best, just Ole Miss will get to 6-6 in an upset at home against Mississippi State. If the Rebels lose, then we believe there will not be 70 bowl eligible teams when all is said and done.
1. BCS (National Championship Game): Alabama
2. BCS (Sugar): Texas A&M (If FSU beats UF, Johnny Football wins out)
3. Capital One: Georgia
4. Outback: Florida
5. Cotton: L S U
6. Chick-fil-A: South Carolina
7. Gator: Mississippi St.
8. Music City: Vanderbilt
9: Liberty: Ole Miss
10. BBVA Compass: None Available
11. Independence: None Available
It is now almost a given that this league will send five teams to bowls. They have two automatic bowl tie-ins and two more supplemental bowl tie-ins, but in order to fit all 70 teams into bowls and not force teams from the same conference to play in a bowl, we think that one of those supplemental bowl tie-ins will defer to a tertiary bowl agreement and send an SBC team to another bowl altogether. It sounds complicated, but here goes.
The champion goes to the New Orleans Bowl, and a second team goes to the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The league has secondary bowl agreements with the Little Caesar’s and Beef O’Brady’s Bowls. However, the MAC has a tertiary agreement with the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, and in order to avoid two MAC teams from playing each other in a bowl, BOB Bowl will need to invite a MAC team over an SBC team.
Troy still has a chance to become bowl eligible at 6-6, if the Trojans can win at Middle Tennessee this week. The Blue Raiders are still in contention for the SBC Championship; they face Arkansas State in Jonesboro in two weeks.
1. New Orleans: Arkansas St.
2. GoDaddy.com: UL-Monroe
3. Little Caesar’s (at-large): Middle Tennessee
4. Independence (at-large): UL-Lafayette
5. BBVA Compass (at-large): Western Kentucky
Western Athletic Conference
Louisiana Tech’s loss to Utah State removes the Bulldogs from any BCS at-large bowl talk as well as the conference championship bowl bid to the field of blue. Utah State now gets the invitation to Boise.
San Jose State is the third bowl eligible team in the WAC’s final year as a football conference. UT-San Antonio is deserving of a bowl if they defeat Texas State to finish 8-4. There is a bylaw in the bowl rules that would allow UTSA to become bowl eligible as a first-year FBS member. The Roadrunners would be ahead of any 5-7 teams if not enough teams win six games. They would not take precedence over a 6-7 team, and the rules have not established how to handle a 5-6 Temple team.
1. Famous Idaho Potato: Utah St.
2. New Orleans (at-large): Louisiana Tech
3. Military (at-large): San Jose St.
Here are this week’s complete bowl projections.
|New Mexico||MWC # 4/5||Nevada||Pac12 #7 / WAC||Arizona St.|
|Famous Idaho Potato||MAC #3||Northern Illinois||WAC #1/2||Utah St.|
|Poinsettia||MWC #2||Fresno St.||BYU/WAC||B Y U √|
|Beef O’Brady’s||Big East #6||(Ohio U)||C-USA #2-5 (4)||East Carolina|
|New Orleans||Sunbelt #1||Arkansas St.||C-USA #2-5 (5)||(Louisiana Tech)|
|MAACO||MWC #1||Boise St.||Pac 12 #5||Washington|
|Hawaii||MWC #3/Hawaii||San Diego St.||C-USA #2-5 (2)||Tulsa|
|Little Caesar’s Pizza||Big 10 #8||(Middle Tenn.)||MAC #1||Kent St.|
|Military||ACC #8||(Bowling Green)||Army/CUSA||(San Jose St.)|
|Belk||ACC #5||Virginia Tech||Big East #3||Cincinnati|
|Holiday||Pac 12 #3||Oregon St.||Big 12 #5||T C U|
|Independence||ACC #6/7 (7)||(Central Michigan)||SEC #10||(UL-Lafayette)|
|Russell Athletic||Big East #2||Louisville||ACC #3||North Carolina St.|
|Meineke Car Care||Big 12 #6||Baylor||Big 10 #6||Minnesota|
|Armed Forces||C-USA #3||Rice||MWC #4-5||Air Force-√|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Pac 12 #6||Southern Cal||Navy/ACC||Navy √|
|Pinstripe||Big East #4||Syracuse||Big 12 #7||West Va.|
