There are how many bowl games?

And how many teams with winning records?

If you’re looking it up, then yeah, you’ll see the numbers aren’t exactly adding up for there to be enough bowl teams to fill the 40 bowls that are out there.

Through Week 11, we have only 58 bowl-eligible teams for 80 spots. There are 20 teams with five losses (in other words, a win away from bowl eligibility). That means if every single 5-win team won this week, there still wouldn’t be enough bowl eligible teams to fill all the slots after this week. The mad dash will continue to Week 13.

Can we say, “Too many bowls?”

So what happens if (or when) we don’t get to 80 bowl-eligible teams? Which 5-7 teams get to go bowling will then be decided in descending order by which ones have the best APR scores. The current selection order among teams that might finish 5-7 is Duke, Northwestern and Vanderbilt (full list below).

So win the quiz bowl, play in a football bowl.

Or something like that.

Which gives hope to a school like Vanderbilt, which would be almost an APR lock if it can find that one more win. Or even Missouri, which if it can find a way to sweep its final two games has a chance because of its high APR.

So who’s in, who’s out and who’s smart enough to maybe get a chance to play? Check it out below as we look at who’s in and who’s out in each conference, followed by what egg head schools are most likely to get in at 5-7.

American Athletic

Qualified (7): South Florida (8-2), Navy (7-2), Houston (8-2), Temple (7-3), Central Florida (6-4), Tulsa (7-3), Memphis (6-4).

Still hoping (2): SMU (5-5), Cincinnati (4-6).

Outlook: The AAC might give us no more than the seven teams as neither SMU (with games against 8-2 South Florida and 7-2 Navy) nor Cincinnati (games against 6-4 Memphis and 7-3 Tulsa) have favorable remaining schedules.


Teams in (9): Louisville (9-1), Clemson (9-1), Florida State (7-3), Virginia Tech (7-3), North Carolina (7-3), Wake Forest (6-4), Miami (6-4), Pitt (6-4), Georgia Tech (6-4).

Teams with a chance (4): North Carolina State (5-5), Syracuse (4-6), Boston College (4-6), Duke (4-6).

Outlook: N.C. State has a huge home game with Miami this weekend. Lose that and it will have to beat North Carolina on a day the Tar Heels may be playing for a division title. Syracuse (Florida State and Pitt), and Duke (at Pitt and at Miami) are both highly unlikely to get to 6-6 with their schedules, but one more win could get Duke in because it has the highest APR score among FBS schools and would be the first selection. Syracuse isn’t too far behind. Boston College (UConn and Wake Forest) could potentially sweep its final two.

Big 12

Teams in (4): West Virginia (8-1), Oklahoma (8-2), Oklahoma State (8-2), Baylor (6-3).

Teams with a chance (4):  Kansas State (5-4), TCU (5-4), Texas (5-5), Texas Tech (4-6).

Outlook: Unlike leagues with division title games, the Big 12 bubble teams mostly have three games to go. Kansas State and Texas both have lowly Kansas ahead so they should both go bowling. TCU has no easy games (Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State), and Texas Tech (Iowa State and Baylor) might be playing a home game against the Bears to get bowl eligible.

Big Ten

Teams in (7):  Michigan (9-1), Ohio State (9-1), Penn State (8-2), Wisconsin (8-2), Nebraska (8-2), Minnesota (7-3), Iowa (6-4).

Teams with a chance (3): Indiana (5-5), Maryland (5-5), Northwestern (5-5).

Outlook: There’s a good chance at 10 teams here as all three bubble teams close with games they should win. Indiana should be able to get in with a win in its finale over lowly Purdue. Maryland closes with Rutgers and should win there. Northwestern closes at home against Illinois and should be a solid favorite. Even if the Wildcats don’t get another win, their lofty APR will likely land them in a bowl. They’re No. 2 behind Duke.

Conference USA

Teams in (4): Western Kentucky (8-3), Louisiana Tech (8-3), Old Dominion (7-3), Middle Tennessee (6-4).

Teams with a chance (4): Texas-San Antonio (5-5), Southern Miss (5-5), North Texas (4-6), Charlotte (4-6).

Outlook: Texas-San Antonio gets Charlotte at home to close the season. If Charlotte beats Middle Tennessee this week, that should be for a bowl spot (UTSA will likely lose to Texas A&M). Southern Miss has hit a second-half slide, but the Golden Eagles could get in with a win over North Texas this week. If UNT wins, the Eagles would have a good chance to go bowling, needing a win at UTEP.


Teams in (1): BYU (6-4).

Teams with a chance (2): Army (5-5), Notre Dame (4-6).

