Congrats, WMU, you’re not quite out of the bushes yet!
Even after a 13-0 undefeated season, two wins against Big Ten opponents, an impressive margin of victory average and the school’s first conference title since 1988, there’s still a good deal of acrimony regarding where you’ll go in the postseason!
For sometime, it’s been known that WMU was not going to make the Playoff; three straight weeks of being ranked 21st to open the Committee Poll and being jumped by one-loss fellow Group of Five schools showed that.
Sometime in the last 72 hours, a narrative has started to emerge that WMU, currently the highest-ranked conference champion per last week’s Committee Poll, might not get a Cotton Bowl bid on Dec. 5 despite hitting all the qualifiers.
Navy, who hit the Committee Poll for the first time two weeks ago at 25th, now sits at 19th to WMU’s 17, with many pundits predicting if Navy wins the American Conference Championship and the traditional Army/Navy game, they could jump over WMU despite having two losses.
Pundits across the country are saying that Navy winning the AAC would force the College Football Playoff Committee to consider delaying their final reveal until at least Dec. 10. The argument here is that Navy’s wins and losses are better than WMU’s wins and strength of schedule, but that’s another article for another day. For now, we’re concerned with what happens next.
According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, here are the scenarios:
If WMU is highest-ranked champion:
WMU gets the Cotton Bowl vs. an at-large team. Army would play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, most likely against 5-7 North Texas and Navy would play in their auto-bid Armed Forces Bowl against a Big 12 team.
If Navy is highest-ranked champion:
Navy gets the Cotton Bowl vs. an at-large team. WMU would play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, most likely against North Texas and Army would replace Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl to play against a Big 12 team.
This, of course, all hinges on if Navy wins the AAC. If Temple manages to pull the upset, this scenario would not be considered. More than three 5-7 teams qualifying for bowl bids would also blow up the scenario.
Therefore, WMU fans should probably also cheer for either UL-Monroe to beat UL-Lafayette OR South Alabama to beat New Mexico State. If both teams win, NIU would likely be out of contention for a bowl spot and the picture gets muddier for the Broncos.
If all else fails, potential non-MAC outside contingency bowls include the Birmingham Bowl, the Boca Raton Bowl, and even the Celebration Bowl (which is traditionally an HBCU bowl between the SWAC and MEAC.) Of course, the Broncos are eligible of all MAC bowls except for the Bahamas Bowl.