Four new bowls have been added for 2006-07. On top of that, a team need only have a .500 record to go to a bowl without a waiver. Thus, the 6-6 team is bowl eligible. The prior rule was that the team, without a waiver, needed to be above .500, which meant 6-5 in 11 game seasons and 7-5 in twelve game seasons. In addition to the new BCS bowl, there will be the International Bowl in Toronto, the Birmingham Bowl, and the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.
That means, assuming the Houston Bowl doesn't fold, there will be 32 bowl games this season. I personally expect that the Houston Bowl will be saved. So that means 64 teams. That means more than half, or 53.8%, of the 119 Division I-A teams will go bowling next year.
This, of course, bodes well for SMU's quest for a bowl game in 2006. More bowls means more opportunities. That is obvious.
Keep in mind, however, that the last time there was a twelve game season was 2002 and 2003. At the time, there were 117 Division I-A teams. In 2002, 70(!) teams that year would have been bowl eligible under the new rules, or just under 60%. In 2003, 69 teams were .500 or better. Yes, in those years, there were a couple of waivers to allow 6-6 teams in bowls, but there were 6-6 teams left out in the cold as well. As an aside, last year, there were 64 teams that were bowl eligible; eight teams did not get bowl invitations.
On the radio today, I heard Rich Phillips say that he thought the NCAA would have to grant some teams waivers in order to fill all 64 spots. I disagree. If 70 teams were .500 or better in 2002, I expect at least that number, and maybe a couple more, to finish 6-6 or better in 2006.
So, yes, adding bowls, no matter what effect it has on the landscape of college football or the tourism of Albuquerque, is good for SMU and any other program that longs to go bowling for the first time in years. But it doesn't mean those teams can coast through the season and still expect to go to Toronto (Toronto? Really?). The teams have to be better; not just their records. In other words, SMU needs to be better than it was last year, not just as good and add a win over I-AA Sam Houston State. That isn't going to get it done.
Rex Walters will replace Doherty at FAU. Well, that means there is an opening on Doherty's staff. Though, of the two assistants at Doherty's press conference, one was the Director of Operations and not an "assistant." I don't know if he is moving up the food chain or what. So there is at least one, and possibly two, openings on Doherty's staff. I expect any openings will be filled quickly.
Orsini's replacement has been hired at UCF. Keith Tribble was chief operating officer of the Orange Bowl Committee for the past 13 years. He was also the senior associate AD at the UNLV. He is also african-american was named one of the "Most Influential Minorities in Sports" by Sports Illustrated.