Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
In the post-game press conference, Brady Hoke was asked, "If you were in our shoes, wouldn't you have started writing the story before the game ended?" He answered, "No." To which, he was asked, "Why not?" Let me attempt to answer for Brady. Quite simply, because we're Michigan, FERGODSAKES! That doesn't convince you? OK, how about a few examples:
On November 6, 2010, Michigan played a football game against Illinois that went to triple overtime. Had I been writing this diary back then, I'm sure I would have ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome; a lengthy boxscore that was. Michigan's defense had trouble stopping the Illini all game long. We were down to our backup QB, who managed to keep us in the game even with the defensive problems. The game ended when the Michigan defense stepped up and made a stop.
On September 10, 2011, Michigan played a football game against Notre Dame. Michigan got the ball with 28 seconds left on our own 20 yard line, trailing by three. A ridiculous pass play to Jeremy Gallon brought us into scoring range. Hoke went for the win. Roy Roundtree caught a TD pass which sealed what I thought to be Michigan's most improbable victory.
On November 10, 2012, Michigan played a football game against Northwestern. Michigan's defense had trouble stopping the Wildcats all game long. But again, Michigan's backup QB kept making plays to keep us in it. Michigan got the ball with 18 seconds left on our own 38, trailing by three. A ridiculous pass play to Roy Roundtree brought us into scoring range. Hoke went for the tie (more on that later) and Gibbons made the kick, sending us to overtime. The game ended when the Michigan defense stepped up and made a stop.
Yes, on occasion we do lose those types of games, but every now and then, and more often than you would think, Michigan wins. Impossibly, improbably, with a little bit of luck or good fortune, Michigan finds a way. That's why I would never leave a game early or give up on the team, or start writing a story before the story has completed on the field.
Burst of Impetus
* NW scored with 5:30 left in the third to go up by 10. Things weren't looking so good for our Maize and Blue Men. Our next drive started off slow: an incomplete pass followed by an 11 yard chop block penalty. A little screen pass left us with 3rd and 17 from our own 15 yard line. It was then that Borges went into ND '11 mode (jump balls for all). A deep pass attempt resulted in a PI penalty against NW. First down Michigan. Gardner then went to Gallon for 42 more yards. A short pass to Touss was turned into a 28 yard TD scamper by some nifty Fitz footwork. Even though we were still behind, Impetus had clearly returned to the M sideline.
* It's hard to be positive when you give up 27 first downs to these guys, but I'll try.
* NW ended up with 431 total offense yards. That's the same amount that Alabama,
the greatest team ever assembled, a pretty good offense, had against us. I never would have guessed that Alabama and NW would be equivalent at anything. After the Alabama game, I wrote, "If we can hold everyone else under 431, I’ll be happy." NW didn't get more than 431, so I'm not unhappy, I'm just confused.
* Thomas Gordon led us in tackles with 11, not a good sign. Demens and Morgan were next with 9 apiece. Considering Mattison substituted freely with the LBs, that's a lot of tackles.
* TFLs returned with a vengeance, as we recorded 8.
* Wistert Kovacs was all over the field. You might have thought there were three number 11s out there (there really should have been.) Kovacs had 5 tackles, a TFL and 2 pass breakups.
* I noticed Bolden playing in NW's first series. I was a little confused by that since the recent trend has been to go with Morgan and Demens almost exclusively. It seems like Mattison's gameplan was to rest his guys, knowing that they were going to be doing an awful lot of east-west running, and that it was likely going to be a 4 quarters game. The plan obviously worked, as Demens was fresh enough at the end to make the two biggest tackles of the day on successive plays.
* Continuing on this theme, 24 players recorded tackles, likely a record for the 2 seasons I've been doing this.
* In case it hasn't been said before, Greg Mattison is a genius. Have you ever seen a defense run a trick play? I'm not talking about zone blitzes or OKIE packages or whatever. That last defensive play was a legitimate trick play, akin to the Statue of Liberty or Halfback pass. From going with a 4-3 alignment all season long, to switch to a 3-4 with the DEs split way outside and then blitzing your two best defensive players right up the gut. That was madness and genius all rolled up in one.
* In his first start at Michigan, Gardner was 16 for 29 for 286 yards and 2 TDs.
* I went to the Rose Bowl where Vince Young destroyed our defense. I get the comparisons. It's early, but I think Gardner is the better passer and Young is the better runner.
