Georgia Tech officially was removed from bowl contention Saturday after the Yellow Jackets lost to Georgia and its route as a five-win team was blocked later in the day.
Tech could have earned a bowl berth the conventional way by upsetting No. 7 Georgia for its sixth win, but lost 38-7. With the school’s attempts to find a 12th game for next week exhausted after an extensive effort, as confirmed by school spokesman Mike Flynn, that left only the possibility of getting into a bowl as a five-win team in the event of a shortage of bowl-eligible teams.
However, there won’t be any room for Tech as a five-win team. Five-win teams have a chance for a bowl slot only if there aren’t enough bowl-eligible teams, and all 78 bowl slots became filled by Saturday evening.
Going into the weekend, there were 70 bowl-eligible teams. Four more of the spots were assured to be filled because there were four games between teams with five wins. Then, five-win teams Buffalo and Texas Tech took two more of the spots with wins Friday, increasing the number of bowl-eligible teams to 76.
On Saturday, two more five-win teams – Duke and Temple – filled the 78-team slate with wins.
Tech had the possibility of applying to the NCAA for a waiver on the grounds that it was 5-6 and couldn’t find a 12th game. The Jackets’ Sept. 16 game against Central Florida was canceled because of Hurricane Irma, and the school made efforts to find a replacement game, but was unable.
However, the waiver would have been considered only if there were a shortage of bowl-eligible teams, according to Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters. In that case, a waiver would have placed Tech ahead of 5-7 teams in the NCAA’s order of teams to be selected in case of a shortage. (For instance, teams that are 6-6 with two wins over FCS teams and teams that finish 6-7 are considered ahead of 5-7 teams.)
Tech will miss bowl play for the second time in three seasons after going to 18 consecutive bowls before that.
“I don’t think there’s any uncertainty about a bowl game,” coach Paul Johnson said. “The message to the team was, just disappointed. And we’ve got to do better. I’ve got to help them more and we’ve got to play better. Bottom line.”