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Could a One-Loss Team from a Non-BCS Conference Make a BCS Bowl?

David HedlindAnalyst IIOctober 21, 2008

First, I just want to review the rules. This is from the BCS selection policies and procedures.

The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, or,

B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking in the final BCS standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be in the pool of teams eligible for selection by the bowls as at-large teams.

Why did I want to look at this? Because everyone talks about the teams from the other conferences and whether or not they are undefeated. Go back through the qualifications and tell me where it says a team has to be undefeated.

Taking a look at the first BCS standings, TCU, with one loss, would qualify for the automatic berth if Utah and Boise State were not ahead of them. TCU sits at 14 but ahead of South Florida and Georgia Tech. If TCU wins out and therefore beats Utah, and if Boise State gets upset along the way, the Horned Frogs could very easily stay ahead of these teams from the Big East and the ACC.

If that happens, a one-loss team from a non-BCS conference can make a BCS bowl.

Maybe, in the end, one of the current undefeated teams will stay undefeated and qualify for the automatic berth, making my argument here a moot point. If it doesn’t happen this year, though, the table has been set for it to happen soon.

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