Although unsurprising, it’s official: Central Michigan will not be playing in a postseason bowl game.
The 6-6 Chippewas were one of two bowl-eligible Mid-American Conference schools not to receive a bowl invite Sunday afternoon, a team spokesman confirmed. Toledo, which finished the season 7-5 and handily beat CMU, 38-17, on Sept. 21 in Mount Pleasant, was also shut out.
CMU, which started the season 3-6 for a fourth consecutive year, became bowl eligible in the final week of the regular season after beating Western Michigan, Massachusetts and Eastern Michigan.
The Chippewas, who benefited last season from a BCS bowl bid for Northern Illinois and other outside factors, weren’t so lucky this time around. Bowling Green upset No. 14 Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game Friday night in Detroit, ending the Huskies’ hopes for another at-large BCS berth and any chance of CMU getting into a bowl game. A record 79 teams were eligible for 70 bowl spots this year.
Many projections last week had CMU and 7-5 Ohio out of the bowl picture, but there was some hope among head coach Dan Enos and CMU athletics director Dave Heeke that the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl would consider the Chippewas given their history of attracting crowds to Ford Field.
On Thursday, Heeke said the Pizza Bowl was “still on the board and a possibility” for CMU.
Enos followed it up minutes later, saying he was all for a return trip to Ford Field. “Let’s go,” he said on radio.
Instead, for the third time in four years under Enos, the Chips will sit at home and watch.
2013 MAC Bowl Schedule:
Buffalo vs. San Diego State, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Dec. 21
Ohio vs. East Carolina, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg, Dec. 23
Bowling Green vs. At-Large Selection To Be Determined, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26
Northern Illinois University vs. Utah State, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 26
Ball State vs. Arkansas State, GoDaddy Bowl, Jan. 5
Contact Aaron McMann: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AaronMcMann.