by | College Football Insider

Fun with Numbers: Well, OK, not so fun for bowl execs trying to fill their games


Come on, 1-4 Auburn. Get it together, 0-for-SEC Mizzou. Time to regroup, defense-intolerant Georgia Tech.

The bowl suits need you to make a late-season surge.

Filling 35 bowl games requires 70 eligible teams, and as Jerry Palm pointed out in August, the NCAA has gotten creative in case 70 don't qualify.

With several bowl-consistent programs either flailing into October with a losing record or flat-out ineligible because of NCAA sanctions (at least four if Central Florida loses its appeal, possibly six if Oregon and Miami get touched), the annual bowl snub list could vaporize by default.

Middle-tier bowl executives might face difficult decisions should a struggling team from a major conference meet one of the criteria in Palm's blog that makes them eligible.

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Go with the prominent name, you risk dealing with a lack of buzz because of a disenchanted fan base that expected more. Pick a school that overachieved, and the fan base might not travel as well.

Under the new rules, a team such as Pitt, currently at 2-3, could qualify for a bowl if the Panthers go 6-6 despite having two I-AA schools on their schedule.

Wright Waters, who runs the Football Bowl Association, said some bowl committee members have feared for years this could happen, but that doesn't necessarily mean there are too many bowls. Just ask Western Kentucky, a 7-5 snub a year ago. "It will create an interesting dynamic this year," Waters said. "Are bowl games pulling for certain folks? Sure."

A few numbers to consider as teams build their bowl résumé ...

19: Number of teams with one win. Among them: Auburn, Kansas, Colorado.

18: Number of teams that are either already bowl eligible or will be with a win this weekend.

6: Number of Southeastern Conference teams in serious danger of posting a losing season.

End arounds

2,146: Number of days since Notre Dame had a higher ranking than its current No. 7 spot. The Irish entered a Nov. 25, 2006, loss to USC with a No. 6 ranking. A win over Stanford in Notre Dame Stadium could help ND crack the top five.

122: Auburn's national ranking out of 124 teams in trips to the red zone, with 10. Only Tulane (7) and Eastern Michigan (7) have fewer. The next-lowest SEC teams are Kentucky and Florida with 16. Florida is the only team of this bunch with more than one win.

1: Number of wins vs. ranked teams in five tries for South Florida coach Skip Holtz. The coach of the 2-4 Bulls got the dreaded vote of confidence from his AD this week. He also recently got an extension, which means USF can either give him time to build a winner or succumb to rising negativity and make a move. My money's on Holtz getting time.

65.5: Percentage of plays when Texas' offense runs the ball. The Longhorns have good reason to love what quarterback David Ash is doing, but with 213 rushes out of 325 offensive plays this year, they'll look to implement the power game in the Red River Shootout on Saturday.

13: Number of regular-season losses for Texas in the Longhorns' past 26. Good thing for the Horns, a win over Oklahoma would keep them firmly in the Big 12 race.

No huddle

$20.98: Cost of a five-can roll of Skoal long cut wintergreen smokeless tobacco. Not sure if Illinois coach Tim Beckman prefers wintergreen, but one thing is clear: He no longer plans on bringing tobacco to the workplace.

53: Number of South Carolina natives on the Gamecocks roster. Coach Steve Spurrier said winning in-state recruiting battles has helped catapult the program out of the seven-wins-a-year rut of Spurrier's early years in Columbia. Landing Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney punctuates that point.

66: Number of passing yards per game for Baylor quarterback Nick Florence (396.3 through four games) more than the Heisman winner he replaced, Robert Griffin III (330.23 as a junior). We're hard-pressed to say Florence can have the same impact as RG3, but his passing prowess deserves some credit.

51: Number of penalties committed by 5-0 Rutgers, which is second-worst in the country (only Cal, with 52, has more). Guess a stingy defense and clutch playmaking can offset mistake-filled football.

Jeremy Fowler is a national college football insider with Fowler joined CBS in 2012 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for two seasons and covering the Florida Gators for the Orlando Sentinel for two years. Fowler is also a contributor to the CBS Sports Network.

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