This is in response to a tweet from ESPN's Adam Rittenberg:
:( RT @ESPNRittenberg: The B1G has alerted its ADs that a bowl-eligible team could miss out on the bowls this year. http://t.co/wYsgc8ATQ1— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) December 4, 2014
The College Football Playoff Committee could decide the fate of our bowl hopes after the conference championship games on Saturday. Now, before everyone starts freaking out about how Illinois won't go to a bowl game...I would like to alert you that there are other options available.
Flashback to 2011 where a 6-6 Illinois Fighting Illini team was sent to San Francisco to play against the UCLA Bruins in AT&T Park. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl did NOT have any affiliation with the Big Ten at the time, and the Illini were chosen to play as other conferences couldn't fill their bowl games. This year could provide a similar result as there are two games that could have void spots.
The First Option is the Cactus Bowl which is played in Tempe, AZ.
As the Big 12 will only have 6 teams bowl eligible at the moment, with 5-6 Oklahoma State facing Oklahoma this Saturday. If the Oklahoma Sooners beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys , then the Big 12 will have an open spot as both TCU and Baylor will likely finish in the Top 10 of the College Football Playoff. This opens up a spot for the Illini to play against a PAC-12 team (likely the Washington Huskies or Utah Utes) on January 2nd. However, if the Cowboys upset Oklahoma...that option may not exist.
Which brings up another scenario:
The Second Option is the New Orleans Bowl which is played in...well...New Orleans.
The New Orleans Bowl could have a spot open as the Mountain West Conference will likely have the Boise State Broncos playing as the highest ranked Non-Power 5 conference team in a Top-Tier Bowl (Cotton, Peach, Fiesta). The Fresno State Bulldogs (remember them?) are a 6 win team and will face Boise State this weekend in the Mountain West Championship game. A loss puts the Bulldogs at 6-7 and could ultimately mean missing the post-season.
But let's say that both scenarios have Fresno St AND Oklahoma St winning and heading to bowl games...what happens then?
There's this lovely thing called the college football playoff committee. They will rank the Top 25 teams one last time before the season ends to determine where each team will end up, and there's a very good chance the Top 10 will get moved around.
If you need a reminder of what the current standings are...this link is for you.
Also take these...you'll thank me later.
Let's say the Ohio State Buckeyes win on Saturday, they would likely have a case for the Top 4 and would likely get the nod. That leaves a ranked Michigan State Spartan team left to play in the Orange Bowl, as the rules state "The Big Ten Champion cannot play in the Orange Bowl." So then let's say Wisconsin wins, where would they go? Well if they beat Ohio State, then chances are that the Badgers would play in a Top 10 bowl. But that still leaves Michigan State alone to take the Orange Bowl spot if the rankings remain the same.
Yes, if we somehow can squeeze 3 Big Ten teams into the Top 10, then that leaves enough space for the other Big Ten teams to fill all our other bowl games. This is where you could root for Wisconsin to win, and hope they jump into the Top 10 to join MSU and OSU (who hopefully doesn't fall too far).
BUT DON'T ROOT FOR EITHER OHIO STATE -OR- WISCONSIN
(I can't believe I'm going to say this...)
Root for Missouri.
If Missouri wins, chances are that the highest ranked team between the Big Ten and the SEC will be Ohio State (provided they win on Saturday). Since the Big Ten Champion can't play in the Orange Bowl, that would leave Michigan State at #8. But if Alabama loses to Missouri, they will likely fall to the #6-7 spot. Of course, we don't really know where they will fall since these people have the final vote...but it's the best chance the Illini have to being GUARANTEED a bowl game. Plus, if the Alabama Crimson Tide lose, then Ohio State would jump into the Top 4 and automatically play in the playoff which could open up room for the Badgers to sneak into the Top 10 on account of their strength of schedule. You also have a scenario where the Tigers could jump into the Top 10 and Mississippi State could jump over MSU, but that option confuses the heck out of me (like most of these do...)
What I'm trying to say here, is that we're rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners, Missouri Tigers, and the Boise State Broncos to win this weekend. But in the end, it all comes down to a couple of votes.
Does anyone else want the BCS back the way it was???
(I need to puke after that "root for Missouri" nonsense...)
(Where's Primiano's coat?)
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