What 5-7 B1G teams need to earn bowl bid
By now, you know what we’ve been saying for weeks.
There are 5-7 teams that will go bowling. It’s officially happening. In fact, at least two 5-7 teams will get postseason bowl bids. As many as five 5-7 teams could land spots.
And of course, there was no official contingency plan put in place by the NCAA as to what was going to happen in that scenario. Considering the fact that only three teams in the last 20 years earned bowl berths, this is unchartered territory. But with the 80 teams needed, this weekend will present a new scenario for 5-7 B1G teams.
There are currently 17 teams that could finish with five wins. Three of the current five-win teams play on Saturday. Kansas State (5-6) hosts West Virginia, Georgia State (5-6) visits Georgia Southern; and South Alabama (5-6) hosts Appalachian State. A loss means that they’ll join the 5-win mess, but a win and they would automatically have a spot in the picture. For what it’s worth, all three of those teams are underdogs this weekend.
So what does that mean for the B1G?
Well, to understand that, take a look at how each 5-win school stacks up in the academic progress rate (APR) based on 2013-14 data. If the NCAA decides the bowls must use that for its selection metric, that favors B1G teams.
985 — Nebraska (5-7)
976 — Missouri (5-7)
976 — Kansas State (5-6)
975 — Minnesota (5-7)
975 — San Jose State (5-7)
973 — Illinois (5-7)
973 — Rice (5-7)
Nebraska will likely be given a bowl bid no matter what. Atop the APR standings and with a fanbase that travels as well as any in the country, it’d be a surprise to see one of college football’s traditional powers passed over. There’s also a possibility that if Texas were to knock off Baylor on Saturday, it would be an attractive five-win team to a bowl committee, as well.
A Big 12 rematch would surely have plenty of entertainment value.
If I ran a crap bowl and was allowed to take teams with losing records I might go with Nebraska-Texas for the comedy.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) November 27, 2015
If Kansas State were to lose on Saturday, that would hurt the chances for Minnesota and Illinois, which would be at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively in APR. Those two teams — if they actually do want to go to a bowl — should also be rooting against Georgia State and Southern Alabama, both of whom would lock up bids with six wins, but would be behind Illinois and Minnesota with five. And just in case, rooting against Texas would be wise, too.
The other interesting scenario would be if Missouri or Nebraska were to turn down a bowl bid. Would Illinois or Minnesota be in favorable position? As schools with two of the highest APRs and with Power Five fanbases, they would make a lot of sense.
And then there’s the geographical element, which could likely be factored into the equation. Would a Power Five team like Minnesota or Illinois automatically have the leg up on a non-Power Five school like San Jose State in a California-located bowl?
That remains to be seen.
Ultimately, the bowls will likely have to take everything into account because the goal is still to sell tickets. As always, the almighty dollar will have the final say in the NCAA’s odd set of circumstances.