In a roundabout way, Hurricane Matthew may wind up sending South Alabama to a bowl game.
As we know, the Jaguars were scheduled to pay a visit to LSU yesterday before the tropical storm forced the hasty rescheduling of LSU’s game with Florida for that date. South Alabama played Presbyterian instead, who itself was slated to play Florida before the storm.
South Alabama beat Presbyterian in the make-good game on Saturday, 31-7. The win pushed the Jags to 5-5 on the year, seemingly just one win shy of reaching the magic number of six victories with two opportunities to get there.
NCAA rules allow FBS teams to count only one victory over an FCS opponent toward bowl eligibility, and South Alabama already defeated Nicholls State on Sept. 24. Under normal circumstances, that would require USA sweep its final two games — at Idaho, vs. New Mexico State — to reach a bowl game.
However, South Alabama announced Sunday it has received an NCAA waiver to count both the Nicholls State win and Saturday’s Presbyterian victory toward their magic number:
University of South Alabama Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann announced Sunday that the National Collegiate Athletic Association, on the recommendation of the Football Oversight Committee, has approved the school’s request for a waiver to potentially include a second win over an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision opponent toward postseason bowl eligibility.
Considering South Alabama most likely would not have beaten LSU, Hurricane Matthew’s effects may have been a blessing in disguise as the program strives for its second bowl appearance.