Ball State survived the wrath of Central Michigan and the Dark Lord Zombo last night to remain undefeated. When your friend who knows nothing about college football approaches you and says, "So is Ball State gonna play for the national championship YOUR SPORT IS SCREWED UP," you may confidently answer "no." Here's why.â†µ
Ball State now sits at No. 17 in the BCS standings. Only conference champions earn the automatic bids to the BCS bowls, meaning a few teams ahead of Ball State -- Georgia, for example -- can't win their conferences, and essentially move Ball State up a few spots and closer to the crucial 12-spot in the BCS rankings. If Ball State finishes in the top 12, they're in under BCS rules as an undefeated from the non-BCS ranks.
As with anything, though, there is a catch. Ahem:â†µ
No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic [BCS] berth in any year. (Note: a second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.)â†µ
Only one undefeated non-BCS conference team gets an automatic ticket to fat gift bags and BCS glory, and at the moment both Boise Sate and Utah are ranked higher than Ball State. Both would have to lose to get Ball State an automatic bid. Ball State would still be eligible for an at-large bid at what Emmitt Smith would call "the bowl's discrepancy", which will not happen with large, cash-tossing fanbases like Ohio State or Georgia possibly lurking out there.â†µ
But hey, Notre Dame may be the first five-loss team to ever get a Gator Bowl bid! Perhaps your friend who knows nothing about college football has a point.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.