Tennessee cannot count on APR score for a bowl bid with only 5 wins
If Tennessee wants to go to a bowl it needs to at least go .500 in the regular season. The Vols should not rely on receiving a bowl bid based on their APR (academic progress rate) if they only earn five wins.
In 2015 Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State were 5-7 and went to bowls since there were not enough teams with at least six wins to fill bowl slots.
Last season, Mississippi State and North Texas made bowls after finishing with 5-7 regular-season records and Hawaii played in the postseason with a 6-7 mark.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports talked to Saturday Down South about Tennessee’s path to a bowl game with five regular season games remaining.
Palm said that the Vols (3-4) need at least three more wins to guarantee a bowl bid without counting on their APR score to reach the postseason.
The Poinsettia Bowl no longer exists. Palm said having one fewer bowl “helps in terms of having enough bowl eligible teams” — in other words, there is less of a chance that a team with a losing records will appear in a bowl.
Tennessee’s APR number is 972 (tied for 52nd nationally) and Palm said that is “not bad but it would be overly optimistic to say that might be good enough when you look at other teams that could finish 5-7 this year.”
With Tennessee trailing so many schools in APR score — meaning they would be selected for a bowl game before the Vols would should Tennessee have five wins — Palm said, “if I’m a Tennessee fan, being 5-7 and counting on the APR in making a bowl game is something I would not be counting on.
“Tennessee’s APR number will not be a strong enough number to get them into a bowl game with five wins,” Palm continued. “It is not likely to be good enough to be bowl eligible at 5-7.”
Palm currently has Tennessee finishing 6-6 and making the Birmingham Bowl.
“With my current bowl projections, I am not using any potential 5-7 teams. I have exactly 78 teams bowl eligible with at least six wins.
“Right now I would say it’s a better than 50/50 shot 5-7 teams will make a bowl game. Probably a 75-80 percent shot of at least one team making it with less than six wins.”
The Vols play Saturday at Kentucky, followed by a homecoming game Nov. 4 against Southern Miss. The final road game at Missouri follows, then home games versus LSU and Vanderbilt conclude the regular season.
“I think Tennessee can win three games on their remaining schedule and I have them beating Southern Miss, Missouri and Vanderbilt.”
ESPN has Tennessee taking on Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl and Palm says the potential in-state matchup “would be fun to get Memphis and Tennessee in the Birmingham Bowl” but he sees the Vols taking on UCF.
“I think the American Conference would push for the best possible opponent to play in the Birmingham Bowl and that is why I have UCF playing in it. UCF would be a one-loss team and has already beaten Memphis.”