Georgia Southern is guaranteed at least a share of the Sun Belt Conference title after Lousiana-Lafayette's loss. But it's very likely the Eagles won't be going to a bowl.
At 8-3 and 7-0 in the Sun Belt, Georgia Southern is already two games above the bowl-eligibility threshold with a game to play. The number of wins isn't the issue. It's GSU's newbie status as a member of the Sun Belt.
It's Georgia Southern's first year playing at the FBS level and the Eagles are officially classified as a transtional team (Remember, the upset of Florida in 2013 happened as GSU was in the FCS). By rule, transitional teams are ineligible for postseason play. To get to a bowl, the Eagles would need a waiver. And in October, Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein called the possibility of a waiver "slim."
And a waiver's not going to be necessary to fill out the newly-explanded bowl field. GSU would be in prime position for a bowl waiver if there weren't enough teams to fill the 76 bowl spots available at the end of the season. With 128 teams in the FBS, more than 52 teams would need to be 5-7 for Georgia Southern to be called upon.
Currently, 34 teams have seven losses or more. 17 more could reach the threshold. If all 17 lose, that's just 51. In that scenario, one team at 6-6 or above is going to miss out. It'd likely be Georgia Southern.
The temporary postseason ban for changing divisions isn't unexpected. While Georgia Southern fans may not like the rules, they are the rules and explicitly stated when a team jumps up a level. With the revolving doors of the Sun Belt and Georgia Southern's success, the possibility of getting bowl eligible and being unable to go existed from the beginning of the season. It's just now close to reality.
Georgia Southern plays Louisiana-Monroe Saturday. The Warhawks are 4-7, so GSU is a strong favorite to win and go undefeated in the conference to become the outright Sun Belt champions. It'll just probably be the Eagles' final game of the season.
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