That's right 9 times. 9 times. Your Golden Panthers have a chance to possibly land in 1 of 9 bowl games. Of course, all of this depends on FIU WINNING ITS LAST 2 GAMES of the season to finish 6-6. One more loss and it's time to focus on just Western Kentucky for the season finale.
Been speaking with Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters and PG the last few days and because of the parity this season in college football the Sun Belt could have 4 bowl teams. Troy is already bowl eligible with 7 wins. Arkansas State has 5 wins and plays North Texas (a win for ASU) and Troy to finish the season.
The last 2 Sun Belt bowl teams will come from elimination games to be played in the next 7 days. Louisiana and Middle Tennessee are both 5-6 and play each other to finish the season, thus 1 of those will have the minimum 6 wins to be bowl eligible. As you know, FIU and Florida Atlantic also play each other in an elimination game this Saturday. FAU is 5-6 and with a win become bowl eligible. FIU needs to win its final 2 to get to 6 wins.
So you see the Sun Belt should have 4 teams with at least 6 wins, counting that ASU doesn't choke against NT and FIU wins out or FAU beats FIU. With 4 SBC teams bowl eligible here are the 9 bowls that could have a Sun Belt team and we'll use FIU as an example since this is the FIU Golden Panthers Prowl.
Listed next to each bowl are the original conference teams with tie-ins:
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.): Big 12 #7 vs. SEC # 8 (Kansas vs. Auburn)....KU could move up to Big 12 #6 or 7 if the BCS takes 2 Big 12 teams. BCS will at least take one Big 12 team....Auburn (5-6) has to beat Alabama to be BE (bowl eligible). Sun Belt team would be first alternate here and there could be 2 Sun Belt teams playing each other which would then cause a shift in the St. Pete Bowl.
St. Pete Bowl (St. Petersburg): Big East #6 (Rutgers) vs. C-USA (East Carolina), but since the Independence Bowl would not want an all Sun Belt matchup you could see either Rutgers or ECU shifted to Independence vs. Sun Belt and then the other Sun Belt team playing in the St. Pete Bowl vs. either Rutgers or ECU.
Emerald Bowl (San Francisco): ACC #7 vs. PAC 10 #4/5....Clemson is 6-5, but since 2 of their wins (Citadel and South Carolina State) are vs. Division I-AA teams they need 7 wins to become BE. The Tigers finish the season vs. the Ol' Ball Coach's South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday. The Sun Belt could replace Clemson.
Texas Bowl (Houston): Big 12 #8 vs. C-USA #3/4....There is no Big 12 #8 team BE right now. Colorado has to beat Nebraska to become BE.
Alamo Bowl (San Antonio): Big 12 #4/5 vs. Big 10 #4/5....FIU would need the BCS to take 2 Big 12 teams here and Colorado to lose to Nebraska, if that happens all the other BE Big 12 teams move up in bowl stature and there is no Big 12 team available for the Alamo.
Motor City Bowl (Detroit): Big 10 #7 vs. MAC Champ....There will be no Big 10 #7, because the Rose Bowl will take a Big 10 team leaving just 6 Big 10 teams available for bowls and this bowl open for a Sun Belt team.
Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu): Pac 10 #7 vs. WAC #2/Hawaii....This is where I would like to go. The Pac-10's #7 is currently UCLA (4-6) and Arizona State (4-6) both needing to win out with UCLA still to play USC. ASU plays Arizona. UCLA and ASU play each other on Saturday.
Pizza Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.): Big East #4/5 vs. SEC #9....UConn or South Florida are both set here vs. an Auburn team that has to beat Alabama. FIU a fan of Nick Saban?
Eagle Bank Bowl (Washington D.C.): ACC #9 vs. Army or Navy....Clemson, Virginia (5-6) and N.C. State (5-6) are facing elimination from bowl contention. UVA plays Virginia Tech. N.C. State has UM. Who would have thought the Golden Panthers rooting for the Hurricanes?
You pick the bowl for FIU: