For the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University, last week’s losses mean playing in the Mid-American Conference football championship game is no longer a possibility.
But that doesn’t mean the season is over for either team. In fact, even though each team only has one regular-season game to play, both have a lot still riding on the outcome.
Ken Hoffman, chairman and executive director of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, said Toledo, Bowling Green, and the rest of their MAC brethren have done a good job of making themselves attractive to potential bowl suitors.
“Performance on the field [is a key for bowl attractiveness], and that’s good news for the MAC because they have had a record-breaking year,” he said. “With three teams that have been in the Top 25 of the BCS, and 16 wins against BCS schools, the good news is that bowls can’t go wrong with MAC schools.”
Hoffman added that solid on-field performance is only one part of the equation that makes a team an attractive fit for a bowl.
“On-field performance is the first thing [bowls look at], but No. 2 is the following a team has,” Hoffman said. “Bowls really have a small window in which to sell tickets, so it often comes down to who is in the game and can sell tickets in a three-week window.
“The third component is who is on the other side of the field. You want to have an interesting and competitive game on the field to sell.”
For MAC schools, all that may become moot if the bowls can’t reach the magic number of 70.
That number represents the number of FBS schools needed to fill 35 college bowls. Currently there are 62 teams already bowl eligible, a group that includes both the 8-3 Rockets and the 7-4 Falcons.
While 15 teams remain eligible to fill the remaining eight slots, not all of them are certain to reach the six wins needed for bowl eligibility. And if there are only 70 bowl-eligible teams, both Toledo and BG are certain to go bowling.
But where? The MAC has bowl tie-ins with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the GoDaddy.com Bowl, and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which will be played Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, has the first choice among bowl-eligible MAC schools, followed by the GoDaddy.com Bowl, which will take place Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala., and then the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which will be played Dec. 15 in Boise. The front-runners for those bowls are the two 10-1 teams that will play in the MAC Championship game, Northern Illinois and Kent State.
The MAC has “secondary” bowl agreements with the New Mexico, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, BBVA Compass, Ticket City, and Poinsettia bowls, which means the league will be the first choice to fill openings if the leagues that have first crack at those bowls can’t supply teams.
The MAC probably will be needed to fill the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl, and potentially others. The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl is contracted to the sixth pick of teams from the Big East and the fourth choice from Conference USA, but there is a strong chance neither school will have that many bowl-eligible teams. The BBVA Compass Bowl will look to have the eighth or ninth team from the SEC and fifth squad from the Big East. If two SEC teams are chosen for the BCS bowl picture, it will have trouble filling its obligation to this bowl.
Other bowls that may have trouble finding eligible teams are the Military Bowl,the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, and the Music City Bowl. All of the bowl pairings are expected to be announced on Sunday, Dec. 2 when the BCS pairings are announced.
Contact John Wagner at
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