Bowl Games 2011: 6 Teams That Improved Their Bowl Status the Most in Week 14

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2011

Bowl Games 2011: 6 Teams That Improved Their Bowl Status the Most in Week 14

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    The last weekend of the season is Bedlam.

    Not just because Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State, but it's the last opportunity for jockeying for bowl game position for the major conference teams, and the non-automatic qualifying teams as well.

    It's the last chance for teams to gain bowl eligibility, and the last chance for players to impress the voters in the polls, and for Heisman candidates to shine.

    This weekend was no exception.

    For these six teams, their holiday travel plans may have improved thanks to their performances this weekend, and the performances—or lack thereof—of other teams in the top of the BCS poll.

1. Southern Miss

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    Southern Miss was supposed to be the other team in the C-USA championship game on Saturday afternoon—just a stepping stone on Houston's way to its first BCS game.

    The Eagles, however, did not roll over and die like they were supposed to.

    They rocked the Cougars, muddying the BCS picture.

    Now, a ranked Southern Miss. team would be attractive as a fill in team for a larger bowl whose conference affiliate could not fill slots.

    The SEC and Big East are currently short on bowl eligible teams. 

2. Notre Dame

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    Cincy got passed Connecticut to earn a share of the Big East conference title on Saturday afternoon.

    Although the Bearcats will be beat out by WVU for the BCS game.

    With bigger teams like Pitt out of the mix, and the Big East having one of its worst years in terms of rankings, Notre Dame will likely snatch the Big East's best non BCS bowl—the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

3. Michigan

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    According to Jerry Palm of CBS sports, Michigan may find itself in the BCS with an at-large bid.

    The Wolverine fan base travels well, and is very attractive to prospective bowls.

    With Wisconsin claiming the Big Ten title, that removes MSU from the equation, as its ranking will drop No. 13 MSU out of the nation's top 14 teams.

    Michigan should move up a few spots with Houston's crushing loss, and losses by Georgia and the aforementioned MSU.

    Michigan grabs the at-large bid with the No. 14 ranking and its status as one of the nation's flag ship programs. 

4. Baylor

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    Baylor, with its huge win over Texas and Oklahoma's crushing loss, played itself into, at the very least, the BCS conversation—especially if OK. State steals the National Championship bid, opening up an at-large spot for the Big XII.

    The Bears boast one of the nation's most exciting players, Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III.

    They most likely won't get the at-large bid, but the Bears should get the second selection from Big XII bowl affiliates, which means a trip to the Cotton Bowl, instead of the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.

5. Kansas State

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    The Wildcats held off the Iowa State Cyclones, and will maintain their ranking in the top 10-12 teams in the BCS.

    It is between K-State and Baylor for the at-large bid, but who will get it?

    Are selectors enamored with Griffin, or the amazing story that is Bill Snyder and Kansas State?

    Either way, K-State should find itself in a desirable bowl location this holiday season.

6. Finally, Oklahoma State

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    The Cowboys were so impressive last night that they may have played themselves into the national BCS title game.

    They need the voters in the human polls to slip past Alabama to earn the national title spot.

    At the very least, Oklahoma State solidified itself as the Big XII champion, and will play in a BCS game this winter.