* For not wanting to run Gardner, he still ended up with 9 carries for 47 yards and 2 TDs. Most were scrambles, not designed runs.
Bunches of Funchess
* Funchess only catch was an 8 yard TD. I thought he was partly to blame for Gardner's INT. It appeared he was waiting for the ball to fall gently into his hands, instead of high pointing the ball. This gave the NW DB time to get over and make the pick.
* Another inconsistent day (if you don't get the sarcasm, see last week's diary) for Jeremy Gallon. Seven catches for 94 yards with a long of 42. I'm betting he gets at least honorable mention Hoke double finger points in tomorrow's recap.
* Roundtree was in the right place at the right time, twice. The first time, Fitz' fumble went through his hands. The second time, the NW DB deflected the ball to him. This time, he caught the ball and set us up for the game-tying FG. That may have been the quietest 139 yard receiving day in M history, other than the miraculous deflection, of course.
And Justice for Rawls
* After last week, I thought Rawls had won the job, but this week it was back to the Fitz 2 YPC show (with the possibility of one long run that may or may not end in a TD or fumble.) Rawls gained 1 yard on 3 carries.
* Touss led us with 92 yards rushing, and caught one TD pass that was due all to his footwork.
Norf and Souf
* Norfleet had 4 kickoff returns for 107 yards, with a long of 37, but the real story of the return game was the 23 yard punt return from Jeremy Gallon that gave us hope near the end of the game.
* We were a +6 in net yards per punt, but a -4 in net yards per kickoff, and it could have been a lot worse.
* NW was penalized 8 times for 75 yards, while Michigan was penalized only twice for 26 yards. Some penalties are obvious, and some can be considered judgment calls. For example, when Gardner gets NW to jump offsides, that's an obvious call. When a NW lineman grabs a Michigan player's jersey, while it may be obvious to us, it's still somewhat of a judgment call. The reason NW was penalized so much more than us is that they made several obvious penalties.
* What frustrated me were the judgment calls that were not called on NW. On their first drive, the first time we've given up a TD this year on a first drive, an NW player grabbed Jake Ryan's jersey and pulled so hard, the "7" on Ryan's back ended up on top of his shoulder pads. I think that was on Trumpy's 21 yard run, also the first time in awhile we've given up anything to a running back. So for the rest of the game, I kept waiting for the Zonkeys to call a holding penalty on NW. If you think about, NW's style is to run a lot of east-west directional plays, which requires linemen (and receivers) to hold (there's that word again) their blocks longer than a straight north-south type running attack. That should make them more susceptible to holding calls.
* If you think I'm spending too much time on this, go look at the last play GIF where Demens makes the tackle. I watched that play a dozen times. Jibreel Black busts through the gap between the center and the guard. The center reaches behind Black, grabs his shirt, and pulls it down below his butt. No flag. Didn't matter as we made the stop, but that crap went on all game long and NW was called for at most, one holding penalty (the kick return that wiped out a TD, FWIW.)
Outside the Boxscore
* Last year, Brady went for the win against ND. This year, he went for OT. I think both decisions were correct, maybe just based on hindsight, but Denard had just broken ND's spirit, and we weren't sure about our FG kickers yet. Plus, we had an extra second to spare. Against NW, I just had the feeling that with a short field in OT, Mattison could play more aggressively and sell out against the run. Make Kain Colter beat you with his arm. NW's last four plays: run, run, run, run. Kain Colter was never going to beat us with his arm. Game, set, match, Greg Mattison.
Notre Dame edges closer to Michigan for the top spot despite the pickup of Da'Mario Jones, Nebraska moves up the board, and Minnesota gets a flurry of commits to... stay in last by a wide margin, actually. Baby steps. Changes since the last rankings:
10-28-12: Penn State picks up Richy Anderson. Minnesota picks up Eric Carter.
10-31-12: Michigan picks up Da'Mario Jones. Demetrius Hill decommits from Indiana. Minnesota picks up Nate Godwin.
11-1-12: Notre Dame picks up Cole Luke. Nebraska picks up Randy Gregory.
11-2-12: Wisconsin picks up Corey Clement.
11-3-12: Minnesota picks up Demaris Peppers.
11-10-12: Northwestern picks up Raymond Davison.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^||POINTS*|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
*The product of number of Commits and Average Average
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
(fact checkers, knock yourselves out, am still going mostly off memory)
Have yet to lose a home game during my tenure as a student.
The Big Ten is now going to allow two teams to go to bowl games.
