Academics, not athletics could help Eagles go bowling..

(An outsiders musings from The Heights, aka Boston College)

Boston College won an Atlantic Coast Conference football game for the first time in almost two years last week by knocking off North Carolina State.

The victory upped the Eagles' record to 4-4, with four regular season games remaining: Louisville on Saturday, at Florida State, UConn and at Wake Forest.

NCAA rules require a minimum of six wins to become bowl eligible. But some people at The Heights think that the Eagles can squeeze into a post season slot with only 5 victories.

And, while the Eagles have been a flop in athletics in the revenue producing sports in recent years, the Eagles' strong academic credentials could be what gets them into post season play.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Here's why, and here's how.

With 40 post season bowl games, there might not be enough eligible teams to fill all the bowl slots. The NCAA has passed an exception rule, allowing teams with 5-7 records to play in a post season game if there aren't enough teams with 6-6 or better records to fill all the slots, based on the rankings in the APR--Academic Progress Rate. But that rule doesn't kick in until ALL teams from ALL conferences with 6-6 or better records is slotted into a bowl.

The ACC has an arrangement with as many as 12 bowls. It may have only 9 teams that are bowl eligible, which includes a projection that Notre Dame also does not qualify. The Irish are 3-5, with games remaining against Army, Navy, Virginia Tech and USC.

The good news for BC is that the Eagles are ranked third among ACC schools in APR ratings, behind Duke and Georgia Tech. If both of those schools finished at 5-7, they would get a bowl nod over the Eagles.

Georgia Tech already has five wins this season, but has remaining games at North Carolina, at Virginia Tech, home against Virginia and at Georgia. Of that group, only a win against Virginia seems probable.

Duke has some work to do. The Blue Devils are 3-5 and face Virginia Tech, and North Carolina at home and finish with road games at Pitt and Miami.

Overall, only 54 schools have at least 5 wins right now, which means there is likely to be a shortage of eligible schools since many of those schools will play each other over the next month.

Which leaves the smallest crack for BC to wiggle through if the Eagles come up a game short of the six win total. And in a true bit of irony, what will aid BC the most is not what it does on the football field, but what it does in the class room.[/membership]