Believe it or not, this post isn’t about Georgia’s roster size. Nope, this number 70 is about a little problem the NCAA has made for this year’s postseason.
Once again there are 35 bowl games on the schedule this year, which of course requires at least 70 Bowl Subdivision teams to meet the minimum six-win threshold for eligibility. Trouble is, the pool is already a bit smaller than usual this season. Three schools — North Carolina, Ohio State and Penn State — are banned from the postseason because of NCAA sanctions. A fourth, Central Florida, was added to that list in an NCAA ruling this week, though that might not be in effect until the 2013 season if the school files an appeal as it has said it would. Last year, there were 72 bowl-eligible teams — barely enough — with Southern California finishing out its two-season bowl exile and Miami (Fla.) self-imposing a bowl ban for 2011.
But worry not, my friends. Necessity is the mother of invention. And since they’re not shrinking the bowl field, that leaves only one other way to invent. You guessed it. It’s waiver time!
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors acted Thursday to put waiver rules in place just in case the magic number of 70 bowl-eligible teams isn’t achieved, or if any conferences fall short of the number of eligible teams needed to fulfill contractual obligations.
First consideration would go to teams that are 6-6 but “would not normally be bowl eligible because they have a win against a Football Championship Subdivision team.” Next, 6-6 teams with two FCS wins could be considered.
Third, a team that finishes 6-7 with the seventh loss in a conference championship game (think UCLA in 2011). After that, 6-7 teams that played 13 regularly scheduled games could be considered. That often applies to Hawaii or any of the Warriors’ opponents who travel to the islands.
The next pool would consist of teams reclassifying from FCS — this year that includes South Alabama, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Georgia State — with at least a 6-6 record. If a sixth pool is needed, a bowl could invite a 5-7 team that has a top-five APR rating.
Hey, who says the NCAA can’t be flexible? At least when there’s money at stake…