The tie-breaker rules have been revised to eliminate AD votes. If records are even, and head to head is a tie, non-conference record will be the tie breaker.
Denny Franklin is gone, and we start a rookie QB from Flint, a 3 sport high school star who turns into one of the all time great UM athletes, Rick Leach.
To recap, Ohio, unbeaten-untied national champs 1968, upset by UM in last game of 1969 to cost them that title, lost Rose Bowl in upset to Jim Plunkett led Stanford to cost them 1970 national title, the super sophs graduated, well, left, so 1971 a rebuilding year.
1972 and 1974, lost at MSC in upsets both years, but beat us to go to Rose Bowl and choke.
1973, tie us, beat USC 42-21 in the Rose Bowl. The tie most likely cost them another title.
In those days of the Big Two and the Little Eight, other than MSC, which was away in years we hosted the Buckeyes, the other games were for drinking and passing up co-eds in the stands. Another ritual was throwing the Annie Greenspring – Boones Farm – Mad Dog bottles over the top of the stadium at the end of the 3rd quarter. Just pass them up in the stands to the folks in the top row, who threw them over the edge.
The streak of 100,000 plus started at the end of the 1974 season. The legal drinking age was 18. You could bring a keg into the game, if you had a ticket for it.
The field had not been dug down yet, so the cheerleaders did back flips off the wall after every score, counting up the Wolverine points. Whisky the dog still pushed a ball the length of the field at half time.
Almost, maybe every, game started at 1:30 p.m.
We had our own internal countdown clocks.
We start the year with 3 non-conference games, still an 11 game season and no Notre Dame contract yet.
Not sure which was first, but, I think the 19-19 tie with Stanford was. Not a vintage Stanford team. They missed an extra point and Bob Wood made a then record 4 field goals for us.
Despair. Unbelievable. How could this happen?
Then, next week, even worse. 14 – 14 with Baylor.
I could not get drunk enough.
Then the boys rounded into shape, knocking off one of the Little Eight after another.
My first trip for a game was to MSC in 1973. Very memorable. Played in a raging downpour. They crossed midfield once, on a completed pass, but the receiver fumbled and we recovered.
The ever-daring Denny Stoltz punted on third down on consecutive possessions. I think it was 42-0.
In 1975, they were supposed to be good. (OK, I am fact checking this one. I was right!)
I go to MSC to root against Woody once again.
The 11th game added to the former ten game season, is a conference game, before the three non-conference opponents.
Woody's team is loaded once again, led by returning Heisman winner Archie Griffin.
21-0 Ohio crushes Sparty. The long drought up north is over, as they have won all the rest of their regular season games this decade, and the last couple years of the 60s, except for games in our state. (with the exception of the 1971 rebuilding year)
Sparty then rips off 3 in a row, even beating Notre Dame at South Bend. A couple of my MSC buddies were in town for our game, at a kegger at a sorority house. The sorority had to get special permission from their national office to serve beer.
My fraternity then determined which sororities played at half-time of the Mud Bowl, so they were nice to us. Until after Homecoming.
There was still beer in the keg when we had to leave, so we took it with us.
Having run Duff Daugherty out of town for losing to Bo, MSC now thinks they can take us with their new coach, are hosting in East Lansing.
We get a 4th quarter TD and win 16-6.
MSC is now 0-2 in league play, with no real chance to pass us or Ohio and get to a bowl game.
Being Sparty, they blow a couple of games to finish 7-4.
We go through conference play undefeated, 8-0-2, to face the 10-0 Buckeyes. The Orange Bowl announces it will be ecstatic to take the LOSER of the game to face the Big Eight champ.
I decided it would be appropriate to greet Archie Griffin, finishing what would be his second Heisman winning campaign, with a couple of oranges.
A bunch of baseball players lived in the house and they/I invited me to join them and other male varsity athletes (uh, I was never in that category) to guard the banner from another Buckeye attack.
I just jumped on the field and milled around with them, following along.
It is awesome to stand at midfield and look up at a full house before the Ohio game.
Back in the day, I was big for my size. I was hoping Ohio would storm us at mid-field; then I would be sure to nail Archie with the oranges secreted in my pocket.
Sure enough, the Suckeyes stormed out of the tunnel and came right for us.
Man, they were big! Being in cleats didn't hurt as far as obtaining a height advantage over 6 foot even me. I let the legitimate guardians hold up the banner, and left my hands in my pockets holding the oranges.
The line held, and Woody led them off to the Ohio side.
