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MAC Football Bowl Projections: Season's End

Six teams, five bowls. Well, this is awkward.

We know, French Fry Guy, we know. So close to being done.
We know, French Fry Guy, we know. So close to being done.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Last week produced a little bit of chaos in the standings for all of the conferences, especially Ole Miss' upset win over Mississippi State, which shakes up the College Football Playoff System. This week, I'll take a bit different of a look and tell you which teams are eligible for bowls form each conference, which will set up the normal table at the bottom.


Every SEC West team qualifies for a bowl this season, with Alabama and Mississippi State currently projected in the Playoff, though Hail State will probably fall out this week, unless the committee decides the Ole Miss loss was a "good loss".

The SEC East is a different story. Mizzou, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina are the teams that qualify here. Only Mizzou and Tennessee won their games this week, with only Mizzou and Georiga at double digit wins.

SEC currently qualifies: 12 teams, including two playoff spots,. There are 8 primary and 1 secondary tie-ins for remaining ten teams, one at-large. The SEC also has a committee bowl tie-in. At-large also at play.


Florida State is the class of the field in the ACC, even despite a close win vs. rival Florida. Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, and North Carolina State qualify in the Atlantic Division, while every team except for Virginia qualifies in the Coastal, with a four way tie for third.

ACC currently qualifies: 11 teams, including one playoff team. There are 3 primary, 5 secondary, 4 tritary, and 1 conditional tie-ins for remaining ten teams. The ACC also has a committee bowl tie-in. At-large also at play.


Oregon destroyed Oregon State again, so there is no worry for them slipping in the rankings. They also don't have to worry about the North Division, as only they, Stanford, and Washington qualify. The South Division qualifies everyone except Colorado, and includes streaking Arizona and sliding UCLA.

PAC-12 currently qualifies: 8 teams, including one playoff team. There are only 6 primary bowls for the PAC-12, since the Rose Bowl is hosting the Playoff 1-4 match for the remaining seven teams, though an at-large is also at play.


The XII is a mess. With no championship game and two teams gunning for a potential playoff spot, there are no guarantees how it will play out. TCU and Baylor are the teams in the mix, with K-State, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia the only other qualifiers.

XII currently qualifies: 6 teams with zero playoff teams. There are only 5 primary bowls this year for the XII, as the Sugar Bowl hosts the Playoff 2-3 match. An at-large will be at play, though a G5 team will probably take that spot.


The B1G is just as much of a mess as the XII, if not worse. With Michigan losing to Ohio State, they fell out of bowl eligibility, which also seems to hurt OSU's playoff chances, as weird as that sounds. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois (!!!!) all qualify from the West, while OSU, MSU, Maryland, Rutgers, and Penn State qualify from the East.

B1G currently qualifies: 10 teams, with zero playoff teams. There are 9 primary tie-ins for those ten teams, though the B1G is a backup tie-in for the ACC/SEC committee bowl tie-in. At-large bids will also be at play.


MARSHALL LOST. MARSHALL LOST. This leaves the at-large G5 spot wide open, while jumbling up the tie-ins for the conference. LA Tech will face the Thundering Herd for the championship, while Middle Tennessee, UAB, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, Rice, and UTEP will be waiting for the bowl committees.

C-USA currently qualifies: 8 teams, with zero playoff teams. Five primary tie-ins for those eight teams, with a conditional tie-in if the SEC or ACC do not qualify enough teams. There is also a potential at-large for the conference champion.

American Athletic Conference

There are only five teams eligible, with Memphis, Cincinnati, UCF, East Carolina, and Houston representing the conference. Temple can still qualify for a bowl if they win their next game vs. Tulane. Other than that, there;s not really much to say here.

American currently qualifies: 5 teams, with zero playoff teams. There are five primary tie-ins with one conditional.

Mountain West

Another day, another Boise State blowout. This time, Utah State fell victim to the blue turf. Colorado State lost this week, giving Boise the opportunity for a run at a committee bowl. Air Force, Fresno State, San Diego State, and Nevada all qualify for bowls as well.

MWC qualifies: 7 teams, with zero playoff teams. There are seven primary tie-ins, although a potential at-large bid is in play.

Sun Belt

Georgia Southern and Appalachian State do not qualify for bowls this year, due to the absolutely bad FCS-rookie ban. This leaves UL Lafayette, Arkansas State, Texas State, and South Alabama as the remaining teams.

Sun Belt qualifies: Six teams, with two banned and zero playoff teams. There are three primary tie-ins for the remaining four teams.


BYU has already accepted a bid to the Miami Bowl, while Navy has accepted a bid into the Poinsettia Bowl. Only Notre Dame is left to see where they're heading. Notre Dame qualifies for an ACC bowl if they are within one win of an eligible team from the conference for said bowl.


So what does that mean for the MAC? The MAC Championship will be a rematch of last season, with NIU and Bowling Green fighting for a spot in what will probably be the Bowl, unless Boise State loses in the MW Conference Championship and Marshall loses to LA Tech in the C*USA Conference Championship. Those dominoes would have to fall in order for NIU to even be considered for the coveted G5 spot. BGSU would have no chance at the G5 spot if they won. If NIU does get in, then all MAC teams qualify. If not, then one team will be left out, and that team will be Ohio, due to its strength of schedule, thus breaking its five straight bowl streak under Coach Frank Solich.

Bowl Game MAC Representative Projected Opponent Tie-ins
GoDaddy Northern Illinois UL Lafayette MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Camelia Western Michigan South Alabama MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Boca Raton Central Michigan Louisiana Tech MAC 4/5 vs. C*USA
Popeye's Bahamas Toledo Marshall MAC vs. C-USA
Famous Idaho Potato Bowling Green Air Force MAC 2 vs. MWC 2-7

With the MAC 1 and 2 tie-ins being the championship competitors, I believe that the Camelia Bowl will pick up Western over Toledo because of the storylines involved, especially considering the +7 win differential from last season. Toledo would be selected over Central for the Bahamas Bowl because Toledo finished 2nd in the West and won the head-to-head vs. Central. Also, it creates a fascinating match with Marshall, who will probably be the at-large selection here. Central is then inserted over Ohio for the final bowl, thanks to a head-to-head victory, and tougher schedule.