Clarifying Sun Belt Rules Regarding Bowl Berths

By: Jeff Woods
By: Jeff Woods

December 6, 2011

This afternoon I was contacted by the Sun Belt Conference. Apparently, my blog entry from Monday made its way to New Orleans (Sun Belt headquarters). And the conference was concerned with my explanation of the Sun Belt's accommodating of league champions in football. While the league conceded my statements were not inaccurate, I was asked to clarify some of the verbiage.

Monday, I stated the Sun Belt league champion is not guaranteed a bowl game. In the event of just one league champion, like Arkansas State this season, the league champion must be accommodated.

However, the Sun Belt does not break ties. For example, if two teams finished tied for first in the final standings, the league considers them co-champions. The same concept applies if there are three teams tied for first.

Hypothetically, let's say three teams finish tied for first at the end of the season and are tri-champions. The Sun Belt only has two bowl tie-ins. Guess what? At least one of those three teams is not guaranteed a bowl game.

This year's New Orleans Bowl and Bowl invites were handed out before the regular season ended. Louisiana-Lafayette is going to New Orleans while league champion Arkansas State is headed to Mobile, Alabama. Arkansas State still had one more game to play when it received its bid. Had the Red Wolves lost their final regular season game, they would have finished 7-1 in league play, the same record as the Hilltoppers. ASU and WKU would have been recognized as co-champions of the Sun Belt.

However, because both bowl bids had already been handed out, WKU would not have been guaranteed a bowl game despite winning the league.

Simply put, if more than one team wins the Sun Belt, not every league winner is guaranteed a bowl game.

WKU could have won the Sun Belt and still not earned a bowl bid.

To read Monday's blog entry... 

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