Collins' Bubble Watch: College Football's Real Money Games
Thirty-two bowls, sixty-four teams. Isn’t college football at this time of year like pre-tournament college hoops? At least for the BCS conference commissioners who are sweating out filling their bowl contracts.
BCS conferences have contracted for 48 bowls with another two for the National Championship game. Fourteen spots for non-BCS football teams. More than they deserve, but throw them a scrap. In a good year, non-BCS teams will get 15 percent of the bowl revenues. When Notre Dame makes a BCS bowl, they get 1 percent.
The real money games this Saturday are not Texas-Texas Tech or Georgia-Florida, but college football’s version of Bubble Games between conference teams verging on bowl-eligibility or being home for the holidays. More bowl contracts filled means more revenue to be shared for the conferences.
Who’s doing the most sweating? (Besides the non-BCS teams wanting to fill an empty contract slot) Which teams are on the Bubble Watch, while we look at the top games?
Here’s what the conference commissioners will be watching:
ACC—(12 teams) Contracts for 9 bowls (75 percent of teams).
Teams In (2)—Maryland, North Carolina.
Teams Out (2)—Clemson, NC State
Need One More Win (6)—Georgia Tech and Florida State have six wins but only one of their two FCS games can count. Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami.
Bubble Teams (2) – Wake Forest (4-3) and Duke (4-3) for the final spot (five games
Wake Forest (Duke, Virginia, @NC State, Boston College, Vanderbilt)
Duke (@Wake Forest, NC State, @Clemson, @Virginia Tech, North Carolina)
Game of the Week – Duke@Wake – The winner is one game from bowl eligible. Both
have NC St. Duke needs this win more.
Conclusion: Sitting pretty. The ACC will fill their contracts. They may have an extra
Big East—(8 teams) Contracts for 7 bowls (87.5 percent)
Teams In (3)—Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati
Teams Out (1)—Syracuse
Need One More Win (3)—West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Louisville
Bubble Team (1)—Rutgers (3-5)
Rutgers (Syracuse, @S. Florida, Army and Louisville)
Game of the Week – Syracuse at Rutgers (Nov 8). Pride for Syracuse. Everything for Rutgers
Conclusion: Sweating it out. This could come down to the Louisville game. Possible
bowl bid not filled.
Big 10—(11 teams) Contracts for 7 bowls (63 percent)
Teams In (5)—Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan St, Northwestern, Minnesota.
(If Penn State goes to the N.C., eight teams can fill Big 10 contracts.)
Teams Out (3) —Indiana, Purdue, Michigan
Needs One More Win—Iowa (5-3)
Probable In—Wisconsin (4-4). Schedule—(@ Michigan State, @Indiana,
Bubble Teams (2)—Iowa (5-3), Illinois (4-4)
Iowa (Illinois, PSU, Purdue, Minn)
Illinois (Iowa, Western Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern)
Game of the Week—Illinois @ Iowa. The Illini need this game more. Lose and they
need two of W. Michigan, Ohio State, and Northwestern. Could this come down to
the NW game?
Conclusion: Coming Up Short. Looks like seven teams. Possible bowl bid not filled.
Big 12—(12 teams) Contracts for 9 bowls (75%)
Teams In (5)—Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
Teams Out (3)—Baylor, Iowa State, Texas A&M
Need One Win (2)—Nebraska, Kansas (5-3)
Probable In (1)—Colorado (4-4)—next two games are Texas A&M and Iowa State
Bubble Team (1)—Kansas State (4-4)
Kansas State (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa St.)
Game of the Week—Kansas vs. Kansas State. A win over rival Kansas makes the
Wildcats road much easier.
Conclusion: 50-50. If team goes to N.C., possible bowl bid not filled. If K State loses to Kansas and Missouri, Nebraska game is key.
PAC 10—(10 teams) Contracts for 7 bowls (70 percent)
Teams In (2)—USC, Oregon
Teams Out (2)—Washington State, Washington
Need One Win (2)—Cal (5-2), Arizona (5-3)
Probable Out (1)—UCLA (3-5)—needs to win three of Ore State, Wash, ASU, USC
Bubble Teams (3) – Oregon State (4-3), Stanford (4-4), Arizona St (2-5)
Ore St (ASU, UCLA, Cal, AZ, Ore)
Stanford (Wash St, Ore, USC, Cal)—(only one gimme)
ASU (Ore St, Wash, Wash St, UCLA, Ariz)
Game of the Week—ASU vs. Oregon State
Conclusion: Too hard to call. Five games left for two of these teams. Stanford may
have the toughest road. Pac-10 needs all three Bubble Teams to fill all its
SEC—(12 teams) Contracts for 9 bowls (75 percent)
Teams In (3)—Georgia, Florida, Alabama
Teams Out (3)—Tennessee, Miss. St, Arkansas
Need One Win (4)—Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina, LSU
Bubble Teams (2)—Auburn (4-4), Mississippi (4-4)
Auburn (Miss, Tenn-Martin, Ga, Ala)
Mississippi (Auburn, La-Monroe, LSU, Miss St)
Game of the Week—Auburn vs. Mississippi. If Auburn loses, they need two out of
Tenn-Martin, Georgia and Alabama. Mississippi can lose, but would need two
out of La-Monroe, LSU, Miss St. This is the biggest game of the year for
Conclusion: Hot seat. Since the SEC needs both to fill its bowl contracts, they would
want Auburn to win in the Bubble Game. If Alabama goes to the NC, possible
one bowl bid not filled, two if either Auburn or Mississippi are not bowl-eligible.
Non-BCS Conference Teams:
Bowl Eligible (9): Tulsa, Utah, Ball State, TCU, BYU, Boise State, Air Force, C.Michigan, W. Michigan
Need One Win (6): Notre Dame, Navy, Rice, Troy, San Jose State, Northern Illinois
Bubble Teams (5): East Carolina, Hawaii, Nevada, Buffalo, New Mexico
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