Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bowling In Obscurity

Champs Sports? Music City? Meineke Car Care? Emerald? With the unexpected (by the experts) success that the Boston College football team has had this season, their bowl possibilities seem almost endless. There has been a great deal of confusion regarding how the bowl selection process works when it relates to the Eagles. This article will hopefully go a long way toward explaining that process, and we'll also clarify the definition of "The BC Rule".

Historically speaking, Boston College has always been passed over in the bowl selection process for teams with lesser records but bigger fan bases. Bowl games outside of the BCS are and will always be about money. If bowl games were about matching up the best teams against each other, BC would have been the team battling nationally ranked Auburn in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl in 2007 (The Chic-Fil-A is the highest non-BCS bowl that the ACC is tied to). But, due to the Eagles reputation as a "poor traveling" fan base, they were passed over in favor of Clemson, a team BC had beaten just 2 weeks prior and but brings much greater revenue to the city of Atlanta because of it's traveling fans. I won't get into the specifics as to why other schools (particularly in the south) travel better than BC. I'll let the undergraduate enrollment and alumni base location explain that for me.

What does that have to do with this year? Well quite a bit actually. It was because of incidents like the one above, and an even more insane series of snubs in 2005 that led to BC being forced into playing in Boise, ID, that a rule was enacted affectionately known as "The BC Rule". While not specifically enacted to help out the Eagles, it's hard not to notice the timing. The rule is written into the bowl contracts, and as a result is not an arbitrary suggestion to the bowl games and has been exercised twice already (and was also a primary reason that the Gator Bowl was dropped from the ACC going forward after this year).

"The BC Rule" states that a bowl can not select a team in the process in which there is more than a 1 game difference in conference record (ie, a team with a 4-4 ACC record can not be taken ahead of a team that finishes 6-2 or better).

Now let's get to the relevance on this season starting by getting 1 thing out of the way. No matter what happens, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Virginia Tech will be taken before the Eagles in the selection process based on their conference record being (at minimum) 5-3. After that though things get very dicey. If BC wins out and finishes at 6-2 in the conference the ONLY other team in conference that could finish 5-3 is Miami/Duke (they play each other).

That means BC would be first in line for a bowl bid ahead of (let's assume Miami beats Duke) Florida State, North Carolina, and Duke. Under these circumstances, with BC sitting at 5th in the pecking order of ACC teams, let's examine another piece of the bowl selection process that has confused people.

According to the ACC bowl contracts, the Music City Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and the Emerald Bowl are listed as having the 5th, 6th, and 7th choices in the selection process. This is not entirely accurate though. What most people don't understand is that these 3 bowls are allowed to work together to choose which teams will compete in their bowl. By this, I mean that each bowl will select which team it PREFERS to have. If the bowls agree on the selection, record is not a factor (a 4-4 team could be selected ahead of a 5-3 BC team). If they DO NOT agree, then the bowls will select in order based on their payout (Music City, Meineke, Emerald). However, "The BC Rule" DOES indeed trump this selection process. This means that in the scenario we listed earlier in which BC finishes 6-2, the Music City Bowl would HAVE to take the Eagles unless the team agrees to not be selected.

Basically to simplify this whole process, if BC wins their final 2 games (vs. North Carolina, @ Maryland) they are guaranteed to fall no lower than the Music City Bowl. I attended the Music City Bowl last year in Nashville and had a great time. I'd encourage all Eagle fans to do the same. Now, if BC loses 1 of both of these remaining games, they will be thrown back into the free selection process and likely end up in San Francisco playing in the Emerald Bowl.

Any questions or comments on the selection process? Leave them in the comments section or e-mail me: section.x@live.com

Stay Tuned For:

The recap of the basketball game between BC and St. Francis (NY)...see the preview below for a look at the Terriers and where you can WATCH the game.

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