Will 6-6 Be Enough to Make a Bowl Game in 2012?


Every SEC team with at least six regular season wins has made it to a bowl game since 2008 (South Carolina is the last team to not make a bowl, 6-6 in 2007). But with the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, will it force teams to win 7 games in order to play in postseason?

Since permanently going to a 12-game schedule in 2006, the SEC has averaged 9.33 (78%) teams per year with at least six wins. So, nine bowl tie-ins have worked for all but ’07 South Carolina (most years the conference has had 2 BCS teams, allowing for 10 bowl teams). But in adding the two new teams, 78% would be 10.92 teams – or 11. So, 11 SEC teams should be bowl-eligible in 2012.

To counter this, the SEC has added the Independence Bowl again. That makes 10 bowl tie-ins (1 BCS + 9 others). Assuming the SEC does get two BCS spots again, this would be enough to satisfy the 11 six-win teams the league should have.

But what if there are more than 11; or, what if there is only one BCS team? What if Alabama has a season like 2010, or Georgia slips up a few times. What if there are a lot of wins spread around creating a lot of 6-win teams and only one great team.

Just playing devil’s advocate, let’s say LSU goes undefeated, winning the SEC and playing in the BCS Title Game. But no other SEC team has more than 9 wins. This seems unlikely, but if Georgia or South Carolina doesn’t get ahead of the pack there could be six or even seven bowl-eligible teams from the East. Every team in the west except Ole Miss is expecting a bowl appearance in 2012. Let’s just say 12 SEC teams have six wins (save Kentucky and TSUN)…but only LSU goes to the BCS because UGA, Bama, UPig, and USC are all 9-3… divvying up the wins across the board creating a bevy of 3-5 to 5-3 teams.

Let’s say this is how it shakes out (these are not my predictions at all)…

1. LSU, 13-0/12-1 – BCS Title Game / Sugar Bowl
2. Georgia, 9-4 – Capitol One Bowl
3. Alabama, 9-3 – Cotton Bowl
4. South Carolina, 9-3 – Outback Bowl
5. Arkansas, 9-3 – Chick-Fil-A Bowl
6. Mississippi State, 8-4 – Gator Bowl
7. Auburn, 7-5 – Music City Bowl
8. Florida, 7-5 – Liberty Bowl
9. Missouri, 7-5 – BBVA Compass Bowl
10. Texas A&M, 6-6 – Independence Bowl

Tennessee and Vanderbilt go 6-6, but are left out.

Odds are the SEC will be looking for another bowl game to associate with…one will likely come from Texas as that is new territory. But even then, this worst-case scenario would prohibit one 6-6 team from going to a bowl game.

To be safe, teams will need to win 7 games to assure themselves of a bowl appearance. Although if an 11th tie-in is reached, in all likelihood win six and you’re in.