Liberty Bowl in Big East mix

Every Big East fan is familiar with the league tie-ins for bowl season. But a new game is in the mix this year: the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

Because of a unique, and somewhat convoluted bowl contract, the SEC could very well be the reason why the Big East sends a team to Memphis. Here is why: The SEC only has nine bowl eligible teams this year. With LSU and Alabama most likely headed to the BCS national championship game, the SEC would be unable to fulfill all its bowl obligations.

That means the SEC would only have one team available for the Liberty and BBVA Compass Bowls. So the Liberty would get the available SEC team, paired up against a team from the Big East instead of Conference USA. The Liberty Bowl is Dec. 31 in Memphis.

Should the Big East only get six bowl eligible teams, either the BBVA Compass or Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl would lose its Big East tie-in.

So what are the possibilities for the Liberty Bowl?

If West Virginia wins the BCS berth, look for Louisville as the favorite to go to Memphis. The game is the closest in proximity to Louisville, and coach Charlie Strong has ties to the SEC. In that case, the Belk Bowl would choose between Rutgers and Cincinnati.

If Louisville wins the BCS berth, West Virginia is a virtual lock for the Belk Bowl. That means Rutgers would most likely go to the Pinstripe Bowl and Cincinnati to the Liberty Bowl.

If Cincinnati wins the BCS berth, West Virginia is a virtual lock for the Belk Bowl, and Louisville a virtual lock for the Liberty Bowl.

Keep in mind the Big East bowl situation is so uncertain, none of the bowl decisions will be made until after the games Saturday.