From the Bird’s Nest: Don’t Look for a Bowl Announcement Anytime Soon
Louisiana's win over Louisiana-Monroe Saturday afternoon was their eighth of the year. But there has been no announcement of a bowl bid for the Cajuns.
And, there won't be one this week either.
It's no secret the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl covets the Cajuns. And, they're probably ready to invite them right now. But, they can't.
Not yet anyway.
Although New Orleans has the first pick of Sun Belt bowl-eligible teams, Sun Belt by-laws state the designated conference champion must be accommodated in a bowl, somewhere.
And, we don't know who the champion is, yet.
Last year, FIU was the designated conference champion. Troy and FIU were co-champs, but the Panthers got an automatic bowl bid by virtue of their win over the Trojans.
Problem was, neither the bowl in the Crescent City nor the godaddy.com bowl really wanted FIU. The Sun Belt had a contingency agreement with the Little Caesar's Bowl in Detroit and when the Big Ten couldn't fill all of their slots, the Detroit bowl came open.
Then it became easy. Three bowl-eligible teams. Three bowls available. New Orleans chose co-champion Troy, godaddy.com took Middle Tennessee and FIU got their bid in Detroit.
It's a little more complicated this time.
Right now, Arkansas State leads the league with a 5-0 conference record. The Cajuns are 6-1, and Western Kentucky sits at 5-1. (FIU is also in the bowl mix with a 5-4 record, but not in the league hunt at 2-3.). In the event of a tie for the title, WKU would hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Cajuns, but ASU has the nod over the Hilltoppers.
So, when will we know who the designated champion is?
Well, it could be as soon as November 19th. Or, it could be as late as December 3rd.
Here are some scenarios.
1. ASU defeats Louisiana this weekend. In this scenario, the Red Wolves would move to 6-0. The Cajuns would be 6-2, with WKU still at 5-1 (the Toppers play top-ranked LSU this week.) A loss would not mathematically eliminate the Cajuns from title consideration, but it wouldn't look good.
November 19th--ASU is at Middle Tennessee, WKU is at North Texas
If ASU would win, they would be the designated conference champions at 7-0. It is believed the Mobile bowl would welcome ASU. With a champion decided, New Orleans would be free to take the Cajuns, with ASU going to Mobile. And, then we'd know by November 19th.
But if ASU loses to Middle and WKU wins vs. North Texas, this thing could drag out until Dec. 3.
2. Louisiana defeats ASU this weekend. The Cajuns would clinch a share of the conference title. ASU would be eliminated from the possibility of being designated conference champion (although they could still be co-champions) . But the title wouldn't be decided this Saturday. In this scenario, UL would finish at 7-1, ASU and WKU would be 5-1.
On November 19th, WKU is at North Texas. A North Texas win would give the title to the Cajuns. But if WKU wins, we go to November 26th when WKU plays Troy. If the Toppers win that and finish with a 7-1 record, we would have to wait until Dec. 3 when ASU hosts Troy. (ASU is off on Nov. 26th). An ASU win would create a three way tie for the title. An ASU loss to Troy would make WKU the designated champion. Either way, no bowl invite would be forthcoming until December.
If there is a three way tie, there is no designated champion. New Orleans takes the Cajuns, godaddy takes whoever they want and the other bowl eligible teams hope there's a slot somewhere for them.
Fans are going to get incredibly impatient and come up with all sorts of paranoid thoughts about something falling through and the Cajuns getting left out.
That isn't going to happen.
But no one can do anything till we find out who wins this thing.
And, if you talk to anyone who is confused, send them to this blog. Hopefully it will answer some questions.
Or, maybe, just confuse them more.