College football bowl projections: The chances of a 5-7 team in a bowl are high


In the final week of the college football season, there must be some frustration if there aren’t 5-7 teams in bowl games.

After Miami, Ohio returned to beat Ball State 18-17 to secure a spot in the Bahamas Bowl, there are 74 bowl-eligible teams. And with Rice and Appalachian State having to win to be eligible for the bowl game, the number of teams eligible for the bowl will be at least 75. The Mountaineers win by 4.5 points in this match and they need a seventh win to qualify for the cup because they have two wins over FCS teams this season.

But here’s the catch. This year there are 41 bowl games in addition to the national title game. This means that seven teams with five wins must win on the last weekend of the season so that none of the 5-7 teams go to the bowl game. And many of those teams with five wins are underdogs.

Only four of the remaining teams that need a win in Week 13 gain an advantage. Here’s a look at the lines courtesy of BetMGM.


  • Southern Miss (-3) in Louisiana-Monroe

  • Buffalo* (-4) vs. Kent State

  • Louisiana (-5.5) in Texas

  • UAB (-17.5) at Louisiana Tech

*Buffalo 5-5 after his game against Akron was postponed.

Losers with one score

  • Missouri (+3) vs. Arkansas

  • Miami (+6.5) vs. Pitt

  • Florida Atlantic (+7) vs Western Kentucky

Significant outsiders

  • Rice (+14) in North Texas

  • Vanderbilt (+14.5) vs. Tennessee

  • UTEP (+17) to UTSA

  • Michigan State (+18) in Pennsylvania

Hoping for a miracle

  • Auburn (+21.5) in Alabama

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (+35.5) in Georgia

Which of these losers do you have the most confidence in? All three one-point underdogs are at home, so they could very well win and it won’t be a big surprise. But would you expect it to happen? A $50 bet on all favorites and one-point losers will net you over $2,000. The chances of all seven of these teams winning outright are slim.

That’s why this year there will most likely be at least one 5-7 team in the bowl game. This is where academics come into play. Teams under 0.500 are selected for bowl games based on their academic progress. This means Rice (994) will be first in line if she finishes 5-7 because she has the highest APR of any potential 5-7 team.

We’re going to avoid selecting multiple teams to play games based on their annual percentage rate in our penultimate set of bowl predictions and will try to be optimistic. We’ll delve into APRs in a week if need be. I hope no. But most likely we will.

COLOMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback
Missouri is 3 points behind Arkansas at home on Friday. Will the Tigers be able to win six victories and qualify for the cup? (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New Year’s games “Six bowls”

Orange Bowl (December 30)

Clemson vs. Alabama

Sugar bowl (December 31)

Kansas State vs. LSU

Peach Bowl (December 31) [CFP semifinal]

Georgia vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl (December 31) [CFP semifinal]

Ohio State vs. TCU

Cotton bowl (January 2)

Tennessee vs. UCF

Rose Bowl (January 2)

Michigan vs. Oregon

Other bowl games

Bahamas Bowl (December 16)

Rice vs. Miami (Ohio)

Cure Bowl (December 16)

Liberty vs. South Alabama

Fenway Bowl (December 17)

Syracuse vs. Cincinnati

New Mexico Bowl (December 17)

Air Force vs. North Texas

L.A. Bowl (December 17)

Boise State v. Washington State

LendingTree Bowl (December 17)

Toledo vs. Appalachian State

Las Vegas Bowl (December 17)

Utah vs. Mississippi State

Frisco Bowl (December 17)

Middle Tennessee State vs. SMU

Myrtle Beach Bowl (December 19)

UTSA vs Coastal Carolina

Potato Bowl (December 20)

San Diego State vs. Bowling Green

Boca Raton Bowl (December 20)

Florida Atlantic vs. East Carolina

New Orleans Bowl (December 21)

Western Kentucky vs Southern Miss

Bowl of the Armed Forces (December 22)

Houston vs Miami

Chalice of Gasparilla (December 23)

Maryland v. South Georgia

Chalice of Independence (December 23)

BYU vs. UConn

Hawaiian Bowl (December 24)

San Jose State vs. UAB

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26)

Utah State vs Buffalo

First Responder Bowl (December 27)

Memphis vs. Kansas

Birmingham Bowl (December 27)

Fresno State vs. Louisiana

Camellia Bowl (December 27)

Ohio vs. Troy

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (December 27)

Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

War Bowl (December 28)

Duke vs. Tulane

Liberty Cup (December 28)

Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

Festive Bowl (December 28)

Wake Forest vs. Washington

Texas Bowl (December 28)

Texas Tech University v. Arkansas

Pinstripe Bowl (December 29)

State of North Carolina vs. Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (December 29)

North Carolina vs. Baylor

Alamo Bowl (December 29)

Texas vs UCLA

Duke’s Bowl of Mayonnaise (December 30)

Louisville vs. Wisconsin

Sun Bowl (December 30)

Oregon State vs. Pitt

Gator Bowl (December 30)

State of Florida vs. Kentucky

Arizona Bowl (December 30)

Wyoming vs. Eastern Michigan

Music City Bowl (December 31)

Iowa vs. Florida

ReliaQuest Bowl (January 2)

Notre Dame vs. Illinois

Citrus Bowl (January 2)

Penn State vs. Ole Miss