The latest predictions are now available (subject to change for anything completely unexpected on Tuesday).
At any rate, things are still pretty sketchy. Even for the CFP-controlled bowls, where I had to put in a 3-loss Auburn for lack of any other teams. Fortunately, second-half Auburn is looking like a pretty good team, but still, it doesn’t feel quite right to have a 3-loss team in these (supposedly) marquee matchups.
I’ll just hit some other thoughts in bullet points below:
- Boise’s loss at Wyoming on Saturday may not put them out entirely. After all, they’ve still got a win over the probable Pac-12 North runner-up Washington State, which is still a better win than any of Western Michigan’s. Also, I think most would agree the Mountain West is stronger than the MAC. It will really depend on how the Committee ranks them going forward. Boise still has a pretty good chance to win their division, which would also let them face a pretty good San Diego State team in the Mountain West championship game. A win against the Aztecs would probably be better than any of Western Michigan’s wins except maybe the one over Northwestern.
- I’m still short five teams. I even included a 6-6 Army team (with two wins over FCS teams) and a 5-7 Vanderbilt team (top-5 APR), so I’m really short seven. That’s really the entire potential pool of teams according to the rules. I’m not really sure what will happen if that comes to pass. Last year I still was missing five teams as late as Week 7, but things nevertheless worked out.
- Suffice it to say, I think there are too many bowls. I’d guess the one likeliest to fold after this year is the Arizona Bowl, which still doesn’t have a real TV deal. Most of the other bowl games that you’d like are likely to fold are probably owned by ESPN. Given ESPN’s own troubles in terms of subscriber losses, that may spell doom for these games, but I’d guess not. Bowl games aren’t very expensive to put on, and there’s not much else going on during the holidays. If I had to hazard another guess, I’d go with the Cure Bowl, which was a game that took forever for the organizers to put together (it was on the “potential new bowl game” lists for years) and has a TV deal with the CBS Sports Network. I think 38 is more reasonable, but as a person who likes bowl games I’d say the ideal number is 30-35.
- January 1st is a Sunday this year, so the traditional New Year’s Day bowls are split between New Year’s Eve and January 2nd. Nonetheless, putting 3 SEC teams in the CFP-controlled bowls really exposes the SEC’s weak underbelly this year, by which I mean there’s probably going to be 3 SEC East teams in New Year’s Day bowl games.
- And yes, I did slot Georgia Tech over Miami because even though no one actually involved with the game would want it, I’m sure the Powers That Be (TM) would like the storylines around a Georgia Tech-Navy matchup.
That’s that for now. Hopefully we’ll know more next week!