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NCAA releases bowl requirements for 2020 (Hint: There are none)

Now that almost everyone is either playing or on their way back to playing, the next question presents itself. What the heck are we doing to do about this postseason?

A normal year requires an FBS team to be 6-6 or better or, failing enough eligible teams, a 5-7 record with a high APR score. This is anything but a normal year.

And so the NCAA's Football Oversight Committee announced Thursday there will be no eligibility requirements to play in a bowl game this winter. From the release:

To be eligible for a postseason bowl, a team must meet the criteria to be considered a deserving team, which is generally defined as having a .500 overall record against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. The Football Oversight Committee’s recommendation would eliminate that requirement for the 2020-21 season.

This is the right move, of course. Aside from the logistical impossibility of setting some sort of standard in a year where games are week-to-week and even day-to-day propositions, who are we to say a 3-2 team is more deserving than a 3-4 team?

And even wading into those weeds misses the point. In 2020, the NCAA should be in the business of providing as many competitive opportunities as possible.

“Providing a more flexible framework for the postseason in this unprecedented time will provide some certainty moving forward,” said Shane Lyons, director of athletics at West Virginia and chair of the oversight committee. “These are important postseason opportunities for our student-athletes, and this will help everyone to prepare.”

Most interesting in Thursday's news is the schedule. The NCAA gave bowls the green light to stage their games as early as Dec. 1.

For the 2020-21 bowl season only, postseason games could be played Dec. 1, 2020-Jan. 11, 2021.

This makes sense. Many (most?) colleges are ending their in-person instructions at Thanksgiving break, so it's easy to see why the NCAA would give bowls the option to host their games, then let teams get home for the winter.

With conference championship games pushed back to Dec. 19, it's likely we'll see bowl games take place concurrently with conference title games.

One more bit of news: the NCAA granted the MEAC's request for an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. That conference typically sends its champions to the Celebration Bowl opposite the SWAC championship, but instead it will compete for the national title this spring. That move (coupled with the smaller bracket) will leave only five at-large bids available for non-champions, down from the normal number of 14.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

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