Automatic bids to non-BCS bowls

Automatic bids to non-BCS bowls

There are 29 Non-BCS Bowl games in the 2008-09 NCAA College Football bowl season. Most of these post-season games will pit one conference against another, based upon contractual obligations called "tie-ins" and upon which teams are "bowl eligible." The selection of the team is based on the regular season final standings within the respective conferences, excluding those chosen to play in one of the four BCS bowl games or its National Championship Game (as of 2007). Selection to any of the BCS bowl games is based on BCS rules and on conference tie-ins to those bowls.

Bowl game pairings

2008-09 Minor Bowls

Bolded bowl games denote those where two BCS Conference schools are scheduled.

When not invited to the BCS, Notre Dame participates in the Big East pool of bowl games. Additionally, the Sun Belt (if a team is deemed eligible) can replace a unqualified team in the St. Petersberg, or Independence Bowls in 2008 and 2009.

Note: In 2007, the Big 12 did not have enough teams that qualified to play in bowl games (six wins are needed to qualify).

2008-09 BCS Games

"NOTE: The Big East Champion is guaranteed one of the At-Large bids."

election of the teams

The selection of the team is based on the regular season final standings. The teams already selected to play in BCS bowl games are not counted when selecting non-BCS bowl teams, for example in 2007, Ohio State went to play in the BCS National Championship Game and Illinois went to play in the Rose Bowl Game, then the remaining top-ranked team, which was in this case Michigan, played in the Capital One Bowl as "Big Ten #2" as stated in the chart above.

In some instances, the conferences leave part of the selections up to the Bowl administrators. For example, bowls designated to receive #3, 4, or 5 picks out of the ACC must lobby to the teams in the ACC that they think will make for the best matchup and create the most revenue. The team with the best conference record will not automatically play in the Bowl game with the biggest payout. This scheme is in place to avoid teams returning to the same bowls year after year, if possible.

In certain cases, a conference may not have enough "bowl eligible" teams to fulfill its obligations to provide teams to certain bowls. In this case, an "at-large" team may be chosen. The most notable of these incidents happened in 2004 when four major conferences — the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10 — did not have enough teams with enough wins (six) to qualify under NCAA rules to enter a bowl. Plus, added to the mix were two bowl eligible teams - South Carolina from the SEC and Clemson from the ACC - who gave themselves self-imposed punishments for a brawl one day following the "Malice At The Palace" game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons. As a result, many bowls lost their traditional tie-ins for that year, as exemplified by the Silicon Valley Football Classic in San José, California, which had no representative from either of its two affiliated conferences, the WAC or the Pac-10. In their stead were teams repersenting the MAC (Northern Illinois) and the Sun Belt (Troy). As a result of the poor attendance, as well as negative publicity and a rare December monsoon in the Bay Area, that game lost its NCAA certification.

The selection of which team will fill which of the team's conference bowl spots is largely arbitrary. The individual bowl games are still allowed to offer bids to a qualified team from their affiliated conferences. The designation "#1 team" means that that bowl has the first selection from that conference's qualified teams, though the contracts may require that the team selected must be among, say, the top two in the BCS rankings. In some conferences the rules state how selection is to occur, and in others the decision is made by the universities, the conferences, and the bowl administrators, and may be based on geography. The Independence Bowl, for instance, only has loose ties with the Big 12 and SEC, although any Division I FBS team may be chosen to play in the bowl.

Conference commissioners took control of the Bowl games in the early 1990s. Now, revenue from the bowl games goes directly to the respective conferences to split among its members. Conferences compete aggressively for the automatic tie-ins to bowl games.

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