Every team with six wins in 2021 will reportedly get to go to a bowl game.
The NCAA confirmed Thursday that plans are in the works for a 42nd bowl game to accommodate Hawaii and a team that would get left out of the original bowl lineup. There are currently 83 teams at 6-6 or better for 82 bowl spots and Hawaii has a record of 6-7.
Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West Conference made the request to provide flexibility in the system and use two previously approved spots to create a one-time contest. To provide this opportunity, a waiver of the April 1 bowl certification application deadline was required. The conferences plan to partner with ESPN Events to develop a game consistent with other postseason bowl experiences.
"We are always looking for opportunities for student-athletes to participate, and we felt this was one that fit within the construct," said Sandy Barbour, chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee and director of athletics at Penn State.
Per a report from the Action Network, the bowl would be played in Texas.
The replacement bowl comes after the Redbox Bowl was canceled in September. That game typically pitted teams from the Pac-12 and the Big Ten. So while it is a little weird that an extra bowl game is being created out of thin air after the regular season, that bowl game is more like a replacement than an addition.
Since Hawaii was under .500, common wisdom left them out of a bowl game. But it's eligible since it met the six-win threshold. Hawaii is allowed to play 13 games in a season because of a rule that allows teams to schedule a 13th game if they travel to Hawaii for a game. Hawaii has played 13 regular-season games in each of the last three non-COVID-19 impacted seasons.
In addition to Hawaii, the MAC also had two 6-6 teams (Miami and Ball State) among its eight bowl-eligible teams and independent Liberty finished the season 7-5 without a direct bowl tie-in. It reasoned that one of those three teams would be the team left out during Sunday's bowl selection process as the bowls went down the pecking order.
But that won't happen now. And we all have one more football game to watch.