Bowl Eligibility Report
Currently there are 35 Bowl Games, meaning that to fill the spots, 70 teams need to get to six wins apiece. There is a good chance that this may not happen this year.
As of today there are 54 teams eligible. Up to 35 other teams could achieve eligibility. More of these 35 face uphill battles to get to six wins than not. In addition, one of those 35 is Notre Dame, who traditionally does not accept invitations to lower tier bowl games.
Breakdown by conference after the jump:
Virginia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Florida State
Wake Forest, Virginia*, Duke (*Virginia is 4-6, but with 2 wins against FCS competition)
Boston College (5-5): UVA, @Syracuse
Clemson (5-5): @Wake, South Carolina
Georgia Tech (5-5): Duke, @Georgia
All three teams seem likely to pick up one win from their next two, but losing out wouldn’t be inconcievable for any.
ACC Eligible: 6
Bowl Eligible: Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M
Texas Tech (5-5): Weber State, Houston
Iowa State (5-6): Missouri
Colorado (5-6): Nebraska
Texas (4-6): Florida Atlantic, Texas A&M
Texas Tech will get to six wins. Iowa State and Colorado both need big upsets in their finales. Texas certainly CAN beat A&M, but I’m doubtful that they haven’t completely given up.
Big 12 Eligible: 7
Eligible: USF, West Virginia, Syracuse
Pittsburgh (5-4): @USF, @Cincinnati, West Virginia
Connecticut (5-4): @Syracuse, Cincinnati, @USF
Louisville: (5-5): West Virginia, @Rutgers
Rutgers (4-5): @Cincinnati, Louisville, @West Virginia
Cincinnati (3-6): Rutgers, @Connecticut, Pittsburgh
My analysis is that the NCAA is obviously rooting for all teams to finish 6-6 because if they hold the New Mexico Bowl and only the last place team from the Big East shows up, it DOES in fact still exist.
If, as has been theorized, every Big East game is decided by secret coinflip, then probabilities would be: Pitt (87.5%), Uconn (87.5%), Louisville (75%), Rutgers (50%), Cincinnati (12.5%).
Big East Eligible: 3
Big East Possible: 8
Eligible: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan
Illinois (5-5): vs. Northwestern, @Fresno State
Purdue (4-6): @MSU, Indiana
Indiana (4-6): vs. PSU, @Purdue
Illinois really screwed things up for themselves by losing to Minnesota. Now they need an upset in one of their last two, although both games are manageable. Things are looking dire for Purdue and Indiana. The Dallas Football Classic picks 7th from the Big Ten. It is the first game on New Years Day. If they get two in the BCS (likely), and Illinois doesn’t scare up a win (very possible), then we’re looking at a MAC team* to wake up to after New Years Eve. Texas Tech vs. Toledo! Taste the excitement!
*This assumes there are ANY teams available, of course.
Big Ten Eligible: 7
Big Ten Possible: 9
Eligible: UCF, Tulsa, UTEP, Southern Miss, East Carolina
Ineligible: UAB, Memphis, Rice
SMU (5-5): Marshall, @ECU
Houston (5-5): @Southern Miss, @Texas Tech
Marshall (4-6): @SMU, Tulane
Tulane (4-6): UCF, @Marshall
Marshall and Tulane play each other, so the max from C-USA is 8. In addition, Marshall and Tulane also each have likely losses against SMU and UCF respectively, so those don’t look likely. SMU doesn’t want to have to get #6 @ECU, and likewise for Houston @Texas Tech, so their upcoming games have to be considered must-win. Seven teams is conceivable, but five might be more conceivable.
C-USA Eligible: 5
C-USA Possible: 8
Army and Navy are qualified. Notre Dame is 5-5 and could become bowl eligible, but they traditionally do not go to lower tier bowl games. In this year of a shortage of teams, they (and USC) could create a serious issue.
Independents Eligible: 2
Independents Possible: 3
Eligible: Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio, Temple, Miami (OH)
Ineligible: Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Akron
Western Michigan (4-6): Kent State, @Bowling Green
Kent State (4-6): @Western Michigan, Ohio
One of these teams will have one shot at getting eligible after they play each other. Do I know anything about the personnel of either team or those they are playing? No.
MAC Eligible: 5
MAC Possible: 6
Eligible: Utah, TCU, San Diego State, Air Force
Ineligible: New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State, UNLV
Work-to-do: BYU (5-5): New Mexico, @Utah
New Mexico is a W. @Utah is problematic. Good thing they only need 6 to get to the New Mexico Bowl. With TCU likely going BCS, the Mountain West won’t fill all of its slots even WITH BYU.
Mountain West Eligible: 4
Mountain West Possible: 5
Eligible: Oregon, Stanford, Arizona (yes really, that’s it)
Ineligible: USC, Arizona State (4-6 with 2 FCS wins), Washington State
Cal (5-5): Stanford, Washington
Oregon State (4-5): USC, @Stanford, Oregon
UCLA (4-5) @Washington, @Arizona State, USC
Washington (3-6) UCLA, @Cal, Washington State
Washington COULD run the table. UCLA MAY get two wins from those three games. The least likely scenario belongs to the best team of the four, Oregon State, who will probably be at home because they scheduled two Top Ten teams non-conference*. Arizona State screwed themselves by scheduling two FCS teams. And of course, with USC being ineligible and the Pac-10 cannibalizing itself with an extra conference game, it’s really a perfect storm this year. It is eminently possible for the Pac-10 to only get three bowl teams. And two could go BCS.
*And lost to Wazzu, obviously.
Pac-10 Eligible: 3
Pac-10 Possible: 7
Eligible: Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State, Alabama, Kentucky
Georgia (5-6): Georgia Tech
Tennessee (4-6): @Vandy, Kentucky
Mississippi (4-6): @LSU, Mississippi State
Holy crap, Tennessee could totally go to the Liberty Bowl! It’s down to one game for Georgia, obviously. Ole Miss is probably done.
SEC Eligible: 8
SEC Possible: 11
Ineligible: North Texas, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette
Troy (5-4): @South Carolina, WKU, @FAU
FIU (4-5): @ULL, ArkSt, MTSU
FAU (4-5): @Texas, @MTSU, Troy
Arkansas State (4-6): @Navy, @FIU
Louisiana-Monroe (4-6): North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette
Middle Tennessee (3-6): @WKU, FAU, @FIU
Florida Atlantic vs. Texas looks intriguing at this point, doesn’t it? The NCAA needs some of these teams to get to 6 wins desperately. Either FIU has to lose twice, or one of MTSU or Arkansas State has to lose, so the maximum here is five. Only getting one is completely plausible.
Sun Belt Eligible: 0
Sun Belt Possible: 5
Eligible: Boise State, Nevada, Hawai’i, Fresno State
Ineligible: New Mexico State, San Jose State
Louisiana Tech (4-6): @San Jose State, Nevada
Utah State (4-6): Idaho, @Boise State
Idaho (4-6): @Utah State, Fresno State, @San Jose State
Idaho gets an extra game, which is huge. Two wins are possible. Presumably the Humanitarian Bowl will be pulling for them, so they don’t have to take Miami of Ohio or someone similar. Things look bleak for the other two, particularly Utah State.
WAC Eligible: 4
WAC Possible: 7