Can the Cajuns Play in a Major Bowl?
What are the chances that the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will play in a New Year's Six bowl game this year?
They're probably a little better than you think.
New Year's Six bowl games consist of the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Peach, Peach Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl.
With those six games, obviously, 12 teams are selected each football season for these major, top tier bowls.
Officially, the champions of the Power Five conferences, including the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, and Pac-12, are required to be included.
Most, if not all, of the at-large teams, will be made up of Power Five schools, but the conference champions are the only ones guaranteed.
The final school is required to be included is the highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of Five conferences, consisting of the Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, American, Mountain West, and MAC.
Read that last part again, carefully.
It says "the highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of Five conferences."
My friend, Dan McDonald, reminded me of this earlier this week during his weekly Monday morning appearance on "Beyond The Game".
So, the way I see it, two things need to happen for Louisiana to play in a New Year's Six bowl game.
First, Cincinnati would have to lose to Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference title game on Saturday night.
If Cincinnati, who is really good, wins, they will be in a New Year's Six bowl, as they are currently unbeaten, and listed at number 8 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
Now, let's say they lose to Tulsa, by one point. In that scenario, they likely wouldn't drop much in the rankings, but wouldn't be a conference champion, so they would be ineligible unless they get in as an at-large.
The second part would obviously be the Cajuns defeating Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Conference Football Championship, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Conway, South Carolina.
If Louisiana wins, they would be a conference champion, and that would eliminate Coastal Carolina, leaving UL as the highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of Five conferences.
The only way that I see that Louisiana could be denied would be if Tulsa leapfrogged them after a big win over Cincinnati, which would be possible.
Louisiana, who has won six straight and is currently 9-1 on the season, was ranked at number 19 in the College Football Playoff Rankings last week, with Tulsa at number 24.
If the Cajuns beat an unbeaten and 13th-ranked Coastal Carolina team, that would help them climb.
If Tulsa defeats Cincinnati, would that be enough to vault them past UL?
I wouldn't think so, but it is possible.
People have been asking me; "What bowl do you think the Cajuns will be going to?" I think, if Cincinnati wins, that Louisiana will play in the Camellia Bowl or the Cure Bowl, with Montgomery, Alabama being the most likely destination.
If Tulsa pulls the upset over Cincinnati on Saturday night, however, I think Saturday's Louisiana/Coastal Carolina game could have more on the line than just a conference championship, with the winner likely going to a New Year's Six bowl.
It's very simple for the Cajuns; win on Saturday afternoon, then pull for Tulsa on Saturday night.
Geaux Cajuns!...and go Golden Hurricane!