|Alamo||Big 12 #3||Oklahoma St.||Pac 12 #2||U C L A|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Big 12 #4||Texas Tech||Big 10 #4 or 5||Wisconsin|
|Music City||SEC # 7||Vanderbilt||ACC #6||Duke|
|Sun||ACC #4||Georgia Tech||Pac 12 #4||Arizona|
|Liberty||SEC#8-9/BigEast||Ole Miss||C-USA #1||Central Florida|
|Chick-fil-A||SEC #5||South Carolina||ACC #2||Clemson|
|Heart of Dallas||Big 10 #7||Purdue||Big 12 #8||Iowa St.|
|Gator||Big 10 #4 or 5||Michigan St.||SEC #6||Mississippi St.|
|Capital One||Big 10 #2||Michigan||SEC #2||Georgia|
|Outback||SEC #3 or 4||Florida||Big 10 #3||Northwestern|
|Rose||BCS Pac12||Stanford||BCS Big 10||Nebraska|
|Orange||BCS ACC||Florida St.||BCS At-Large||Rutgers|
|Sugar||BCS SEC||Texas A&M||BCS At-Large||Oklahoma|
|Fiesta||BCS Big 12||Kansas St.||BCS At-Large||Oregon|
|Cotton||Big 12 #2||Texas||SEC #3 or 4||L S U|
|BBVA Compass||Big East#5/CUSA||(Ball St.)||SEC #8 or 9||(Western Ky.)|
|GoDaddy.com||Sunbelt # 2||UL-Monroe||MAC #2||Toledo|
|National Championship||*** BCS #1 ***||Notre Dame||*** BCS #2 ***||Alabama|
|√ = Team has already accepted bowl invitation|
Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings
|P i R a t e|
|8||L S U||124.4|
|15||U S C||118.7|
|19||U C L A||115.5|
|24||T C U||112.4|
|25||B Y U||112.2|
|54||North Carolina St.||103.3|
|57||San Jose St.||101.9|
|60||San Diego St.||100.2|
|80||S M U||94.8|
|97||U T E P||88.6|
|108||U A B||83.0|
|117||U T S A||77.1|
|123||New Mexico St.||72.2|
|V i n t a g e|
|8||L S U||123.5|
|19||U C L A||116.5|
|28||B Y U||111.0|
|29||San Diego St.||110.5|
|31||T C U||109.0|
|39||North Carolina St.||107.5|
|56||San Jose St.||103.5|
|92||S M U||90.0|
|103||U T S A||86.5|
|104||U N L V||86.5|
|111||U A B||83.0|
|112||U T E P||83.0|
|124||New Mexico St.||70.5|
PiRate Ratings By Conference
|Atlantic Coast Conference|
|North Carolina St.||3-4||6-5||103.3||107.5|
|Big East Conference|
|T C U||3-4||6-4||112.4||109.0|
|U A B||2-5||3-8||83.0||83.0|
|S M U||4-3||5-6||94.8||90.0|
|U T E P||2-5||3-8||88.6||83.0|
|B Y U||6-5||112.2||111.0|
|Mid American Conference|
|Mountain West Conference|
|San Diego St.||6-1||8-3||100.2||110.5|
|U S C||5-4||7-4||118.7||113.0|
|U C L A||6-2||9-2||115.5||116.5|
|L S U||5-2||9-2||124.4||123.5|
|Western Athletic Conference|
|San Jose St.||4-1||9-2||101.9||103.5|
|U T S A||2-3||7-4||77.1||86.5|
|New Mexico St.||0-5||1-9||72.2||70.5|
This Week’s PiRate Spreads
|This Week’s Games|
|Tuesday, November 20|
|Thursday, November 22|
|TEXAS||T c u||9.7||8||8|
|Friday, November 23|
|Ball St.||MIAMI (O)||13.5||11.0||NL|
|Northern Illinois||EASTERN MICHIGAN||20.4||20.5||20|
|EAST CAROLINA||Marshall||8.9||11.0||4 1/2|
|KENT ST.||Ohio U||10.7||14.0||10 1/2|
|L s u||ARKANSAS||20.2||18.5||12|
|IOWA ST.||West Virginia||2.5||1.0||-1|
|Washington||WASHINGTON ST.||17.0||25.5||11 1/2|
|ARIZONA||Arizona St.||3.4||5.0||2 1/2|
|Saturday, November 24|
|OHIO ST.||Michigan||2.8||9.5||4 1/2|
|Vanderbilt||WAKE FOREST||17.1||16.0||12 1/2|
|NORTH CAROLINA||Maryland||16.8||14.5||24 1/2|
|VIRGINIA TECH||Virginia||9.6||7.0||10 1/2|
|Miami (Fla)||DUKE||3.9||4.0||5 1/2|
|NORTH CAROLINA ST.||Boston College||10.4||12.5||14|
|Texas St.||U T S A||1.0||-3.5||1 1/2|
|UTAH ST.||Idaho||34.0||34.5||39 1/2|
|San Diego St.||WYOMING||9.3||19.5||7|
|BAYLOR (@ Arlington)||Texas Tech||6.5||2.5||2|
|Mississippi St.||OLE MISS||0.6||0.5||-1 1/2|
|Stanford||U C L A||1.1||5.0||1|
|B y u||NEW MEXICO ST.||37.5||38.0||28 1/2|
|FRESNO ST.||Air Force||18.2||18.5||16 1/2|
|Tulsa||S M U||7.6||9.5||5|
|SAN JOSE ST.||Louisiana Tech||1.5||3.5||5|
|COLORADO ST.||New Mexico||3.9||5.0||3|
|U T E P||Rice||0.4||-6.0||2 1/2|
|CENTRAL FLORIDA||U a b||25.7||22.5||22|
|Notre Dame||SOUTHERN CAL||2.2||8.5||NL|
|U n l v||HAWAII||2.4||4.5||NL|
|WESTERN KENTUCKY||North Texas||10.4||14.5||11 1/2|
|UL-LAFAYETTE||South Alabama||23.5||20.5||18 1/2|