As the official bowl slotting freak around here, I couldn't resist. With the announcement of 2 new bowls for 2008, what would have been the effects on the 2007 matchups if they'd existed?
OK, to recap, there were 7 bowl-eligible teams that didn't get to play in an extra game: Troy, Louisville, South Carolina, Iowa, Northwestern, Ohio and ULM.
And there are 2 new games. Let's start with the easier one: The St. Petersburg Bowl matches a Big East and a C-USA team. This is the C-USA team that used to be in the PapaJohns.com Bowl, which is now Big East-SEC. I'm assuming that the St. Pete Bowl, with the C-USA tie-in, picks ahead of the International Bowl, with the MAC. That gives you the following matchups for last year:
PapaJohn's.com Bowl: Cincinnati vs. South Carolina
St. Petersburg Bowl: Rutgers vs. Southern Mississippi
International Bowl: Louisville vs. Ball State
Okay, now the Congressional Bowl. That one is supposed to match the #9 ACC team vs. a service academy. It's Navy in 2008, Army in 2009, and who knows after that. And the MAC has a spot as a backup if either spot doesn't get filled.
What does that mean for 2007? Well, just for argument's sake, we'll put Navy in there and go with the 2008 matchup for the Poinsettia Bowl (where Navy had a deal), which is the #7 Pac-10 team.
Now, there wasn't a #9 ACC team or a #7 Pac-10 eligible last year. So that means the MAC gets to cover the Congressional Bowl, and the open slot in the Poinsettia goes to the only team left at better than 6-6
Congressional Bowl: Ohio vs. Navy
Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. Troy
Still left out: Iowa, Northwestern, ULM.
All right, now just for fun, what if the other proposed bowl, the Rocky Mountain Bowl (which sounded like all they had was some guy who said "Hey, why not have a bowl in Salt Lake City?") had been around. That one would have matched Mountain West vs. WAC.
I'm assuming that given this option, the Mountain West would have let poor New Mexico travel to a game (although they did play at Utah and TCU didn't, so maybe not). The WAC didn't have another team available, so now we have 3 open slots: Texas, Poinsettia and Rocky Mountain.
I've never figured out how it actually works when you have an undesirable 7-5 team (Troy) that has to get a spot, and 6-6 teams that are more desirable. I'm guessing that everybody cuts deals until one bowl's left. And traveling to SLC in December to play New Mexico is the loser there. So, in this version you get:
Poinsettia Bowl: Utah vs. Northwestern (Iowa didn't want to go to a game during exams)
New Mexico Bowl: TCU vs. Nevada
Texas Bowl: Iowa vs. Houston
Rocky Mountain Bowl: New Mexico vs. Troy
That leaves just ULM, but hey, they beat Alabama! They're happy.