Today is an anticlimactic day in college football.
It’s safe to assume Florida and Oklahoma will be the top two teams in the BCS. And, really, everything after that doesn’t mean nearly as much.
Locally, Maryland is probably a few hours from officially getting sent to the Humanitarian Bowl, and Navy will probably draw Wake Forest sometime today as well.
About the only interesting thing left is who gets left home from the pool of 6-6 teams without a bowl home. Right now, that group includes N.C. State, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette and San Jose State.
Only one team in the at-large pool has a winning record — whichever directional Michigan school (Western or Central) doesn’t take one of the MAC’s tie-ins.
Of those nine schools, four won’t play in the postseason (and the directional Michigan school is assured a spot). So here are the five at-large spots and a best guess, given the trolling of Al Gore’s Invention, as to who will actually accept those invitations:
* Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): In tough economic times, the folks out in Hawaii will take whoever they can get. Notre Dame is an obvious target, though there’s talk of a WAC regular-season rematch between Hawaii (already locked in) and San Jose State.
* Motor City (Dec. 26, Detroit): This could be Connecticut, if the Motor City and International bowls swap teams. That probably means a Sun Belt team or San Jose State ends up in the International Bowl.
* Independence (Dec. 28, Shreveport): Looks as if this is the home of the LDMS (leftover directional Michigan school).
* Papajohns.com (Dec. 29, Birmingham): It sure looks as if N.C. State will take the spot allocated for SEC No. 9, likely with the chance to play Rutgers. As mid- to lower-tier games go, that one would be pretty good.
* Texas (Dec. 30, Houston): This would make the most sense for Notre Dame, since it is on an appealing date, is in a reasonably warm locale and won’t cost nearly as much as flying to Hawaii. Plus, a trip to a solid recruiting area won’t hurt Hot Seat Charlie one bit.
If Notre Dame and N.C. State are off the board, it looks as if UL Lafayette is probably the favorite to take over the Big 12’s tie-in and face Rice.
The best guess is Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and two of the three Sun Belt teams in the pool are left at home. We’ll find out later in the day.
—- Patrick Stevens