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Bowl Outlook

Well it looks like the Sun Belt may have a few more Bowl Eligible teams than usual.  What needs to happen for them to squeak into our new bowl tie-ins?

New Orleans Bowl
This bowl actually may end up going to a non-champion or a team that didn't win the tiebreak since the other bowls have higher payouts…think Troy playing last year instead of us if we had gotten a better bowl invite.  In addition it is possible CUSA may not meet its required number of teams, however this would not affect the Sun Belt.

Independence Bowl - Big 12 #7 v. SEC 6/7/8
Currently the Big 12 has 7 bowl-eligible.  If they send a team to the National Championship + Fiesta Bowl they would need 9 teams to fill this bowl slot. We need 2 of the following 3 to not become bowl eligible: Colorado (5-5), Kansas State (4-6), Texas A&M (4-6).

On the SEC side, if they have to play a Sun Belt team they likely would send a #8 against us.  Currently it looks as though SEC will have 2 BCS bids (NC + Sugar) so they would need 10 bowl eligible to fill this spot.  They currently have 6 and there are 5 still in the hunt.  The odds are not that bad that only 3 of the 5 will become bowl eligible.  Those in the hunt: Vanderbilt (5-4), Mississippi (5-4), Auburn (5-5), Mississippi State (3-6), Arkansas (4-6).

Papa Johns - Big East 4/5 v. SEC 9
In the Big East there are currently 5 bowl eligible.  With the BCS bowl berth they would need 5/6 bowl eligible.  This is probably going to happen so this spot is probably safe for them.  In the hunt: Rutgers (4-5), Louisville (5-4)

The SEC, as mentioned above, may have trouble filling its down ticket bowls.  They would need to have all the teams in the hunt become bowl eligible…however with conference games, this is likely impossible.  This would be a good pick up for the Belt and especially for any team looking to show it can play at the level of the Big East.  FAU v. Louisville would be….interesting.

St Pete - Big East 6 v. CUSA
If both Rutgers and Louisville end up bowl eligible the last place one will go here.  This could be a pickup for the Belt simply due to the difficult schedule remaining for Louisville (Cincy and WVU).

CUSA currently has 3 bowl eligible and 5 still in the hunt.  No BCS birth due to Tulsa's loss so with CUSA's 6 total slots it seems they will likely fill this bowl.  Since they do not give a rank for this bowl it is difficult to determine whether it is a priority for that conference above the Armed Forces bowl.

Overall, if the Big 12 and SEC continue to do well and the Big East struggles, the Sun Belt could have up to 4 bowls opportunities this year.  The lawyers for these bowls MAY be regretting signing on to this deal as they attempt to promote 7-5 or 6-6 Sun Belt teams, but this is a potential windfall for the conference, monetarily as well as in terms of a chance to be in the national spotlight.

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
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