Bowl Eligibility Watch: Week 7

I break down which teams are in, which are close and which one are already eliminated

Became Eligible This Week

Unaffected Conferences: FBS Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12

AAC:

No. 23 SMU ((6-0) 2-0): The Mustangs beat Navy this week to gain eligibility. SMU probably won’t get any CFP recognition, but they have a chance to make a New Year’s Six bowl if they continue to play the way they have this season.

ACC:

No. 16 Wake Forest ((6-0) 4-0): The Demon Deacons were able to hold off upset minded Syracuse 40-37 in overtime this week to become bowl eligible. Wake Forest will probably need to go undefeated to get into the CFP, but an ACC Championship is a realistic goal either way.

Big 12:

 No. 4 Oklahoma ((6-0) 3-0): The Sooners came from behind to win one of the most exciting Red River Showdowns in the history of the rivalry last week. The Sooners benched quarterback Spencer Rattler in favor of Caleb Williams, who played phenomenally to orchestrate the come from behind 55-48 victory.

Big Ten:

No. 2 Iowa ((6-0) 3-0): Iowa got a helping hand this week when Sean Clifford had to leave the game this weekend. But you can only play the team that’s in front of you and Iowa got a statement win that could help with their CFP hopes.

 No. 8 Michigan ((6-0) 3-0): The Wolverines gained bowl eligibility by holding off Nebraska in the final minutes in Lincoln. The Wolverines have leaned on their running game this season, and they will need to continue to successfully run to be a real Big Ten challenger.

No. 10 Michigan State ((6-0) 3-0): MSU beat a Rutgers team that had an unfortunate opening schedule to the Big Ten season. The Spartans are in a loaded Big Ten West, so it was important to gain bowl eligibility early in the season.

C-USA:

UTSA ((6-0) 2-0): The Roadrunners were not able to slow down Western Kentucky’s vaunted passing attack, but they have started the season hot and have gained bowl eligibility early in the season

SEC:

No. 1 Georgia ((6-0) 4-0): Georgia is the best team in the country, and they control their own CFP destiny. They have a tough game against up-and-coming No. 11 Kentucky, but Georgia has seen this type of challenge before and completely shut down Arkansas.

No. 11 Kentucky ((6-0) 4-0): The Wildcats have been a surprise this year and might be the second-best team in the SEC East. Kentucky has a difficult challenge this week against Georgia, who’s only the best team in the country.

Sun Belt:

No. 15 Coastal Carolina ((6-0) 2-0): The Chanticleers are one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country and bowl eligibility was an inevitability. Next goal is the New Year’s Six.

Could Become Eligible This Week

First Attempt

Unaffected Conferences: ACC, MAC, SEC, Sun Belt

AAC

No. 3 Cincinnati ((5-0) 1-0): Cincy should win their next game at home vs UCF, but this is one of the biggest challenges Cincinnati will face this year. The CFP is a genuine possibility for the Bearcats, but they can’t have any missteps.

 Houston ((5-1) 3-0): The other Cougars could get to bowl eligibility before the Cougars (BYU) and the other-other Cougars (Washington State). It’s a race between BYU and Houston, but they will both beat Washington State unless they both completely fall apart in the next few weeks.

ACC

None

Big 12

No.12 Oklahoma State ((5-0) 2-0): The Cowboys are going to be tested for the third week in a row playing at Texas with a chance to take control of the second spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Baylor ((5-1) 3-1): Baylor gets BYU this week in a game to decide who becomes bowl eligible first.

Big Ten

No. 6 Ohio State ((5-1) 3-0): Ohio State looks like a completely new team, since the loss to No. 9 Oregon. The Buckeyes still have a few challenges this year, but they get Indiana in two weeks with a chance to gain eligibility.

C-USA

UTEP ((5-1) 2-0): The Miners can become the second C-USA team to eligibility with a win over Louisiana Tech next weekend.

FBS Independents

No. 14 Notre Dame (5-1): The Fighting Irish still have an outside shot at the CFP, but they need to win-out and get some help along the way.

Liberty (5-1): The Flames have been fantastic this year and will probably be bowl eligible next week after a visit to Louisiana Monroe.

Mountain West

No. 24 San Diego State ((5-0) 1-0): The Aztecs are coming off a bye and travel to San Jose State on Friday next week with a chance to become bowl eligible a day before most of the teams on this list get a chance.

Air Force ((5-1) 2-1): Air Force can become the first Academy team to bowl eligibility, but they’ll have to beat Boise State next week to do so.

Pac-12

No. 18 Arizona State ((5-1) 3-0): ASU has handled every opponent they’ve had except BYU, and they will have a chance to become the first Pac-12 team to reach eligibility next week vs Utah.

Second Attempt

Unaffected Conferences: AAC, ACC, Big 12, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12, Sun Belt

Big Ten

No. 7 Penn State ((5-1) 2-1): Penn State is the only team who didn’t gain eligibility because of an upset. No. 2 Iowa was just too much for the Nittany Lions, who will have to wait another week before they get another chance to become bowl eligible vs Illinois.

FBS Independents

No. 19 BYU (5-1): The Cougars were upset by Boise State this week and took a huge hit to their New Year’s Six bowl chances, but they will have another chance to gain bowl eligibility next week at Baylor.

SEC

No. 5 Alabama ((5-1) 2-1): Alabama was also upset this week. The Crimson Tide were beaten by No. 21 Texas A&M, but Bama still controls their own destiny when it comes to the CFP and they will inevitably gain bowl eligibility at some point this year. It’ll probably come next week at Mississippi State.

Eliminated This Week

UConn (0-7): Congrats to UConn on becoming the first bowl ineligible team of the year. Connecticut has lost seven games in six weeks of football, which is extremely impressive, considering it should be physically impossible. Ah, the magic of college football. The Huskies lost a battle of winless teams this week against UMass, so the Minutemen will have to wait a few more weeks before they become ineligible for a bowl game.

Could Lose Eligibility This Week

            None