The Sun Belt Conference has four bowl tie-ins: games in Orlando, Montgomery, Ala., New Orleans and Mobile, Ala.
Going into Saturday’s games, the last of the two weeks remaining in the regular season, the conference has three bowl-eligible teams, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Arkansas State, two more that need one win to reach six victories and become bowl eligible, Georgia State and South Alabama, and one more, Louisiana-Lafayette, that needs two wins.
Here is the scenario:
South Alabama (5-5) is at Georgia Southern today and will host Appalachian State next week. The Eagles (7-3, 5-1) and Mountaineers (8-2, 5-1) are still in contention with Arkansas State (7-3, 6-0) for the Sun Belt title. It would be hard to imagine the Jaguars favored to win either game.
The Panthers must defeat the Eagles next week. Georgia Southern defeated the Panthers 69-31 last year in the Georgia Dome. They will most likely again be favored in next week’s game in Statesboro.
Louisiana-Lafayette is at Appalachian State today and will host Troy next week. Tough to predict them beating the Mountaineers. Troy is a toss-up, but may not matter if the first game isn’t won.
The Sun Belt isn’t the only conference that may not be able to satisfy its bowl requirements with enough teams.
Because there are 80 bowls (not counting the championship game), there are quite a few conferences that may not meet their tie-ins. An NCAA oversight committee is going to provide guidelines should there not be enough teams with six wins each. Their deadline is Dec. 6, which is when bowl bids will start to be issued.