Rich Rodriguez and his Jacksonville State Gamecocks just earned their sixth win of the season on Tuesday night. That means the former West Virginia head coach is going bowling again, right? Not so fast.
Even though reaching six wins is the benchmark for teams to become eligible to play in bowl games at the FBS level, Jacksonville State will have to rely on a loophole to have a postseason no matter what their record ends up being.
Despite the transition going well so far and a walk-off game winning field goal beating Western Kentucky 20-17, the rules penalize programs as they move up from FCS. There’s only one way schools are able to be invited to a bowl game during their first season as part of FBS. If the minimum amount of six-win teams is not met come the first Sunday of December, Jacksonville State will then be an option for a remaining bowl that needs a team.
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— Jax State Football (@JaxStateFB) October 18, 2023
As expected, there are plenty of people, including prominent members of college football media, who are voicing their displeasure in a rule they believe to be outdated. However, the rule is not changing in the middle of a season.
But regardless when Jacksonville State’s season ends, Rodriguez could reach a personal milestone of his own. After finishing with 9 wins last year, granted that was still in the FCS, a 10-win season would be Rodriguez’s first as a coach anywhere since 2014 with Arizona. It would also be the sixth time he’s won 10 or more games in a season and the fifth such in the FBS.
Even though the rules will only allow a program like Jacksonville State to play in a bowl game during their first year in FBS if the minimum number of 6-win teams is not met, Rich Rodriguez could be on track to reach a personal milestone nonetheless. A 10-win season would be his…
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) October 18, 2023
When Rodriguez was hired to guide Jacksonville State into this new FBS era in 2021, it was his first time being a head coach since his departure from Arizona in 2017. After the Wildcats, Rodriguez spent a season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss and then held the same role at Louisiana-Monroe the following season.
Rodriguez, a West Virginia native, currently holds a 173-121-2 overall coaching record. He obviously experience most of his success while leading the Mountaineers from 2001-2007. At WVU, Rodriguez won four Big East titles, was named conference Coach of the Year twice. He added a third Coach of the Year honor in the Pac-12 in 2014 with Arizona.
Last November, WVSN’s Mike Asti asked WVU legend Rasheed Marshall if he would ever want Rich Rodriguez to return as head coach of the Mountaineers during an episode of their past “All Three Phases” podcast.
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