Well, either none of you really care about Patriot League basketball or you guys are the most impossible homers on the planet. Most of you picked the good guys to win the conference. You might be rethinking that position after Towson stomped a mudhole in the Mids on Friday night. If you were hoping to think that Towson is really good as a way of easing the sting, that was crushed on Sunday as Niagara carried out a similar mudhole-stomping on the Tigers. The Mids have a lot of kinks to work out before Patriot League play begins.
Anyway, one more weekend down, one more chance for the ACC to screw everything up. More specifically, Wake Forest screwed everything up by losing to North Carolina State. A win would have given the Deacs a 5-2 record in the conference, making it pretty tough for them to fall to the EagleBank Bowl. Instead they’re 4-3 with only Boston College left on their league schedule. The Eagles did their part to avoid RFK Stadium by beating Florida State to get to 3-3. But now either Wake or BC is guaranteed to lose, meaning that one of them will be no better than 4-4. As the two teams most likely to be picked last by the ACC’s bowl games, that means hello, Washington. And hello, rematch.
Of course, that assumes that Virginia wins a game to become bowl eligible. They have Clemson and Virginia Tech left to play, so it’s no guarantee. If they don’t win, then the ACC won’t have 9 eligible teams. The EagleBank Bowl will then have to turn elsewhere. Originally it was reported that “elsewhere” meant the MAC, but that may not be the case. Reports from back in April that the MAC was the guaranteed replacement if the ACC did not field 9 eligible teams were premature. The EagleBank Bowl will instead pick from all at-large candidates. A smart move, really, since a MAC team will still be there if you really want one.
So what might be available? Notre Dame becoming bowl eligible shakes up the Big East a bit. Including the Irish, the Big East has 6 teams eligible. Rutgers will become team #7 with a win over Army this weekend. Louisville is also one win away, but needs to beat either Rutgers or West Virginia to get there. With only 6 Big East bowl tie-ins, someone should be left hanging.
The Big Ten has 7 bowl partners and 7 eligible schools. Illinois can become #8, which would leave someone hanging there, too. If a second team from the conference is selected for a BCS game, though, there won’t be anyone left out.
Conference USA probably won’t have anyone left over. The MAC might have one or two.
So the question for this week is the same as the question two weeks ago, only expanding beyond ACC choices. Who do you want to play in the EagleBank Bowl? I don’t even know how realistic some of these are, but who cares? Pick anyway.