"The highest-ranked champion of a non-AQ conference will receive an automatic berth if:
- It is ranked in the top 12, or
- Ranked in the top 16 and higher than at least one AQ conference champion."
Now read that again. Look at the bottom clause of this rule. Call me crazy, but the MAC could actually fulfill this criteria and after some of today's results, it becomes even more possible. As of this posting, here is how the area looks affecting the chances of us getting in along with the results of this week.
15. Oregon St. (Loss)
16. Texas (Loss)
17. UCLA (Loss)
18. Rutgers (Loss)
19. Michigan (Loss)
20. Louisville (Loss)
21. Oklahoma St. (Loss)
22. Boise St. (Win)
23. Kent St. (Win)
24. Arizona (Loss)
25. Washington (Loss)
I'm sure that Northern Illinois is right on the bubble too of the top 25. That's a lot of losses in that bubble zone for Non-AQ teams and that means they are bound to jump up a few spots. We shall see for sure how much they jump this week in the polls when they come out later today. This also leaves us one last week for some shake ups and dominoes to fall our way. Now here are some possible scenarios that get one of our teams into a BCS bowl.
Louisville/Rutgers are in the running for the Big East Championship (whatever that's worth these days). They keep on self imploding as the season goes on further lowering their ranking. Seeing as they remain an AQ conference right now, one of our teams (NIU/Kent St.) can reasonably be expected to finish above them. They face each other for their final showdown. One can only hope that the lower ranked team (whomever it may be) wins that game further improving our odds.
Wisconsin isn't a bad team and they face a beatable Nebraska team. Wisconsin almost even beat them losing only by a field goal. This time, it's on neutral ground instead of Nebraska getting the home field advantage. Because Wisconsin isn't even ranked, if they become the conference champion, one of our teams can again get in being ranked higher than the conference champion.
Lowest of Low Chances:
Much like the Moderate chance, there is one other championship game where the winner would be ranked lower than one of our teams. That's the ACC championship game with Florida St. taking on Georgia Tech. Seriously, the odds of GT winning is like 2%. But hey, stranger things have happened right?
This also hinges on Boise St falling behind one of our teams. Right now, they are slightly ahead of Kent St. and are co-champions in the MWC. I'm honestly not sure how the BCS rule applies to co-champions but my guess is that it still applies since they are still technically champions of their conference. They do have one game left, however, and it is against a pretty good Nevada team at Nevada. Losing that game assures we would jump ahead of them and takes them completely out of contention.
So let's assume for a moment now that Kent St. or NIU is able to reach 16 in the BCS polls after next week and the rest falls into place. What does the BCS landscape look like and which AQ teams are going to be seriously, SERIOUSLY, burned that a MAC team is in over them. Here is my closest guess of what it would look like.
NC Game: Notre Dame/Alabama
BCS 1: Pac 12 (Champion)/Big Ten (Champion)
BCS 2: Big 12 (Kansas St.)/SEC #2
BCS 3: ACC (Champion)/Pac 12 #2
BCS 4: Big East (Champion)/Non-AQ (Boise, NIU, Kent St.)
So who get's left out if a non-AQ gets in. Of course that depends on who wins in their championship game. Nebraska gets kicked out if Wisconsin wins and the non-AQ gets to 16. If some miracle happens and GT beats FSU, then FSU gets bumped out if a non-AQ gets to 16. They are the team that would be outraged by the situation the most too. I just don't see them getting a second bid if they lose to GT. Even if Stanford loses to UCLA, they are at least both still ranked and don't see Stanford dropping below FSU. Oklahoma also would get bumped out as I don't see them passing Stanford in the polls.
Right now for the MAC, Kent St. is in the best position to do this incredible feat. They are already ranked in the BCS but they would still need things to go their way. Wouldn't that be the most amazing thing ever for this program to go from no bowl for over 30 years to a jump into a BCS bowl. HOLY COW! That would almost assure that the coach would be poached too but that is for another discussion. Okay so this is a lot of wishful thinking but on the other hand, it is clearly a possibility too. Long shot sure, but as I said before, stranger things have happened. GO MAC! :-D
*Please let me know if I'm widely missing something here though. Still, it has been fun researching this possibility for the MAC*