San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 6th, 2013
Bowl eligible Bobcats seek to be bowl credible


We know the Texas State football team is bowl eligible. But where do the Bobcats really stand? Do the Bobcats have the credibility to receive a bowl invite?

There are 123 teams in bowl-level college football and 35 bowls for them to play in, which means room for 70 teams, more than half the total. When a team wins six games, it is eligible to play in a bowl game.

Texas State earned that eligibility with a 37-21 win last Saturday at Idaho, improving its record to 6-3. The Bobcats are one of 51 teams so far to reach bowl eligibility. However, with three games remaining for most teams, 16 teams have five wins and 19 have four. So, there stands to be a crowded field, 75 or 80 teams vying for those bowl invites.

Not just for fun, it’s worth noting that a composite of 118 college football rankings that have some credibility with somebody — everything from the major polls to the most obscure computer ratings — comes up with the Bobcats ranking 84th out of 125 teams (only 123 of them are fully transitioned to the bowl level). By that measure, they are clearly a bubble team in this bowl picture.

The Bobcats are ranked as high as 58th by the CSL Ratings and as low as 114th by the Fremeau Efficiency Index. Obviously, these  rankings aren’t binding on anything. But they do point to some consensus, and they all wash out at 84, which is the median ranking for Texas State across the rankings. The average Texas State ranking is 85.19.

At No. 84 in the composite, the Bobcats have the lowest position of any team that’s bowl eligible. Their 6-3 record places them right between 3-5 North Carolina State (83rd) and 3-5 Colorado (85th), neither of which is likely to reach bowl eligibility.

The obvious problem for Texas State in these ratings is that most of their victories are low-hanging fruit. Idaho (116th in the composite), Georgia State (123) and Southern Mississippi (124) all are among the 10 worst teams playing bowl-level football, according to America’s computers. The Bobcats have another win against Prairie View A&M, which is on the playoff level.

The other two Texas State wins have come against South Alabama (95) and Wyoming (96). So, the Bobcats don’t have great wins. But they don’t have terrible losses, either, falling to Texas Tech (35), Louisiana-Lafayette (55) and Louisiana-Monroe (80).

The three remaining Texas State games come against Arkansas State (87), Western Kentucky (81) and Troy (94). As far as the composite ranking is concerned, any would be Texas State’s best win of the season.

Wins in two of them would get the Bobcats to 8-4, and it is hard to keep an 8-4 team out of a bowl. But it has happened, and not to far away or long ago. Last year, Middle Tennessee, a Sun Belt team, finished 8-4 and did not go to a bowl. The Blue Raiders had a win against Georgia Tech, which played in the ACC Championship Game, and had a chance to win the Sun Belt before losing, 45-0, to Arkansas State, which claimed the league title.

However, the Sun Belt did send four teams to bowls, including Arkansas State (9-3 entering the bowls), Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) and Western Kentucky (7-5).


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