brownandgold (Brandon Fitzsimons, WMU writer and editor): So, I don't know how to start this but, uhhh I'm gonna start with the Dollar General Bowl - Toledo.
I have a trusted source who says that barring a collapse, WMU will hold out for a more lucrative bowl. That leaves the Rockets as the 2nd best choice, and I'm sure they'd love a trip to Mobile to prove their worth against the Sun Belt's best.
avkingjames (James H. Jimenez, assistant site manager): I don't disagree with that assessment. Let's say WMU does go 13-0 and ends up getting picked up in an access bowl. That would leave the runner-up in the West or the East Champion. Toledo made mincemeat of Arkansas State in the former GoDaddy Bowl and would probably be on the minds of the bowl selectors here. Akron could make an appearance too, which would be great for their program as Coach Terry Bowden has a lot of Alabama ties from his UNA/Auburn ties. But the money would be on Toledo, I think.
brownandgold: Speaking of the Zips..............Camellia Bowl - Akron
Same thing about Alabama as you mentioned above, but a lesser bowl. Still, it's not as far as Mobile, and it's the closest bowl with a direct MAC tie.
avkingjames: If I remember right, the Camellia Bowl is in Montgomery, which isn't that far from Auburn. Bowden is beloved in his native state and he could definitely pull those strings here.
I really want to see Akron go here, but I think the way the MAC power dynamic works, it's probably going to the third team out of the West, which would be either CMU or Ball State. For my own selfish reasons (I live in northern Alabama), I want to see CMU in this bowl. They'd face a stout team out of the Sun Belt in either Troy (which would be an intriguing rematch of the 2009 GMAC Bowl), App State or Georgia Southern. The last two teams would be a fascinating match up on the football side, which we have to factor in here too.
brownandgold: I see Troy going to the Dollar General Bowl. You mentioned the West, and our only West bowl is the Potato Bowl.
avkingjames: You and your segways. Eer, segues.
brownandgold: Anyways ... Tough call, but I'm gonna put Ohio out there.
Not sure why, but I think they limp into bowl season and thus get the worst paying bowl of them all.
avkingjames: Yeah. Ohio has a tendency to do that, don't they? Excepting this year, as the Grand Inevitable Slide started a little bit early. I mean, a strong safety is starting at running back for goodness sake.
brownandgold: Kent State doesn't wanna hear it.
But let's look at other teams that could end up there, too. Ball State is still an option potentially, as is NIU if they can do the thing and win FIVE IN A ROW. NIU gets in based on name brand alone if they go 6-6, one would think. Oh and then there's the high-flying Eastern Michigan Eagles.
brownandgold: See, I don't think either Ball State or NIU get in. But, we still have three bowls left and a couple teams left to place, so maybe one of those two sneak in. I think EMU goes to the Bahamas. In that bowl's history, they've already hosted the other two Michigan MAC schools. Why not complete the trifecta? Additionally, since attendance is trash due to the date and passport nonsense, it fits right in with the Eagle's profile!
avkingjames: Dude, that would be the perfect bowl for EMU. No joke. Think about it.
They haven't gone to a bowl since 1987. This would be a perfect reward for the Eagles faithful that have wanted to see the Eagles in the postseason for the last what... 29 years? You get a bowl game AND a vacation with a weekend afternoon TV slot and all the storyline possibilities? The Bahamas Bowl is BEGGING for EMU.
brownandgold: ... EMU 4 Nassau.
Meanwhile, I think your Chippewas go slightly North of that to the Miami Beach Bowl in Marlins Park. RIDE THAT DOLPHIN THING, JIMMY.
avkingjames: I've always wanted to do that, actually.
brownandgold: Not surprised
avkingjames: The Dolphin Thing at Marlins Park is literally the best thing in sports. Okay, maybe not THE best. But it's up there.
I wouldn't mind seeing Central in that game. CMU has yet to put a firm foot in Florida recruiting wise and this could be a first good step in going there. But I just don't know if they'll be available to the selection committee at that point.
Placing teams gets difficult once you get past WMU, CMU, EMU, Toledo and MAYBE Akron, especially if WMU goes access bowl.
brownandgold: I still have two teams to place, right? A Boca Raton Bowl and wherever WMU goes...
For the Boca, let's say that Ball State somehow gets that 6th win. Done. As for WMU...
Realism - Poinsettia Bowl. Optimism - Cotton Bowl
avkingjames: The Broncos determine the rest of the schedule for the conference, that's for sure. I've seen their play and I think they steamroll the MAC and make a strong case to be included in the NY6. That probably means the Cotton Bowl. And frankly, that would be best for the MAC, especially for the lower fringe teams looking to make a bowl.
If WMU makes the Poinsettia Bowl, this year is a failure.
brownandgold: Honest question: Does a Cotton Bowl appearance keep Fleck at WMU? I say yes. Anything less, and he's gone
avkingjames: Different article, Fitz.
avkingjames: Okay, so let's recap:
Dollar General: we both like Toledo.
Camellia: you say Akron, I say CMU.
Potato: We both like Ohio.
Miami: you say CMU, I say Akron.
Boca Raton: we both like Ball State.
Cotton: we both like WMU.
Are we missing anyone?
brownandgold: mmmmmmm, cotton.
avkingjames: WAIT. Bahamas: we both like EMU.
brownandgold: Right now, BG, NIU, and Miami all have to win out. Buffalo needs to find their inner Hulk and fast, but are destined to join those three. Kent State is at 5 losses and doesn't look healthy enough to contend. Akron and Ohio both need to win two more games, but they should in the MAC Least. Ball State is the question mark, as they need just two more wins but hit the toughest part of their schedule now
WMU is firmly eligible and Toledo, CMU, and EMU are all a game away and look to be solidly headed towards bowl berths
avkingjames: Solid analysis. Let's meet again next week when the MAC goes to hell again for the eighth week in a row, shall we?
brownandgold: Sounds like a plan.