Not surprisingly, the NCAA ruled for the big conference team that needed a break when it said it will grant Georgia Tech a waiver to be bowl eligible at 6-7, if the Yellow Jackets lose Saturday's ACC Championship Game to Florida State. That was reported by CBS and ESPN.
Because of that decision, some bowl eligible team is going to get left at home.
There were already 70 bowl eligible teams for 70 spots before Georgia Tech's waiver. UConn and Pitt can both get bowl eligible with wins on Saturday. Add in Georgia Tech, which successfully argued that it would have been eligible had it not gotten into the ACC title game after Miami and North Carolina were ineligible, and we could see three eligible teams left home. The Yellow Jackets' waiver means at least one will (and for those bowl projections, put Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl replacing Middle Tennessee).
Central Michigan, which is 6-6, is the most likely team to get left home. Looking at the other teams that might be in danger, we have to take a look at the smaller conferences - because this isn't going to affect the big boys.
Conference USA has already made contingency plans for all five of its bowl-eligible teams, so there shouldn't be any worry for 6-6 Rice or 6-6 SMU. The Mountain West will also get all five of its eligible teams in bowls due to its tie-ins. That leaves the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt. There are 15 bowl-eligible teams in those conferences, including Central Michigan, and some of them have to be pretty nervous.
After Central Michigan, Western Kentucky has the worst record among those teams, at 7-5. Louisiana-Monroe, Bowling Green and Ohio are next on the bubble, at 8-4. The loser of the Arkansas State-Middle Tennessee game will also be 8-4. Louisiana-Lafayette is 7-4 but has already accepted an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl.
Since all the bowl-eligible teams from big conferences will get slotted into the conference's bowl tie-ins, it's almost a certainty that between one and three eligible teams from the MAC, WAC or Sun Belt are going to stay home. The players from those teams who were excited to represent their school in a rare bowl opportunity will have their hearts ripped out, so a 6-7 Georgia Tech team can play in a bowl this December.
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