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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
At-large and in charge


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

As the season winds down, it looks like the non-BCS will have the 7-5 (or better) teams that will get the first nod for the at-large bids and several of the 6-6 teams.

There is still a lot up for grabs this week. Several teams are fighting for bowl eligibility and several don't play each other. I would say the most bowl eligibility would come out of C-USA and the WAC. I think the WAC will have two more 7-5 teams when the weekend is over and C-USA will have three more 6-6 teams. The Sun Belt is in a bad position where several of the 5-6 teams play each other this week, so two teams will be knocked out.

Nevada coach Chris Ault said earlier this week that Nevada would not go to a bowl if it finished 6-6 (we'll see), and Notre Dame could be in the same boat depending on which bowl it's talking about.

Here's a quick breakdown of the bowls that could have open slots and the teams that could fill them.

GUARANTEED OPEN AT-LARGE SPOTS
• One in the Texas Bowl
• One in the Hawaii Bowl
• One in the Poinsettia Bowl
• One in the Papajohns.com Bowl

POSSIBLE OPEN AT-LARGE SPOTS
• One in Independence assuming Auburn loses to Alabama this weekend and possibly two if Colorado loses to Nebraska on Friday
• One in the Motor City Bowl if Ohio State moves into the BCS
• One in the Emerald Bowl depending on whether USC moves up into the BCS and Oregon State wins the Pac-10
• One in the EagleBank Bowl if NC State, Clemson and Virginia all lose

POSSIBLE AT-LARGE TEAMS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND (guaranteed bowls)

Remember that teams with a 7-5 record or better will be picked first by at-large bowls. Right now, Western Michigan is the only team that falls into that category, though Nevada, Hawaii, Notre Dame and Arkansas State also could finish with seven wins.

MWC (4)
None

WAC (3)
San Jose State (6-6)
Nevada (6-6) at Louisiana Tech
Hawaii (6-5) vs. Washington State

C-USA (6)
Memphis (5-6) vs. Tulane
Southern Miss (5-6) vs. SMU
UTEP (5-6) at East Carolina

SUN BELT (1)
Middle Tennessee (5-6) at Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana-Lafayette (5-6) vs. Middle Tennessee
Arkansas State (5-5) at North Texas
Florida Atlantic (5-6) vs. FIU
Florida International (4-6) at FAU

INDEPENDENTS (2 with provisions)
Notre Dame (6-5) at USC

MAC (3)
Northern Illinois (6-6)
Western Michigan (9-3)
Akron (5-6) at Temple
Bowling Green (5-6) at Toledo