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When Irma passes, all of USF's goals will remain in play

Quarterback Quinton Flowers (center) and USF were scheduled to play Saturday at Connecticut before the game was called off due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Quarterback Quinton Flowers (center) and USF were scheduled to play Saturday at Connecticut before the game was called off due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.

7

September

Even as a Category 5 hurricane nudged closer to Florida on Thursday evening, some USF fans took to social media to vent some newfound concerns.

Not personal safety, flooding or roof stability, but how the likely cancellation of the Bulls' game at Connecticut affects USF's conference title odds.

We'll save such perspective for a Twitter rant down the road, but since many have asked how this affects the Bulls' long-term hopes, we'll address it.

First, it's not an outright cancellation -- yet. American Athletic Conference spokesman Chuck Sullivan said Thursday night the game is "unlikely to be rescheduled," but the league isn't ruling it out totally, being it's only Week 2.

There appears to be one conceivable -- if not realistic -- make-up option. Follow along.

UConn and East Carolina both share a Sept. 23 open date. Say they move their Nov. 4 game in East Hartford to Sept. 23. Now suppose USF and Houston move their Nov. 4 contest to Nov. 11, when both have an open date.

Voila, USF-UConn on Nov. 4. Again, considering all the moving parts and logistical shuffling involved, it's not really plausible, but possible.

Even if the contest can't be rescheduled, teams don't have to play eight conference games to be eligible for an AAC divisional title. As Sullivan reiterated Thursday, division champions are based on overall conference winning percentage. This link lays it all out.

And while a cancellation doesn't do USF any favors, it's not as if the AAC East is top-heavy this year. Moreover, the Bulls likely won't be the only East team limited to seven games (see UCF).

A worst-case scenario would be USF finishing 6-1 (.857) and someone else in the East going 7-1 (.875). In that case, the head-to-head matchup wouldn't matter; the 7-1 team wins the division because it had the better winning percentage.

But if the Bulls can get their offense on track, a 6-1 finish can happen, and how many other East teams do you see finishing with only one loss?

That takes us to the New Year's Six scenario.

Suppose USF wins the conference title by finishing 11-1, but another Group of Five conference champ goes 12-1. The New Year's Six bowl berth goes to the Group of Five conference champ ranked highest by the College Football Playoff committee. A committee, not a computer. Does it take the hurricane into account?

Who can say? That's way down the road.

And right now, other greater concerns are at our doorstep.

[Last modified: Friday, September 8, 2017 10:20am]

    

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