College football bowl eligibility: What if FCS wins didn't count anymore?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested just such a rule on Tuesday, echoing the sentiments of many college football fans. If that rule was in effect during the 2012 season, what would the bowl slate look like?

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on Tuesday he would prefer that the rule that allows wins over FCS teams to count towards bowl eligibility be repealed. It's an interesting thought, as people have been complaining for years about powerful FBS programs paying off FCS teams for an easy win. If wins over FCS teams didn't count towards bowl eligibility, then there would be no incentive to schedule those teams at all. There are only 12 opportunities a year to earn a win, and a lot of teams need all 12 to get to six wins.

Just out of curiousity, if we lived in Jim Delany's world (and don't we already, amirite?), what would the 2012 bowl slate look like if wins over FCS teams didn't count? In this scenario, the following 11 teams would not have been bowl eligible (in no particular order):

  • Georgia Tech
  • Virginia Tech
  • Duke
  • Iowa State
  • Pitt
  • Purdue
  • Minnesota
  • SMU
  • Central Michigan
  • Air Force
  • Ole Miss

For the sake of this exercise, let's say Louisiana Tech, which was the only team to turn down a bowl invitation this past year, takes the place of one of those teams. That leaves 10 vacant spots in bowl games, or five bowl games that simply have no one to play in them.

It's possible that teams with five wins that are in good academic standing could apply for a NCAA waiver, so UConn, Houston, and Troy would have a chance of getting into the party, but I don't think I'd have to argue with anyone that this is a point that no one really wants to get to.

Delany's suggestion is a good one in some respects. It would at least partially stop teams from scheduling cupcake out-of-conference games against overmatched competition, although teams that regularly win double digit games don't have the same disincentive as those that need all six wins just to go to a bowl. However, what we would be left with is several vacant bowls every season, and considering that many of those lower-tier bowls are owned by ESPN, the chances of this rule becoming reality seem to be slim.

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