Who Will Be Going Bowling This Season? We’re About to Start Finding Out
As hard as it might be to believe, seven teams could become bowl eligible with a sixth victory this weekend. Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference), Penn State (Big Ten), San Diego State (Mountain West), Washington and Washington State (Pac-12) and Alabama and Georgia (Southeastern) are all off to 5-0 starts to the season. USF (American Athletic Conference) is also 5-0, but the Bulls have a bye this week.
RoadTripSports.com will break down which teams are bowl eligible and how many postseason spots are still open each week throughout the remainder of the regular season. With no spots wrapped up yet, only two FBS teams – Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss – are not eligible for the 78 spots in 39 bowl games which includes the four berths in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Coastal Carolina is going through its transition year to the FBS and is, thus, ineligible for postseason play while Ole Miss is serving a self-imposed postseason ban. You can check in on our Bowl Eligibility List at any time to see which teams have qualified for the postseason and which ones have been eliminated.
American Athletic Conference — The conference is off to a great start this season with three undefeated teams, Navy (4-0), UCF (3-0) and USF, while SMU has also already reached four wins. The American has seven bowl tie-ins — Birmingham, Boca Raton, Cure, Frisco, Hawaii, Military and St. Petersburg.
Atlantic Coast Conference — Like the AAC, the ACC has a slew of teams closing in on bowl eligibility. Clemson leads the way, of course, at 5-0, but NC State is also in the 5-win club at 5-1 after Thursday night’s big 39-25 win over Louisville. The Cardinals are still in good shape at 4-2, and Duke, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are all sitting pretty at 4-1, too. Miami (FL), meanwhile, is 3-0. The ACC has 11 bowl affiliations — Belk, Camping World, Citrus, Independence, Military, Music City, Orange, Pinstripe, Quick Lane, Sun and TaxSlayer.
Big 12 Conference — Three teams — Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU — are two wins away from bowl eligibility. With three more programs – Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia – sitting at three wins, the league should have no trouble filling its six bowl tie-ins — Alamo, Cactus, Camping World, Heart of Dallas, Liberty and Texas.
Big Ten Conference — The Nittany Lions could sew up bowl eligibility with a win over Northwestern on Saturday, but Penn State isn’t the only team in the conference with an unblemished record. Michigan and Wisconsin are also undefeated at 4-0. Ohio State has four wins with its only loss coming at the hands of Oklahoma. The Big Ten has 10 bowl affiliations — Armed Forces, Citrus, Foster Farms, Holiday Music City, Orange, Outback, Pinstripe, Quick Lane and TaxSlayer.
Conference USA — It’s going to be a wide-open race to see which team wins the only conference that does not have a team with four wins yet. Five teams — FIU, LA Tech, Marshall, North Texas and UTSA all have three wins, although the league has six bowl tie-ins — Bahamas, Boca Raton, Heart of Dallas, New Orleans, New Mexico and St. Petersburg.
Independents – Notre Dame seems to have righted the ship after a disastrous 2016 season. The Fighting Irish are 4-1 with their only loss coming in a nail-biter against unbeaten Georgia. Army, which is 3-2, should also get to six wins, while it appears BYU and UMass, which are a combined 1-10, should start thinking about next season.
Mid-American Conference — The preseason conference favorite Ohio Bobcats look the part at 4-1. Outside of 3-1 Toledo, the rest of the conference is pretty mediocre. However, the MAC has just four bowl affiliations — Bahamas, Dollar General, Camellia and Potato.
Mountain West Conference — San Diego State appears to be the only team in the league that could be in for a fantastic season. There’s still some hope for Colorado State, Utah State and Wyoming at 3-2, but the rest of the conference is struggling. The MWC has five bowl tie-ins — Arizona, Hawaii, Las Vegas, New Mexico and Potato.
Pac-12 Conference — Circle Nov. 25 on the calendar. That’s when Washington State plays at Washington in what is shaping up to be a battle of unbeaten teams. Both have tough tests this week, though, as the Cougars play at Oregon and the Huskies host Cal. Utah is also undefeated at 4-0, while Oregon and USC are 4-1. The conference should easily fill its six bowl tie-ins — Alamo, Cactus, Foster Farms, Holiday, Las Vegas and Sun.
Southeastern Conference — Alabama and Georgia have quickly established dominance in this year’s conference race, but there is no shortage of teams remaining in the SEC that will be formidable foes in the postseason. It’s just not the usual suspects. Auburn, Kentucky and Texas A&M are all 4-1, while six other teams have reached three wins. The scary thing is the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have the top two scoring defenses in the nation. The SEC has 10 bowl tie-ins — Belk, Birmingham, Citrus, Independence, Liberty, Music City, Orange, Outback, TaxSlayer and Texas.
Sun Belt Conference — Outside of Troy, the “Fun Belt” hasn’t had much fun in the early stages of this season. The Trojans stunned LSU in Baton Rouge last weekend to improve to 4-1 on the season. However, Troy is the only team in the conference with a winning record. It could be an uphill battle to fill the league’s five bowl affiliations — Arizona, Camellia, Cure, Dollar General and New Orleans.
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- Clemson hold off pesky Texas A&M for soggy 28-26 road victory - September 10, 2018
- Prairie View A&M claims MEAC-SWAC Challenge victory - September 6, 2018
- More Cowbell: Mississippi State runs roughshod over SFA - September 5, 2018
- Late TD lifts Georgia State past Kennesaw State, 24-20 - September 5, 2018
- Snow Returns to Utah With Season-Opening Victory Over TVCC - August 27, 2018
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