Keith Sargeant had a very informative post yesterday about RU's bowl prospects. Basically, the Meineke Bowl wants nothing, at all, to do with Pittsburgh (if they lose to Cincinnati), echoing their comments from last year. Something clearly has to give with the other bowls. Rutgers beat USF and UConn this year, but unfortunately the International Bowl picks first even though all three teams would rather go to St. Pete or Birmingham. Based on the belief that UConn won't go to Toronto again (although they could go to Detroit), and that USF won't be sent to cold weather, many projections floating around the net have Rutgers heading back to Toronto. I don't see how Rutgers would stand for that though. It's quite a stalemate, which is all the more reason to play well on Saturday.
I am a bit confused about one part of it though. The Meineke Bowl may indeed want Miami, but will they have the opportunity to take the Canes? They may not, because the Peach and Champs Sports bowls get their pick of the ACC before Meineke, and Miami to the Orlando-based Champs Bowl seems to be a natural fit.
Complicating matters is that even though nearly everyone in Morgantown and Blacksburg believed over the past week that West Virginia and VT would end up playing in Charlotte or Jacksonville, it now looks like the Peach Bowl wants the Hokies.
Now, that doesn't matter in the sense that West Virginia is a near certainty to go to the Gator Bowl because of their fan support, even if it means jumping a one-loss Cincinnati team. However, the ACC lineup could portend trouble for RU's chances to land in Charlotte. For instance, suppose UNC ends up playing in that game again. Not only would a Rutgers/UNC game be unappealing considering that the two teams played last year, and are set to meet again in 2010, but UNC would sell enough tickets to the game that Pittsburgh's reputation for anemic fan support may not matter. Miami and Clemson are good fits for Rutgers though, and it looks like either UNC or Miami will get the bid.
One further complication that I don't understand: could a 6-6 FSU team jump BC and their worst-in-FBS travelling contingent for the Meineke bid, once again exiling the Eagles to San Francisco? I didn't think it was possible because of NCAA regulations about 6-6 teams having to wait behind winning teams, but the Charlotte Observer does not think so.
I wrote that last night, but now comes word that the Gator Bowl has designs on inviting Florida State, even though it would seem to be precluded by their contract. It's not like we already didn't know that some very sketchy and unethical people run that bowl, and hopefully they'll be shut down like the Sun Bowl was last year.