I planned (again) to go the Rose Bowl after we won. The home team had not lost a Bo-Woody game yet.
Cornelius Greene led them down the field for a score on their first possession.
Our defense then held them to: ten
three and outs.
Greg Mattison, eat your heart out. Ten in a row, with the Heisman winning running back.
We are up 14-7 in the 4th quarter.
One of our Tds, I believe the first, was a halfback pass from Gordon Bell.
Buckeye ball. Third and long. Greene is backed into his own end zone. A Wolverine dives and grabs one ankle. Greene barely gets off the pass.
It is complete.
For first down.
They get all the way down to tie the score.
Now, a tie sends Woody to the Rose Bowl, because we would have the exact same conference record, and a head to head tie, but, we had those damn ties to Stanford and Baylor and would lose the non-conference tie break.
So, we had to pass.
Run back inside the ten.
Buckeyes get a touchdown.
Massive letdown. One home loss in four years.
So, Orange Bowl trip instead.
I was five rows from the top of the upper deck, and cringed at the hits the Selmon brothers were dealing out. Oklahoma had the two Selmons, and, another D lineman who also made all pro.
For the only time in his career, Ricky was knocked out of the game, by an blatant late hit about 3 strides out of bounds. In front of a referee.
Which was not called.
The Buckeyes had blown yet another Rose Bowl, this time to UCLA, opening up the national title.
And Oklahoma took it, by beating us 14-6.
Trivia note: NBC-TV forsook its longtime logo, the peacock, for a stylish “N”, unveiled, of course, on January 1, 1976, first day of the bi-centennial.
Turns out it was the same logo as Nebraska public TV, so they had to change it.
I sneaked into the NBC party before the game with a fraternity brother who did have an invite. When someone tried to bust me, asking if he could help me, I said sure, I'd like a scotch on the rocks. He said show me your ticket. My bro slipped his to me while the exchange took place.
Ahh, the brashness of youth.
P.S. to Ace: yes, I am older than dirt.
A warm front lifting through the area will bring plenty of warm temperatures, but also scattered showers (it's associated low is in the plains). We'll see the cloud cover decrease during the day and also the rain chance too. It's going to be a pleasant evening to celebrate a win and enjoy the remainder of parents and family weekend!
A few scattered showers passed through overnight and they may linger into the morning hours. For you early risers, it's just a bit cool to start the day-sitting in the mid 40s until sunrise. By mid-morning we'll hit 50 degrees and keep the overcast skies. Winds are very light at about 5-6mph out of the SSE.
Continuing to warm up and getting to 55 for the game's start. Might be just starting to get some glimpses of the sun, and there is still a slight chance of a passing shower and we're hanging on to a lot of those clouds! Winds are southerly at about 8mph.
A little warmer as you watch the band - 59 degrees for the half. Keeping mostly cloudy skies and winds out of the south at 10mph (leaves rustle about).
Would you believe it's a November game?! 62 degrees in leaving the stadium with mostly cloudy skies. Winds remain out of the south at about 15mph. By dinner time, we're partly cloudy and dry - and grab a drink & stay out late with such mild temperatures! Mid 50s for dinner drops to 50 by the time the doors close. Mostly sunny for Veterans Day, but it will be breezy - gusts in the mid 30s - so be safe if you're driving home from an A2 visit! Go Blue!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI, and temporarily for NBC25 in Flint/Saginaw, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
this week's miniprogam. comments and corrections are appreciated.
I’ve always been a fan of the bowl games, and over the past few years, have spent too much time wondering which school would slot into which bowl. With several schools ineligible to play in the postseason due to a variety of sanctions, I have been curious to see if would be enough teams this year to fill up every game.
This is my first Diary Entry, so please let me know of any formatting issues or other comments. Hopefully you will find this at least mildly interesting.
