Commentary: Bowl Possibilities Update - as of 11/29
by Jonathan Hodges

Although very unlikely, it is still theoretically possible for Northwestern (6-6) to reach a bowl following the 2007 season.  I'll boil down all of the scenarios down to the following.

For a bowl bid to be available to an "at-large" 6-6 team, the following teams must lose in the final weekend of the regular college football season (12/01):

Arizona (5-6) loses to Arizona State
Hawaii (11-0) loses to Washington
Florida Atlantic (6-5) loses to Troy
Miami (OH) (6-6) loses to Central Michigan in the MAC Championship

A win by any of these teams would basically eliminate all 6-6 "at-large" teams from contention.  Note that the only "upset" needed out of those games would be Washington over Hawaii.  If this scenario does occur, NU will be in competition with the following 6-6 "at-large" teams for a final bowl berth (either the Texas Bowl or Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - most likely the Texas Bowl):

Iowa (6-6)
Northwestern (6-6)
Ohio (6-6)
Alabama (6-6) OR South Carolina (6-6)
Florida Atlantic (6-6, if they lose)
Louisiana-Monroe (6-6)
Louisiana Tech OR Nevada (6-6)
Louisville (6-6 if they beat Rutgers)

This would leave NU in competition with the following BCS-conference teams for that final spot: Iowa, Alabama/South Carolina, and (possibly) Louisville.

Just for information, the Texas Bowl is held in Houston at 5PM on December 28th televised by the NFL Network (other bowl games held on Dec. 28 include the Champs Sports Bowl - which will have a Big Ten team - and the Emerald Bowl).  The University of Houston (8-4) has already accepted the CUSA's bid to go to that bowl.

UPDATE-- My original bowl update was slightly incorrect in that the Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) has a "backup" agreement with the Mountain West Conference in case no team from the Big XII is available.  This means that 7-5 TCU will likely end up in the Texas Bowl (assuming the Big XII gets 2 BCS bowl bids, thereby leaving that spot vacant, which is very likely) as they would be a MWC team that is left without a conference affiliated bid.

Therefore the only available "at-large" bid would be the Pac-10 spot in the Armed Forces Bowl (sponsored by Bell Helicopter) held in Ft. Worth, TX on Dec. 31 at 12:30 PM (ESPN TV).  Again, all the assumptions above still stand, and if any of the 4 games don't go the right way, that available spot will essentially close (either by bumping other teams down the ladder OR a team with a winning record taking the spot).

Go 'Cats!!!

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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