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It’s official: No bowl game for Troy

Bobby

Mathews, The

Messenger

The bowl picture cleared up over the weekend, and while traditional powers like LSU and Ohio State got the good news of playing for the BCS title, there was no joy for the men of Troy.

The 8-4 Trojans are on the outstide looking in, sitting home after a 38-32 loss to Florida Atlantic for first place in the Sun Belt.

While the Trojans officially share the Sun Belt title with the Owls, FAU was offered the conference’s only sure bowl bid: a trip to the New Orleans Bowl Dec. 21.

The Owls will face Memphis in the bowl game.

The Trojans were considered the strongest team in the Sun Belt conference. Prior to Saturday’s game, Troy had been beating Sun Belt foes by an average of more than 17 points per game.

Even down 38-19 in the fourth quarter, Troy rallied, coming back with a chance to win the conference title outright until an Omar Haugabook pass fell incomplete to the turf on fourth-and-eight with 25 seconds left.

More galling for the Trojans might be that a 6-6 Oklahoma State team is headed to the Insight Bowl. The Cowboys were handled easily by the Trojans, 41-23, in front of a national television audience. Now Oklahoma State plays Indiana in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ, on Dec. 31.

Even the University of Alabama, losers of its last four games in a row, is heading to a bowl game. The Crimson Tide will face Colorado in the Independence Bowl Dec. 30. The is Alabama’s second straight 6-6 regular season and second straight appearance in the Independence Bowl.

With an identical 8-4 record to the Trojans, Auburn accepted a bid to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, Dec. 31 to play Clemson.

But it’s been an odd college football season. Witness Missouri, formerly ranked No. 1 by the BCS and all but assured of a BCS bowl bid with one game remaining. The Tigers are 11-2 after falling for a second time to Oklahoma, and are now headed for the Cotton Bowl.

Then there are teams like Oklahoma, 11-2 and Big 12 champions, but unable to contend for a national title. Instead, the Sooners will play West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.

So convoluted was the bowl process this season that a 10-2 Georgia team had a shot at playing for the national title without winning its conference – or even its division in the Southeastern Conference.