Bowl Alert!…Bowl Alert! This just in: there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the open slots. It will be interesting to see what the NCAA will do to make sure all of these bowls have teams to present a half-way decent game.
To be clear, here is the scenario: Counting the two college football playoff bowls, there are a total of 40 post-season bowl games…FORTY! That means there needs to be 80 FBS teams that are bowl eligible in order to fill all of the slots. A team has to have six wins in order to become bowl-eligible. As of this past weekend, there are only 77 teams that are bowl-eligible!
There are three teams that have a 5-6 record, with one game remaining: Kansas State of the Big 12 Conference, and Georgia State and South Alabama of the Sun Belt Conference. If all of those teams win their final game, there will be enough teams to fill all of the bowl slots. Kansas State meets West Virginia (7-4); Georgia State travels in-state to face Georgia Southern (8-3); and South Alabama takes on Appalachian State (9-2). All three teams could wind up losing their final games, creating a quandary for the NCAA.
Bowl games that could be affected by the lack of eligible teams are all scheduled to have their games on Saturday, December 19: The AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. The former two have an agreement with the Sun Belt Conference while the New Mexico Bowl has an agreement with the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA; however, if those conferences don’t have enough eligible teams, the bowls can invite teams from elsewhere.
So, what is the NCAA going to do if they don’t have enough teams to fill all of the bowl openings? I am going to assume that they have discussed this possibility, but my suggestion is a pretty good one: take the teams from the Power Five conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big 10, PAC 12, and Southeastern) that finished with five wins and rank them according to point differential (offensive points minus defensive points). Secondly, determine if the team would send enough fans to the bowl game to allow the bowls to at least break even.
Using this formula, the top three teams would be: Nebraska, Illinois, and Missouri. Then, if the above-mentioned teams do not win their final game, the bowls can issue invitations to these schools. Of course, those schools would need to accept the invitation! If not, the rest of the 5-7 teams to be ranked would be Kentucky, Minnesota and San Jose State. If they don’t accept an invitation, I guess the bowls would have to be cancelled.
I have ranted about too many bowl games until I am blue in the face! Do we really need to have 40 bowls? It used to be that if a team had a successful season, they would be invited to a post-season bowl game. I cannot believe that a team with a 6-6 record would be considered to have a successful season!