Bowl eligibility doesn’t mean much to teams with preseason expectations of national championships, but it does to programs who deem postseason appearances as a tangible result of a successful campaign.

According to the first offshore projected win totals for 2015, there are five teams in the SEC in danger of missing out on a bowl game this fall — Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi State.

On the outside looking in, we’ve projected that 12 of the league’s 14 squads will hit the necessary six-win mark to reach postseason eligibility, leaving the Wildcats and Commodores falling short.

Looking at this a little deeper based on scheduling and what needs to happen for each respective ‘fringe’ team down the stretch in game they’re favored in, here’s how it breaks down:

Bowl probability for fringe SEC teams

  • Mississippi State (Vegas win projection, 7): 65 percent chance at reaching bowl
  • South Carolina (Vegas win projection, 7): 60 percent chance at reaching bowl
  • Florida (Vegas win projection, 7): 50 percent chance at reaching bowl
  • Kentucky (Vegas win projection, 5): 40 percent chance at reaching bowl
  • Vanderbilt (Vegas win projection, 3): 5 percent chance at reaching bowl

If Mississippi State sweeps the non-conference slate and wins the only league game we projected the Bulldogs to be favored in (Kentucky), it would still need another win to reach six. That could come in one of three swing-games against either LSU, Ole Miss or Mizzou (road).

Considering South Carolina’s strength at home in recent years and the Gamecocks’ expected much-improved defense, Steve Spurrier’s team should take care of business against Vanderbilt and Kentucky at Williams-Brice Stadium as well as The Citadel and UCF. That’s four wins. The season opener in Charlotte against North Carolina is crucial in getting to the magic number of six. Prevail in that one and South Carolina’s odds increase substantially. The Florida, Clemson and LSU home games could go either way, but we’d put the Gamecocks as underdogs in their other four SEC road contests — Georgia, Tennessee, Mizzou and Texas A&M.

Florida’s schedule is considerably more manageable than Mississippi State’s slate, but the Gators aren’t as strong from a personnel standpoint — which could lead to a .500 or worse season. It’s a safe bet Florida wins at least three non-conference games (Florida State being the toughest for a shot at 4-0), beats Vanderbilt and splits league road contests at Kentucky and South Carolina. That’s five wins with an upset needed.

Kentucky’s first five games — all winnable — prior to the Wildcats’ only bye week are essential as far as bowl hopes are concerned, but if last season’s any indication, a second-half collapse would prove fatal. A Thursday night home showdown against Auburn begins a second-half gauntlet that will include at least four games as double-digit underdogs for Kentucky. Five wins seems like the total for this year’s club based on a loaded second-half slate, but a strong start could be enough to push this to six.

Can you find six possible wins on the Commodores’ schedule this season? We’re struggling. If Vanderbilt can start the season 3-2 heading into its bye week on Oct. 10, maybe that will be the confidence boost this team needs to surprise all during the meat of the SEC schedule. An 0-2 start with losses to Western Kentucky and Georgia drops the bowl probability to less than 1 percent considering the rest of the slate.