College football’s bowl structure will not go over the fiscal and legitimate cliff come December after all.
As of Sunday, 71 teams are eligible to compete for college football’s 70 bowl slots. Two more — UConn and Pittsburgh — could clinch bowl berths this weekend. If there weren’t enough bowl teams eligible, five 5-7 teams with the highest APR (academic progress rates) would have been placed into a selection pool for a bowl needing another team.
Crisis averted, except for Western Kentucky (7-5), Central Michigan (6-6) or possibly Bowling Green (8-4).
Four quality teams are ineligible for the postseason because of current or prospective NCAA sanctions. The Big Ten’s Ohio State (12-0) and Penn State (8-4) are both banned from the postseason. Two of the ACC’s Coastal Division tri-champions — North Carolina (8-4) and Miami (7-5) also will not participate. North Carolina is banned for NCAA violations this year, while Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for the second straight season. The Hurricanes expect a flurry of NCAA sanctions for impermissible benefits provided by a booster to the football program over several years.
There’s little-to-no intrigue for the BCS’ at-large berths this year. Of the fourth spots, Notre Dame and Florida have earned guaranteed access. Oregon also is likely to automatically qualify. The other spot will go to either Oklahoma or Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. With the Sugar Bowl’s new relationship with the Big 12, expect it to honor that, unless Oklahoma loses to TCU this weekend. Oklahoma then would get kicked to the Alamo Bowl and Iowa State would become college football’s most attractive bowl free-agent.
The most interesting potential match-up would involve long-time rivals Texas and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. No other bowl game would be so hotly contested as that one.
BCS Championship — Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose — Nebraska vs. Stanford
Fiesta — Kansas State vs. Oregon
Sugar — Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange — Florida State vs. Louisville
BIG TEN BOWLS
Capital One — Michigan vs. Georgia
Outback — Northwestern vs. LSU
Gator — Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
Buffalo Wild Wings — Michigan State vs. Texas Tech
Meineke Car Care — Minnesota vs. TCU
Heart of Dallas — Purdue vs. Iowa State
BIG 12 BOWLS
Cotton — Texas vs. Texas A&M
Alamo — Oklahoma State vs. UCLA
Holiday — West Virginia vs. USC
Pinstripe — Baylor vs. UConn
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