Ark. State in the Top 25? What’s Got to Happen

Jeff Reed Author Page
A year ago, the Arkansas State Red Wolves were poised to make history – its first Top 25 ranking on the top level, and the first such ranking by a Sun Belt Conference team.

But all of that late-season momentum was lost when the coaching staff was gutted and created a mismatch in the Bowl against Northern Illinois.

A year later, and involved in another bowl game, the Red Wolves are not in the same position they were a year ago to make the Top 25, but it can be done. They just have to play a serious game of leap frog and get a whole lot of help.

The team’s wish list is very long.

Of course, the first domino, well actually the last considering when the game is played on Jan .6, that has to fall is closing the season with a victory in the GoDaddy game with Kent State.

The Red Wolves could leave a favorable impression on poll voters since they are facing a Top 25  foe on the night when the GoDaddy Bowl is the only college game. The final rankings will be released two days later.

Beating a ranked team always catches attention, and since the game is the next to last of the season it will not get lost in the cluster of other games that had been played in the previous days. And winning that game is a must.

There are 10 teams ahead of the Red Wolves on the waiting list to slide into the Top 25. Also, the bottom four teams in the poll, all play games where they could easily, easily  lose. So there is an opportunity for a lot of upward mobility.

With that, here is the not-so-simple way for ASU to get into the top 25. Here’s the road map, and yes it looks about like one Clark Griswold drafted for use for the trip to Wally World in the Family Truckster.

1.  Defeat Kent State. If this does not happen, then nothing happens.
2.  BYU needs to defeat San Diego State. Well, that fell into place Thursday night when the Cougars defeated San Diego State 23-6 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
3.  Christmas Eve: SMU needs to upset Fresno State in the bowl game in Hawaii.
4.  Dec. 27: No. 17 UCLA defeats Baylor in the Holiday Bowl; Duke bounces Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl; Bowling Green defeats No. 24 San Jose State in the Military Bowl.
5.  Dec. 29: No. 15 Oregon State defeats Texas in the Alamo Bowl (giving all of Arkansas a reason to cheer against Bryan Harsin’s former employer)Michigan State tops TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
6.  New Year’s Eve: North Carolina State outsmarts Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl.
7.  New Year’s Day:  Georgia destroys No. 23 Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl; Stanford pummels Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl; Purdue boils Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas.
8.  Jan. 2Florida chomps on Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.
9.  Jan. 5ASU defeats Kent State in the Bowl.

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