As hard as it is to believe, the end of the college football regular season in nigh upon us.
By the end of the week, we will know which four teams are in the inaugural College Football Playoff. We will also know all of the match-ups for the remaining 36 bowl games.
Last week, seven more teams became bowl-eligible to up the season total to 79. Four teams will make the playoffs. That means at least 75 teams will be looking to grab one of the remaining 72 spots. Three more teams – Fresno State, Oklahoma State and Temple – could still pick up a sixth win this Saturday.
Here’s last week’s recap:
American Athletic Conference – There was no change in the AAC last week. Temple lost to Cincinnati, 14-6, to stay at five wins. The Owls can still get to six wins by beating Tulane on the road on Saturday. Cincy, East Carolina, Memphis, Houston and UCF are all bowl-eligible with six bowl tie-ins for the conference.
Atlantic Coast Conference – Two more ACC teams made it to six wins last week with Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech notching sixth victories. That raises the conference’s bowl-eligible teams to 11 teams with nine bowl tie-ins. The Panthers and Hokies join Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami (FL), NC State and North Carolina with at least six victories.
Big 12 Conference – Like the AAC, there was no change in the Big 12 this week. Oklahoma State, which plays at Oklahoma on Saturday, is the only remaining team that can still become bowl-eligible with a win. If OSU can pull that off, it will join Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and West Virginia in the six-win club. The Big 12 has seven bowl tie-ins.
Big Ten Conference – With bowl eligibility on the line, Illinois came away with a 47-33 win at Northwestern last week. However, Michigan could not pull off the upset over Ohio State, and the Wolverines promptly fired head coach Brady Hoke. In addition to the Fighting Illini, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Rutgers and Wisconsin are all bowl-eligible with 10 conference bowl tie-ins.
Conference USA – It was a bittersweet week for the UAB football program. On Saturday, the Blazers beat Southern Miss to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004. The school then announced earlier this week the shutting down of the program. Very sad. Old Dominion, which is an FBS newcomer, also wrapped up its sixth win to join Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Rice, UTEP and Western Kentucky as bowl-eligible. CUSA has six bowl tie-ins.
Independents – It wasn’t easy, but Navy finally joined BYU and Notre Dame as a bowl-eligible team. The Midshipmen squeaked past Southern Alabama, 42-40. Even with the Navy game still on the schedule, Army can’t get to six wins. Navy is already tied to the Poinsietta Bowl.
Mid-American Conference – Since Akron could not knock off Kent State, there was no change in the MAC this week. The conference’s bowl-eligible teams are all wrapped up. Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan all have at least six wins with five MAC bowl tie-ins.
Mountain West Conference – Fresno State got to six wins last week, but the Bulldogs still need a win over Boise State on Saturday to become bowl-eligible. That’s because FSU has a 13-game schedule. Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada, San Diego State and Utah State are bowl-eligible with seven MWC bowl tie-ins.
Pacific-12 Conference – Neither Cal nor Oregon State was able to get to six wins last week, so the Pac-12 teams with at least six wins are now all wrapped up. Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington are all bowl-eligible. The Pac-12 has seven bowl tie-ins.
Southeastern Conference – Tennessee became the 12th bowl-eligible team in the SEC with 10 bowl tie-ins. The Vols join Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas A&M in becoming bowl-eligible. Kentucky and Vanderbilt were the only two SEC teams that failed to win six games.
Sun Belt Conference – The Sun Belt’s bowl-eligible and eliminated teams were settled last week, although Georgia Southern learned this week its appeal to play in a bowl game was denied by the NCAA. That’s a shame considering the Eagles won the conference title with a spotless 8-0 record and went 9-3 overall. Appalachian State also won six games, but the Mountaineers also can’t participate in the postseason because, like Georgia Southern, they are in an FBS transition year. Arkansas State, Louisiana, South Alabama and Texas State are all bowl-eligible with three SBC bowl tie-ins.