Texas Tech Football Is Going Bowling (Allegedly)
In the current NCAA football landscape, 78 teams get into bowl games. Early in the football season, the NCAA Division I Council made the motion to waive the win requirements for bowl eligibility. Last Wednesday, the motion was passed, which means any team can play in a bowl game regardless of their record.
That means, TEXAS TECH IS BOWL ELIGIBLE!
That doesn't mean that Texas Tech will be in a bowl game.
Normally, bowl eligibility is reserved for teams with at least six wins, though there are exceptions. In 2015 and 2016, several teams that were 5-7 played in bowl games when the threshold couldn't be met for 6-6 teams. When the NCAA Division I Council initially made the motion to think about waiving that 6-6 requirement, there were less teams planning to play college football than there were open bowl game slots.
That's not the case anymore. Since the original thought, the Big Ten, the Pac 12, the MAC, and more have all come back and are beginning to play shortened seasons. In fact, only three teams are still not going to play any games that would otherwise be eligible for a bowl game. That means 127 teams will be vying for 78 bowl game slots.
"In keeping with the Division I membership’s desire to provide maximum flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council voted to allow as many student-athletes as possible the opportunity to participate in bowl games this year," Division I Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a release announcing the change. "The decision also provides some certainty for schools and coaches as we move toward the postseason."
So how can Texas Tech play in a bowl game? I would say the worst they could finish and still get in a bowl game is 4-6. In a normal season, if Texas Tech went 4-6 outside of their first two non-conference games, there's a solid chance they'd finish 6-6. I'm not saying that 4-6 guarantees a Texas Tech bowl berth, but a 4-6 record out of the Big 12 would be a better resume than a 2-4 or 3-3 from the Pac 12.
A 5-5 record would guarantee the Red Raiders a spot in a bowl game, but seems like a tall task after a 1-3 start. Not impossible though, with games against Kansas, West Virginia, TCU, and Baylor all left on the schedule. Heck, even Oklahoma has lost two Big 12 games and has to come to Lubbock.
If the Red Raiders lose out or only beat Kansas, they would definitely start the offseason early barring an epic meltdown from the Pac 12 and three other conferences -- which, in 2020, isn't out of the realm of possibility. A step up from that, a final record of 3-7 might even be enough if enough things go right and a bowl game in Texas needs a regional team to fill out a spot, but that feels like a long shot.
If the Texas Bowl is down between a 3-7 Texas Tech or a 5-5 Western Kentucky, they might opt for the Big 12 footprint that will buy tickets and be able to travel within the state as opposed to the traveling fans from Kentucky.
Bottom line: if Texas Tech wins three games this season, the Wild West of bowl selections will at least consider the Red Raiders. Four wins would put them on the shortlist, and five wins lock them in the Bowl game field.