College Football's Bubble Watch: The Final Week

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
College Football's Bubble Watch: The Final Week

Thirty-four bowls, sixty-eight teams.

Isn’t college football at this time of year like pre-tournament college hoops? The real money games are 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.

BCS conferences have contracted to place 48 teams in bowls—with another two for the national championship game, of course. That leaves 18 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, it gets one percent.

Which conference is winning the bowl contract race? Who’s doing the most sweating? Which teams are on the "Bubble Watch"?

Here’s what the conference commissioners will be watching.

*Overall records are listed first, followed by conference records.

 

Sitting Pretty

ACC (12 teams)

2008-09—Contracts for nine bowls (75 percent of teams in conference)

Teams In (10)—Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, NC State

Bubble Teams (0)

 

Games of the Week: 

Conclusion: The ACC already has one more bowl eligible team than last year and have met their contracts. But both Virginia and NC State have difficult games to become bowl eligible. The ACC’s strategy of playing FCS schools has paid off—14 for the 12 teams. Virginia and NC State count wins over Richmond and William & Mary, respectively.

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $19,263,649 (eight teams)

Average distribution per conference team (after expenses): $1.6 Million  

 

Revenue Will Be Up

Big East (8 teams)

Contracts for seven bowls (87.5 percent)

Teams In (6)—Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers

Bubble Teams (1)

Louisville (5-6, 1-5)

L’ville non-conference record (4-1): W—Tenn. Tech, Kansas State, Memphis, Middle Tenn. State; L—Kentucky

Games of the Week: Louisville @ Rutgers (12/4)

Conclusion: Louisville has lost four conference games in a row.  Rutgers has won five in a row.  Louisville faces the prospect of finishing the season with five losses, unable to win one game in last five to become bowl-eligible.

The Big East has qualified one more team than last year but will not their contracts without a Louisville win. 

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $14,197,021 (five teams)

Average distribution per conference team: $1.77 Million

 

Sweating It Out

Pac-10 (10 teams)

Contracts for seven bowls (70 percent)

Teams In (5)—USC, Oregon, California, Oregon State, Arizona

Bubble Teams (1)

Arizona St. (5-6)

ASU schedule (3-4)— @ Arizona

Games of the Week: ASU @ Arizona

Conclusion: ASU has to win in Tucson.

The Pac-10 was clearly hurt by the Mountain West losses. Stanford, ASU and UCLA lost to TCU, UNLV and BYU respectively. ASU does count a win against FCS Northern Arizona. Should the Pac-10 consider a watered-down non-conference schedule more like the SEC, ACC, or Big 12?

One bubble team is eliminated this weekend. The winner must win their final game to qualify. Both have tough final games. Revenue may well be down this year with one less team. 

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $17,647,012 (six teams)

Average per conference team: $1.76 million

 

SEC (12 teams)

Contracts for nine bowls (75 percent)

Teams In (8)—Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, LSU, Mississippi, Vanderbilt

Bubble Teams (0)

Auburn schedule (2-6)
Non-conference (3-1): Wins—La-Monroe, S. Miss, Tenn-Martin; Loss—West Virginia

Games of the Week:  

Conclusion: Auburn's non-conference wins over weak opponents are keeping them in consideration. Auburn winning at Bryant-Denny against undefeated and number one Alabama is improbable. But with such a poor conference record, should the Tigers be bowl-eligible?  The SEC will likely have one less team than last year—revenue down—and one less team than contracted for.

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $28,991,720 (nine teams)

Average per conference team: $2.42 million

 

Big 12 (12 teams)

Contracts for nine bowls (75 percent)

Teams In (7)—Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Nebraska

Bubble Teams (0)

Games of the Week: 

Conclusion: Hot seat. The Buffs will have to win in Lincoln against a Bo Pelini-coached Cornhusker team that has won four of its last five and who lost to Texas Tech by only six.

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $21,706,427 (eight teams)

Average per conference team: $1.81 million

Bets are that the Big 12 will have one less team than last year.

 

Revenue Will Be Down

Big Ten (11 teams)

Contracts for seven bowls (63 percent)

Teams In (7)—Penn St., Ohio St., Michigan St., Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin

Bubble Teams (0)

Conclusion: The Big Ten will have one less team than last year, but will meet their contracts. Revenue will be down.

2007-08 Bowls, Profit: $24,394,305 (eight teams)

Average distribution per conference team: $2.2 Million



Non-BCS Conference Teams

Bowl Eligible (28)

Mountain West (5) —Utah, TCU, BYU, Air Force, Colo St; MAC (6) —Ball State, C. Michigan, W. Michigan, Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green; Conference USA (6) —Tulsa, Rice, Houston, East Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Memphis; Independent (2) —Navy (Congressional/Eagle Bank Bowl), Notre Dame; Sun Belt (3) —Troy, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic; WAC (6) —Boise State, La. Tech, Fresno State, San Jose State, Nevada, Hawaii.

 

Need One Win (1)

Middle Tenn St. (5-6).

Games of the Week: Middle Tennessee State @ La-Lafayette

 

Conclusion: Non-BCS conference teams may have more than 25 bowl-eligible teams for 18-20 spots. How many scraps are left over will depend on how the BCS Bowl Bubble Teams finish.

Total Profits to Non-BCS schools and Other Distribution, 2007-08 Bowls: $16,670,198—11.6 percent of all bowl profits, slightly over $300,000 per team if divided equally.

After today's (11/29) games:

  • the ACC has two extra teams
  • the Big 12 is two teams short of their contracts
  • the Big 10 made their contracts
  • the SEC is one team short of their contracts
  • the Big East has one Bubble team to make their contracts with one game to play
  • the Pac-10 Bubble teams still have games to play but will be at least one team short, possibly two

The estimated total number of non-BCS teams should be 21 with one more Pac 10 team.  If Louisville, UCLA and ASU all do not qualify, twenty-two spots will be open. 

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

College Football

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.