First, let me start with conference bowl affiliation numbers:
Big Ten – 8 affiliations
Rose, Heart of Dallas, Outback, Gator, Capital One, Buffalo Wild Wings, Meineke Car Care and Little Ceasars
ACC – 8 affiliations
Orange, Sun, Music City, Chik Fil A, Russell Athletic, Independence, Military and Belk
B12 – 7 affiliations
Fiesta, Cotton, Pinstripe, Buffalo Wild Wings, Alamo, Meineke Car Care and Holiday
Big East – 6 affiliations
BBVA Compass, Liberty*, Pin Stripe, Russell Athletic, Belk and Beef O’Brady’s
Conference USA – 6 affiliations
Heart of Dallas, Liberty*, Armed Forces, Hawaii, New Orleans and Beef O’Brady’s
MAC – 3 affiliations
Go Daddy, Little Caesars and Famous Idaho Potato
Mountain West – 5 affiliations
Armed Forces, Hawaii*, Las Vegas, Poinsettia and New Mexico
PAC 12 – 7 affiliations
Rose, Sun, Kraft Fight Hunger, Alamo, Holiday, Las Vegas and New Mexico
SEC – 10 affiliations
Sugar, BBVA Compass, Cotton, Outback, Gator, Capital One, Music City, Liberty*, Chik Fil A and Independence
Sun Belt – 2 affiliations
Go Daddy and New Orleans
WAC – 2 affiliations
Hawaii* and Famous Idaho Potato
At Large Bids – 5
BCS Championship, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange
Other Bids (Independent) – 3
Poinsettia (takes BYU eligible), Kraft Fight Hunger (takes Navy if eligible) and Military (takes Army if eligible)
* Liberty takes either CUSA or SEC team and Hawaii takes Mountain West or WAC team
In total, 35 bowl games meaning 70 slots that have to be filled by eligible teams. Let us see how each conference fairs in terms of eligible teams. The information below is broken down as follows: Eligible Teams (have 6 wins already), On the Cusp (5 wins) and Still Have a Shot (4 wins). I did not account for any 3 win teams since it seems unlikely they will win out to become bowl eligible. I have also provided the remaining schedule beside each team listed under On the Cusp or Still Have a Shot.
Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
On the Cusp:
Michigan State (Northwestern and Minnesota)
Minnesota (Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan State)
Still a Shot:
Iowa (Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska)
Indiana (Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue)
With 8 slots to fill, the Big Ten will be hard pressed to have enough teams eligible. The sanctions against Ohio State and Penn State are really hurting the Big Ten’s chances to fill up their complement. Minnesota’s best chance is this weekend against Illinois while MSU should become eligible against the aforementioned Gophers. Iowa needs two wins and most of us would cheer if they became eligible with a victory over Nebraska. Indiana has a tough road and needs one against Wisconsin or PSU before taking down in-state rival Purdue in their last game. Schools from non-power conferences are likely watching the Big Ten with interest since the trickle down effect of not having enough teams will only permit more of those teams to get an invitation.
Clemson, Florida State, Duke
On the Cusp:
Wake Forest (NC State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt)
NC State (Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College)
Miami (Fla.) (Virginia, South Florida and Duke)
Still a Shot:
Maryland (Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina)
Georgia Tech (North Carolina, Duke and Georgia)
Virginia Tech (Florida State, Boston College and Virginia)
If not for sanctions against North Carolina, the ACC had the potential to have ten teams bowl eligible. As it is, there should be a strong complement. Personally, I see eight with either Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech winning two of their final three games. GT has to win the next two games as I do not believe they will be competitive against Georgia. VT should win the final two games, but as they have been inconsistent this year, neither game is guaranteed.
Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech
On the Cusp:
Oklahoma State (West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor)
West Virginia (Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas)
Iowa State (Texas, Kansas and West Virginia)
Still a Shot:
Baylor (Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State)
With only seven spots to fill, the Big 12 will have at least that many bowl eligible teams. Two of the three On the Cusp will become eligible when they play each other. If Oklahoma State wins at West Virginia, I expect the Big 12 will have eight eligible teams since West Virginia and Iowa State both play Kansas and should win. Baylor has a tough road needing two victories against tough competition. I do not expect that happen.
On the Cusp:
Cincinnati (Temple, Rutgers, South Florida and Connecticut)
Still a Shot:
Syracuse (Louisville, Missouri and Temple)
Pittsburgh (Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida)
It is all but assured that the Big East will not have the six teams it requires to fulfill its bowl obligations. Cincinnati should already be eligible, but as they played and defeated two FCS teams, they need a seventh win. Beyond that, only Syracuse and Pittsburgh have a realistic chance to reach the six win total, and even for them, that is doubtful. Temple, South Florida and Connecticut each have three wins and need to win out to become eligible.
UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
Houston (Tulsa, Marshall and Tulane)
Marshall (UAB, Houston and East Carolina)
Rice (SMU and UTEP)
SMU (Southern Miss, Rice and Tulsa)
CUSA has six slots to fill, and at this point, I doubt they will get there. To me, the winner of the SMU/Rice game has the best shot followed by the winner of the Houston/Marshall matchup. That would only get them to five leaving one bowl game searching.
