Embarrassed by seeing 6-7 UCLA in a bowl game, then losing to finish 6-8, the NCAA came up with some new criteria to deal with teams like that, as well as what to do if there aren't enough bowl eligible teams.
On that list, teams in UCLA's situation were deemed the third-most bowl worthy. Not first. Not second. Third.
Theoretically, waivers would no longer be accepted. Teams like UCLA had to hope there would be room for them.
But this is the NCAA. Rules were made to be selectively enforced. This year, we get Georgia Tech, currently 6-6 and playing for the ACC title against mighty Florida State. So, they begged for mercy from the NCAA, and the NCAA yet again has granted it. Apparently, UCLA in a bowl last year wasn't embarrassing enough. Georgia Tech will get a spot that should have gone to a more deserving team if it loses to the Seminoles.
I don't know what lame excuse the NCAA used to give a spot to the Yellow Jackets. Maybe we'll never know. What I want to know is this: If teams like Georgia Tech and UCLA are going to be eligible anyway, why the charade? Just make them eligible. Save us all the paperwork and confusion.
I also want to know what else qualifies for a waiver. There won't be any this year, but if a team finishes 6-6 with two I-AA wins, can it get a waiver too? Teams like that are second on the list of bowl-worthy teams in case there aren't enough eligible.
Or what about this? If there were only 69 eligible teams, but one that was 6-6 with two I-AA wins, and also Georgia Tech, would the Yellow Jackets get a waiver then to jump up in the priority line?
Would Bowling Green get the same consideration as Georgia Tech and UCLA, or does that only apply to major conference schools?
I think that the trade-off for Georgia Tech getting this waiver is that if they win, they can't go to the Orange Bowl. If you don't take the risk, you can't get the reward either.
So, who are the losers in all this? Most likely, 6-6 Central Michigan, which will probably stay home so Georgia Tech can go to a bowl. Although, it could also be 10-2 San Jose State.
Also, the Sun Bowl, which is the floor in the ACC bowl pecking order for the title game loser. Not only do they get stuck with the same team for the second year in a row, they get a sub-.500 team. Weeeee ...
Maybe the Sun Bowl can ask for a waiver so they don't have to take Georgia Tech.