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Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Rockets, Falcons set up to go bowling

Strong year by MAC appealing to sponsors

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

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

jwag­ner@the­blade.com,

419-724-6481 or on

Twit­ter @jwag­ner­blade.



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