Notre Dame, Navy
On the Cusp:
BYU (Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State)
Still a Shot:
I think we can expect Notre Dame to reach a BCS game. Navy is already ticketed to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. BYU needs one win, and if achieved, is slotted to fill one spot in the Poinsettia Bowl. Army, who was to go to the Military Bowl, will not be eligible. I expect Air Force might take their spot.
Kent State, Ohio, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ball State
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
Miami (Ohio) (Kent State, Central Michigan and Ball State)
Western Michigan (Central Michigan, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan)
The MAC is clearly going to benefit from other conferences inability to field a full complement of bowl eligible teams. With only three slots to fill, there are already six teams eligible with Western Michigan having a great shot to make it seven. That would mean four teams looking for an invite to an at-large bid.
Fresno State, San Diego State, Boise State, Nevada
On the Cusp:
Air Force (San Diego State, Hawaii and Fresno State)
Still a Shot:
New Mexico (Wyoming, Nevada and Colorado State)
With five slots to fill, the Mountain West is in good shape. Air Force should become eligible against Hawaii, and if New Mexico can take care of Wyoming and Colorado State, that would result in six eligible teams.
Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC
On the Cusp:
Washington (Utah, Colorado, Washington State)
Arizona State (USC, Washington State, Arizona)
Arizona (Colorado, Utah and Arizona State)
Still a Shot:
Utah (Washington, Arizona, Colorado)
With seven slots to fill, the PAC 12 should fill its complement. Both Washington and Arizona play Colorado, which we can assume they both win. This would give the PAC 12 seven eligible teams. If Utah can beat either Washington or Arizona, they should become eligible after defeating Colorado. Arizona State’s best chance is against Washington State. There is a good chance the PAC 12 could have nine eligible teams.
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State
On the Cusp:
Mississippi (Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State)
Vanderbilt (Mississippi, Tennessee and Wake Forest)
Still a Shot:
Missouri (Tennessee, Syracuse and Texas A&M)
Tennessee (Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky)
Arkansas (South Carolina, Mississippi and LSU)
Though the SEC is affiliated with ten bowls, I think they only need nine teams as there is joint responsibility with the Liberty Bowl. I would expect them to reach this figure as the winner of the Ole Miss/Vanderbilt game will become eligible and I think the winner of the Missouri/Tennessee matchup has a great chance. Arkansas has four wins and are listed due to my criteria, but I do not expect them to win any of their remaining games. As I expect the SEC will get two teams in a BCS bowl, this will mean tougher opponents for the Big Ten in their joint affiliations.
Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky
On the Cusp:
Louisiana-Lafayette (Arkansas State, North Texas and FIU)
Still a Shot:
Troy (Navy, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State)
The Sun Belt is only affiliated with two bowl games, and with four teams already eligible, the fact that there are so many schools ineligible this year due to sanctions will only help these schools get into a game. Louisiana-Lafayette looks primed to get enough wins, but I have a hard time believing Troy will get that sixth win.
Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
The WAC has two slots to fill with three teams currently eligible. Texas-San Antonio should be On the Cusp, but they have played too many FCS teams to qualify. This is not a big year for the WAC, which is on life support and may not even exist as a conference for football next year.
Of the 70 slots available, 53 teams have already qualified. I have a further 17 teams listed as On the Cusp. Even if all those teams qualify, bowl games administrators will breath a sigh of relief. A few of the Still a Shot schools could also come through, which will help to ensure there are enough teams. Otherwise, we go to the new “bowl eligibility” rules, which were summarized at ESPN:
Now, first consideration will go to 6-6 teams with a win against any FCS teams, regardless of scholarships, then 6-6 teams with two wins against FCS schools.
A team that finishes 6-7 and loses in a conference championship would be next, followed by 6-7 teams that normally play a 13-team schedule, such as Hawaii and its home opponents.
Then bowls could then invite FCS teams making the move to FBS, if they have at least a 6-6 record.
Finally, a team with a top-five APR that finishes 5-7 could be selected.
Let’s hope these scenarios are not necessary.
As for the winners/losers, to me, the MAC and Sun Belt conferences will be rewarded for having more than their required complement. With the Big Ten, Conference USA and Big East all expected to fall beneath their affiliated allotment, those games will be looking for teams. Of course, the result will be less desirable matchups, but that has become par for the course.