MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Despite their conference championship game being canceled, Coastal Carolina still has room for one more historic moment to cap off their 2020 season.
This year’s team will be the first batch of Chanticleers to make it to a bowl game since the program gained bowl eligibility in the FBS two years ago. The biggest unknown now is just where and when the team will be playing when they make that history.
The answer to that is actually a bit complicated.
Here’s a breakdown of what could happen come Sunday when final bowl announcements are made.
Coastal’s bowl destination really depends on the result of the American Athletic Conference’s championship game Saturday night. Why?
Unbeaten Cincinnatti is No. 9 in the latest College Football Playoff committee’s rankings, which help determine the games known as the New Year’s Six. These include four games, plus the two national semifinals, which are the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
The CFP’s guidelines state that the highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of Five (smaller conferences which include the AAC and Sun Belt), earns an automatic bid to one of these games.
As of now, Cincinnatti is the highest-ranked team from the G5, but Coastal isn’t far behind at No. 12. The Bearcats also face a ranked team in the AAC title game in No. 23 Tulsa, who’s only lost one game so far this season.
The result is made all the more important given the news reported Friday afternoon that the CFP committee will recognize Coastal as champions of the Sun Belt for bowl placement purposes.
So let’s say the Golden Hurricane pull off the upset. In that case, Coastal Carolina would most likely end up as the top-ranked G5 conference champion and get the automatic bid to a NY6 game.
Since the Orange Bowl is locked to conference tie-ins with the ACC, SEC and Big Ten, the possibilities for Coastal include the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl; all three of which have no conference tie-ins.
As far as specific predictions go, it’s unfortunately hard to tell. While the favorable geographical matchup for the Chants is a date at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, there’s no real precedent as far as where G5 teams are selected.
This is where things get bleak for the Chants’ NY6 chances. While they could technically still be in play for as an at-large bid, the odds are pretty low that the committee would go along with placing them in a major bowl game.
The more likely outcome is that Coastal would be slotted into one of the remaining bowl games with a direct Sun Belt tie-in. These include the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama on Christmas Day or the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 26.