Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bowling in Obscurity, Part 2

Last week, we profiled the seemingly endless bowl possibilities for Boston College, and how they could greatly improve their stock (to the chagrin of bowl reps) by beating North Carolina and Maryland to close the season. Now, with the North Carolina game in the loss column, let's take a look at what is available for the Eagles, and make another prediction as to where they will be playing in late December.

With BC now guaranteed to finish no better than 5-3 in the ACC, they will be a part of what is essentially a beauty contest with several other 5-3 or 4-4 teams for the right to go to the most prestigious bowl games. And for all intents and purposes, BC is the ugly kid who got forced into the contest by their parents. They're best win is against Florida State (currently 6-5), they're 1-3 on the road, and have been blown out in 3 games this season. This means, that in all likelihood, the Eagles will drop to the bottom of the bowl pecking order. But where is the bottom?

Most people assume that the bottom of the barrel in this case will be the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco against a 2nd tier Pac-10 team. But the reality is that there is another rule in place, recently added by the NCAA, that could keep the Eagles out of California and on the East Coast.

Added in 2006, the NCAA rule states:

"A bowl game can not select a ream with 6 wins until all bowl eligible teams with at least 7 wins have been selected."

Initially, I was under the impression that this rule only applied to bowls looking to replace conference affiliations with an at-large team. I assumed that the goal was to keep bowls from passing over a mid-major team with 8 wins for a BCS level school that may only have 6. But, upon further examination, this rule does also apply within the conferences. This means that a 6-6 team can not be selected in front of a team with 7 or more wins.

Where this affects Boston College this weekend is when we look at the team that BC beat back on October 3rd of this year. The Florida State Seminoles rebounded after losing starting QB Christian Ponder for the season by winning their last 2 games to make themselves bowl eligible. But this weekend, the 'Noles will be in the Swamp taking on the #1 ranked Florida Gators. If Florida State can not come up with what would be an absolutely shocking upset, Florida State will finish the season 6-6. This would mean that unless a deal is struck between BC and the bowl selection committee's of the Emerald Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl, to allow Meineke to take Florida State, the Eagles will be bowling in Charlotte for the 3rd time this decade.

Now, again, as we explained last week, all of these rules about bowl selections can be overridden by a well placed dollar amount (likely to be the difference between the bowl payout loss for BC). But if the Eagles do not agree to be passed over, the Meineke Car Care Bowl will have to take the Eagles.

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