Bowl eligibility expected, no longer exceptional at Vanderbilt

The expectation is clear.

The destination is to be determined.

Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-4 in the SEC) intends to win enough games every year to qualify for a postseason bowl. That is now the case three years running after the Commodores got the needed sixth victory Saturday against Kentucky.

It will be a few weeks before they know where they’re headed, though, because they still have two games remaining in the regular season, the first of which is Saturday at Tennessee (6 p.m., ESPN2).

“I’m actually really excited that we got to that threshold because now we can just focus on beating our next opponent,” quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels said. “Our coaches keep us so in the moment and they do such a great job of that. I’m just really excited to be out there will the team, all of us come together and get a win together.”

Vanderbilt is one of nine SEC schools that already are bowl eligible. Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi State have to win out to join that group. Kentucky and Arkansas have no chance.

“It’s an expectation now,” cornerback Andre Hal said. “You want to win. You want to go to bowl games. That’s our expectation now.”

The conference champion qualifies for either the BCS championship game or the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

After that the conference has agreements to send teams to the following nine bowls:

Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla.) vs. Big Ten/ACC
Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla.) vs. Big Ten
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.) vs. ACC/Big Ten Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs. ACC/Big Ten
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. Big 12
Texas Bowl (Houston, Texas) vs. Big 12
Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. ACC
Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.) vs. TBA
Advocare V100 Bowl (Shreveport, La.) vs. ACC

Who plays where is determined by the following method:

Following the Capital One Bowl, there will be a pool of six bowls comprised of renewals with the Outback Bowl in Tampa (vs. Big Ten), Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville (vs. ACC/Big Ten), Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (vs. ACC/Big Ten) and AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis (vs. Big 12), as well as new agreements with the Texas Bowl in Houston (vs. Big 12) and Belk Bowl in Charlotte (vs. ACC).

In consultation with SEC member institutions, as well as these six bowls, the conference will make the assignments for the bowl games in this newly created pool system.

The Birmingham Bowl will have the first selection of available teams following the pool of six bowls. The Advocare V100 Bowl will have the next selection of available teams following the Birmingham Bowl.