Bowl Eligibility Report: There May Not Be Enough Teams


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

Possible: 9


Big 12:


Bowl Eligible: Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M


Ineligible: Kansas




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

Possible: 11


Big East:


Eligible: USF, West Virginia, Syracuse


Ineligible: none




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


Big Ten:


Eligible: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan


Ineligible: Minnesota




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


Independent Teams:


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


Mountain West:


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


Ineligible: Vanderbilt




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


Sun Belt:


Eligible: None


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



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