College Football America’s Bowl Eligibility Update: Nov. 19

TCU's Josh Doctson celebrates a touchdown last month against Texas Tech. ( photo by Matthew Postins)

TCU’s Josh Doctson celebrates a touchdown last month against Texas Tech. ( photo by Matthew Postins)

As we head down the home stretch of the college football season, nine more teams reached six wins last week to become eligible to play in a bowl game.

Sixty teams are now bowl-eligible for 76 spots (four of those teams will go to the inaugural College Football Playoff), which means 33 teams are fighting for the remaining 16 bowl slots.

Here’s last week’s recap:

American Athletic Conference – Two more AAC teams got to six wins last week to give the conference four of its six bowl tie-ins. Cincinnati and UCF joined East Carolina and Memphis as bowl-eligible. Houston and Temple are sitting on five wins, while South Florida has four. The other four teams in the conference – SMU, Tulane, Tulsa and UConn – have been eliminated from bowl contention. Houston has Tulsa this week, while Temple has a bye.

Atlantic Coast Conference – North Carolina State joined the bowl-eligible party in the ACC last week with a win over Wake Forest. That gives the conference eight of its nine bowl tie-ins. North Carolina and Virginia Tech each have five wins. UNC is at Duke tomorrow night, while the Hokies play at Wake Forest on Saturday. Pittsburgh and Virginia have four wins each, while Syracuse and Wake Forest have been eliminated from bowl contention.

Big 12 Conference – The Longhorns are going bowling. Texas got a big win at Oklahoma State last week to become bowl-eligible in Charlie Strong’s first year at the helm. The Big 12 now has six of its seven bowl tie-ins. However, Oklahoma State is the only other team that could still get to six wins. The Cowboys are 5-5 with games against Baylor and Oklahoma remaining on the schedule. Iowa State, Kansas and Texas Tech have been eliminated from postseason contention.

Big Ten Conference – Penn State and Rutgers both made it to six wins last week to give the Big Ten nine of its 10 bowl tie-ins. Michigan, which hosts Maryland on Saturday, is 5-5, while Northwestern and Purdue are both sitting on four victories. Indiana and Purdue are the only two teams eliminated from postseason contention.

Conference USA – Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, the Miners are bowl-eligible. UTEP knocked off North Texas last week to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. The Miners became the fourth team in CUSA to get to six wins this season. Middle Tennessee, UAB and Western Kentucky all have five victories. The Blazers will have a tough time getting there this week with a game against undefeated Marshall, but MTSU hosts FAU, while WKU hosts UTSA. Old Dominion has four wins, but the other five teams in the conference can’t reach six wins. CUSA has six bowl tie-ins.

Independents – Notre Dame finally has some company. BYU became the second independent team to become bowl-eligible with a win over UNLV.  Navy is off this week, but the Midshipmen could get to six next week at South Alabama. Army has been eliminated from postseason contention.

Mid-American Conference – There were no changes in the MAC this week. The conference has already filled it five bowl tie-ins, but Akron and Ohio are both sitting on five wins and Buffalo has four. The Bulls host Kent State later tonight. The other five teams in the conference have been eliminated from postseason contention.

Mountain West Conference – The MWC remained at five bowl-eligible teams with seven tie-ins. San Diego State has five wins, while Fresno State and Wyoming have four wins each. There’s a pretty strong chance none of those teams wins this week with games against Air Force, Nevada and Boise State, respectively. Hawai’i, New Mexico, San Jose State and UNLV have all been eliminated.

Pacific-12 Conference – For the second straight week, the Pac-12 failed to have another team become bowl-eligible, leaving the conference at six bowl-bound teams with seven bowl tie-ins. Cal, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington are all one win away. Cal and Stanford square off this weekend, while Washington hosts Oregon State. Colorado and Washington State have been eliminated from the postseason.

Southeastern Conference – The SEC also had a second straight week of remaining stagnant. The conference has eight bowl-eligible teams with 10 bowl tie-ins. However, five teams – Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee – all have five wins. All of those teams, with the exception of Kentucky, could become bowl-eligible this weekend. The Wildcats have a bye.

Sun Belt Conference – South Alabama knocked off Texas State, 24-20, to reach six wins. USA is the fourth team in the SBC to win six games, although Georgia Southern (8-3) can only go to a bowl game with an exemption because the Eagles are transitioning to the FBS. Appalachian State and Texas State both have five wins, while the remaining five teams in the conference have been eliminated. The Sun Belt has three bowl tie-ins.

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