Chuck Cox of College Football America keeps up with the bowl picture. Starting this week he’ll keep you up to date on which teams are bowl-eligible and which teams are not as bowl season approaches. Teams that have reached bowl eligibility are in bold.
Now that the first BCS standings have been released, it’s time to start taking a weekly look at the bowl picture as it begins to take shape. We’ll let you know which teams are eligible to fill the 35 bowl games, which includes the five BCS bowls — Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and the BCS national championship.
American Athletic Conference — Two more teams became bowl eligible last week, as Houston knocked off Rutgers and UCF smoked UConn. That gives the new AAC half of its six bowl tie-ins. Louisville had already reached six wins prior to last week. Cincinnati is just one win away from getting to six. The Bearcats should get there with a win over 1-5 Memphis tonight. Rutgers should also easily get to six wins, while SMU has an outside shot.
Atlantic Coast Conference — Duke’s stunning win over Virginia Tech made the Blue Devils bowl eligible for the second straight season. Duke joins Clemson, Florida State, Miami, and the aforementioned Hokies as bowl-eligible teams from the ACC. Maryland and Georgia Tech are both sitting at five wins. The Ramblin’ Wreck could get there this weekend with a win over Pittsburgh. However, the Terps are off this week. Pitt and Wake Forest are both at four wins. The ACC could struggle to fill its nine bowl tie-ins.
Big 12 Conference — Oklahoma State reached six wins with a victory over Iowa State last weekend. The Big 12 now has four teams bowl eligible — Baylor, Oklahoma, OSU, and Texas Tech. Texas will likely get there on Saturday with a home game against Kansas. Kansas State should also get eventually there. Although the Wildcats only have three wins, they still have games with Iowa State, TCU, and Kansas. And they get the Cyclones and Horned Frogs at home. Expect the Big 12 to come up one short of its seven bowl tie-ins.
Big Ten Conference — Four teams are bowl eligible in the Big Ten, including Minnesota after a big win over Nebraska. Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State are also bowl eligible. Three more teams — Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin — are each one win away from six, and the Hawkeyes and Badgers play each other this weekend. Northwestern has four wins, but the Wildcats are winless in conference play. The Big Ten has eight bowl tie-ins.
Conference USA — Welcome to the party, Rice and Tulane. The Owls and Green Wave became the first two teams from the newly revamped CUSA to reach bowl eligibility with victories over UTEP and Tulsa, respectively, last weekend. North Texas could get to six wins with a victory over Rice tomorrow night. Marshall and Middle Tennessee are both sitting at four wins after staging an epic battle with one another last week. The conference has seven bowl tie-ins.
Independents — BYU and Notre Dame both reached the six-win plateau with victories last weekend. The Cougars knocked off Boise State for their fifth straight victory, while the Fighting Irish stomped Air Force. Navy is two wins away after a last-second victory over Pittsburgh last weekend in Annapolis.
Mid-American Conference — The MAC is the only conference in the country that has already exceeded its bowl tie-ins, although the conference only has three. Buffalo and Ohio both reached six wins last weekend to join Ball State and Northern Illinois as bowl-eligible teams. Bowling Green and Toledo are both just one win away from six.
Mountain West Conference — Undefeated Fresno State remains the only bowl-eligible team in the MWC. However, Boise State and UNLV both have five wins. Four other teams — Colorado State, San Jose State, Utah State, and Wyoming — are at four wins. The MWC should reach its six bowl tie-ins.
Pacific-12 Conference — There are still only three Pac-12 teams — Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford — that have reached six wins, but a whopping five more teams are sitting at five wins. And two more, Utah and Washington State, are at four. If all of those teams get in, the conference will reach its 10 bowl tie-ins. Of course, the 8-0 Ducks look like a pretty good bet to go to the BCS title game this season.
Southeastern Conference — South Carolina and Texas A&M both got to six wins last weekend to give the SEC six bowl-eligible teams. Ole Miss has five wins, while Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt all have four victories. The conference should reach its 10 bowl tie-ins.
Sun Belt Conference — The Sun Belt is now the only conference without a bowl-eligible team. Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State should get there this weekend. Troy, which has five, has a swing game with Louisiana-Monroe, a four-win team, tomorrow night. The SBC should easily reach its two bowl tie-ins.