Outlook: If you are betting on any bubble team to get in, bet on Army, which should get to win No. 6 with a win over Morgan State, a 2-7 FCS team, this week. Don’t count on Notre Dame, which closes against two ranked teams, No. 14 Virginia Tech and No. 20 USC. Notre Dame’s APR is relatively low, too.


Teams in (4): Western Michigan (10-0), Toledo (8-2), Ohio (7-3), Eastern Michigan (6-4).

Teams with a chance (4):  Central Michigan (5-5), Miami (5-6), Akron (5-6), Ball State (4-6).

Outlook: Central Michigan has a fighting chance with tough, but winnable games against Ohio and Eastern Michigan to close the season. Miami closes with Ball State and will be trying for a sixth consecutive win after an 0-6 start. Ball State would have to beat 8-2 Toledo to make that a game for bowl eligibility. Akron needs to beat Ohio — and snap a three-game losing streak — to get eligible.

Mountain West

Teams in (5): Boise State (9-1), San Diego State (9-1), Wyoming (7-3), New Mexico (7-3), Air Force (7-3).

Teams with a chance (2): Colorado State (5-5), UNLV (4-6).

Outlook: If Colorado State is to go bowling, the Rams will earn it with games with New Mexico and San Diego State left on the slate. UNLV needs to upset Boise State to have a chance.


Teams in (6): Washington (9-1), Washington State (8-2), Colorado (8-2), Utah (8-2), USC (7-3), Stanford (7-3).

Teams with a chance (3): Arizona State (5-5), Cal (4-6), UCLA (4-6).

Outlook: Cal and UCLA would need huge rivalry upsets over Stanford and USC, respectively, to set up a finale against each other for a bowl spot. Arizona State has a tough challenge this week against Washington, but a manageable finale against 3-7 arch-rival Arizona.


Teams in (8): Alabama (10-0), Florida (7-2), Tennessee (7-3), Auburn (7-3), Texas A&M (7-3), LSU (6-3), Georgia (6-4), Arkansas (6-4).

Teams with a chance (5): Kentucky (5-5), South Carolina (5-5), Ole Miss (5-5), Vanderbilt (4-6), Mississippi State (4-6).

Outlook: Count Kentucky and South Carolina in as both have games against bad FCS teams (UK has 0-10 Austin Peay and South Carolina has 2-8 Western Carolina) on Saturday. Ole Miss and Vanderbilt play each other this week. If Vandy wins there, it will also need to beat Tennessee. But one win might get it done for the Commodores, whose APR score trails only Duke and Northwestern among possible 5-7 teams. Mississippi State must beat Arkansas at home to play Ole Miss for a bowl spot in the Egg Bowl.

Sun Belt

Teams in (3): Troy (8-1), Appalachian State (7-3), Idaho (6-4)

Teams with a chance (5): Arkansas State (5-4), Louisiana-Lafayette (4-5), South Alabama (4-5), Georgia Southern (4-6), Louisiana-Monroe (4-6).

Outlook: Like the Big 12, the Sun Belt has no title games, so there are teams with games left. Arkansas State has last-place Texas State in the finale if it can’t find a win against Troy and UL-Lafayette before that. South Alabama replaced LSU with Presybterian this week, which should help. Win that, and they should find a sixth win between Idaho and 2-7 New Mexico State. ULL and UL-Monroe play each other in a finale that could be for a bowl spot. ULM would have to upset Appalachian State first. ULL also has Georgia this week. Georgia Southern should handle Georgia State, but would close with a tough game against Troy.

Ranking the APRs

If there aren’t 80 teams with six wins, then the remaining bowl spots will be picked from the 5-7 teams with the best APRs. Those teams will get their pick of the remaining bowl spots with the highest score picking first.

That’s looking more and more likely with only 58 teams currently bowl-eligible and with the path for 22 more teams to get to six wins looking unlikely:

Of teams not yet bowl eligible, but still potentially able to get to  5-7, these are the teams with the best APRs:

  1. Duke (4-6) 995
  2. Northwestern (5-5) 992
  3. Vanderbilt (4-6) 990
  4. Army (5-5) 989
  5. North Texas (4-6) 984
  6. Illinois (3-7) 982
  7. Indiana (5-5) 979
  8. Michigan State (3-7) 978
  9. Missouri (3-7) 978
  10. Maryland (5-5) 977
  11. Kansas State (5-4) 975
  12. Notre Dame (4-6) 975
  13. Syracuse (4-6) 973
  14. UTEP (3-7) 973
  15. UCLA (4-6) 972
  16. South Carolina (5-5) 972
  17. Mississippi State (4-6) 971
  18. Hawaii (4-7) 971
  19. Texas (5-5) 971
  20. Marshall (3-7) 970