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72 Teams Eligible For 70 Bowl Slots

2012 Bowl Eligibility Requirements and Bowl Eligible Teams

To become eligible for postseason play in any FBS bowl game, a team must have a minimum 6 wins in a 12-game schedule, or 7 wins in a 13-game schedule, or be the champion of its conference, and not be on probation that specifically stipulates exclusion from postseason play. One win over a FCS team can count toward the win total each year provided the FCS team has supplied financial aid for football averaging out to at least 56.7 full scholarships (90% of the limit of 63 allowed to FCS schools) over "a rolling two-year period" that can include the current season.

Bowl games with contractual ties must select a team from that conference with seven wins, if one is available. If one is not available, a 6-win team from that conference is next-in-line.

Any berths not filled by a qualifying team from a contracted conference must fill that vacancy with a "spare" team that has 7 wins before any "spare" 6-6 team can be accommodated.

Achieving bowl eligibility does not guarantee a team will be slotted in a bowl game.

These 4 teams scheduled 2 FCS opponents this season, and were therefore required to achieve 7 total wins for bowl eligibility: Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M.

These 3 teams scheduled 13 games, and were therefore required to achieve 7 total wins for bowl eligibility:
New Mexico, South Alabama, UNLV. Of those teams, New Mexico and UNLV did not qualify. South Alabama was already ineligible as it was in a transition year from the FCS.

Beginning with 2012 bowl season, a new selection process will be followed only in the event that bowl-eligible teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision are exhausted.

The board was concerned that conferences and bowls could become overcommitted and not account for potential of bowl ineligibility due to factors beyond won-lost records, such as infractions penalties. Also, a new Academic Progress Rate postseason eligibility structure will take effect in the 2012-13 academic year, with a two-year implementation window before the benchmark moves from 900 to 930. For access to postseason competition in 2012-13 and 2013-14, teams must achieve a 900 multi-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible.

If a bowl has one or more conferences/teams unable to meet their contractual commitments and there are no available bowl-eligible teams, the open spots can be filled – by the bowl sponsoring agencies – as follows:

  • First pool: Teams that finish 6-6 but would not normally be bowl eligible because they have a win against a Football Championship Subdivision team.
  • Second pool: A team that has a 6-6 record but beat two FCS teams.
  • Third pool: A team that finished with a 6-7 record, with the seventh loss being in a conference championship game.
  • Fourth pool: A team that played 13 games but finished with a 6-7 record.
  • Fifth pool: A team in the process of reclassifying to FBS football and has at least a 6-6 record.
  • Sixth pool:  Any top 5 APR team with a 5-7 record.

A bowl will be allowed to use the extra pools of teams only one time over a four-year period. The special provision ends after four years in order to encourage bowls and institutions/conferences to avoid over commitment. Currently, 35 bowls are available for Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

In other business, the Board:

  • Approved an additional game in the Football Bowl Subdivision to allow student-athletes to participate in a game between the winners of two exempted postseason bowl games.

2012 BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS BY CONFERENCE (W-L Record In Parenthesis. Games through 12/1/12)
ACC (6)
Clemson (10-2)
Florida State (11-2) - ACC Champion
N. C. Sate (7-5)
Duke (6-6)
Georgia Tech (6-7)
Virginia Tech (6-6)
NOTE: North Carolina (8-4) was ineligible due to NCAA probation. Miami (7-5) self-imposed a bowl ban. Georgia Tech received a waiver to be bowl eligible even it finishes 6-7. NCAA rules already permit a conference championship game loser to play in a bowl game at 6-7, but force that school to be behind other 6-6 teams. The waiver essentially ignores the 7th loss.

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher blasted the NCAA for its decision to grant the waiver. "One of the reasons for the development of the policy covering this matter was to clearly create a selection order to manage just this situation.....To suggest that that the NCAA staff or task force working on bowl policy did not contemplate such a circumstance, when this same situation occurred last year (UCLA), is incorrect. The policy is clear and understandable."

Big 12 (9)
Kansas State (11-1) - Big 12 Co-champion, automatic BCS qualifier
Oklahoma (10-2) - Big 12 Co-champion
Texas (8-4)
Oklahoma State (7-5) - 5-4 in conference vs. 4-5 for next four
Baylor (7-5)
Texas Christian (7-5)
Texas Tech (7-5)
West Virginia (7-5)
Iowa State (6-6)

Big East (4)
Cincinnati (9-3) - Big East Co-champion
Louisville (10-2) - Big East Co-champion. Automatic BCS qualifier due to higher BCS ranking.
Rutgers (9-3) - Big East Co-champion
Syracuse (7-5) - Big East Co-champion
#-Pittsburgh (6-6)
#-Though Pitt played 2 FCS teams, it actually lost to one and can claim 5 wins vs. FBS schools + 1 vs. an FCS team.

Big Ten (7)
Nebraska (10-3)
Northwestern (9-3)
Wisconsin (8-5)
- Big Ten Champion Michigan (8-4)
Michigan State (6-6)
Minnesota (6-6)
Purdue (6-6)
NOTE: Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible due to NCAA probation.

CUSA (5)
Tulsa (10-3) - CUSA Champion
UCF (9-4)
East Carolina (8-4)
Rice (6-6)
SMU (6-6)

Independents (3)
Notre Dame (12-0)
BYU (7-5)
Navy (7-4)

MAC (7)
Northern Illinois (12-1) - MAC Champion
Kent State (11-2)
Ball State (9-3)
Toledo (9-3)
Bowling Green (8-4)
Ohio (8-4)
Central Michigan (6-6)

Mountain West (5)
Boise State (10-2) - Mountain West Co-champion
Fresno State (9-3) - Mountain West Co-champion
San Diego State (9-3) - Mountain West Co-champion
Nevada (7-4)
Air Force (6-6)
NOTE: The Mountain West does not have a tie-breaker system. Bowls work with conference to determine best placement in the event of a tie.

PAC-12 (8)
Stanford (11-2) - PAC-12 Champion
Oregon (11-1)
Oregon State (9-3)
UCLA (9-4)
Arizona (7-5)
Arizona State (7-5)
Southern California (7-5)
Washington (7-5)

SEC (9)
Alabama (12-1) - SEC Champion
Florida (11-1)
Georgia (11-2)
LSU (10-2)
South Carolina (10-2)
Texas A&M (10-2)
Vanderbilt (8-4)
Mississippi State (8-4)
Mississippi (6-6)

Sun Belt (5)
Arkansas State (9-3) - Sun Belt Champion
Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
Middle Tennessee (8-4)
Western Kentucky (7-5)

WAC (3)
Utah State (10-2) - WAC Champion
San Jose State (10-2)
Louisiana Tech (9-3)
NOTE: UTSA (8-4) was ineligible as it was in a transition year from the FCS.