What Group of Five Teams Could Become Bowl Eligible – The Final Crunch

For a while, it was looking like the bowl spots for 2016 would be filled up. However, the last week wasn’t kind to the bubble. Only five teams became newly bowl-eligible and 12 teams were eliminated from primary bowl consideration.

-There are 80 bowl spots for the 128 FBS teams in 2016.
-64 teams are bowl eligible
-18 teams are one win away.
-2 teams are two wins away.
-44 teams are eliminated.

17 spots are left and there’s only 20 teams that could get to six bowl-counting wins. Time is running out and some teams need to get bowl eligible quickly. Let’s start.


BYU has reached six wins and thus will play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl against a team from the Mountain West.

Army is 6-5 overall, but their win against FCS Lafayette doesn’t count because they Leopards didn’t offer enough scholarships to be a bowl-counter. The only way to become bowl eligible is to #BeatNavy. However, if the Black Knights don’t sing second, they will still be ahead of all the 5-7 teams if there are less than 80 six-bowl-counting-win teams. So it looks like Jeff Monken’s side is looking good regardless.

The American Athletic

Bowl Tie-Ins: 8
Bowl Eligible Teams: (7) South Florida, Temple, Houston, Tulsa, Navy, Memphis and UCF
One Win Away: (1) SMU
Eliminated: (4) ECU, UConn, Tulane and Cincinnati

While Cincinnati looked anemic in a 34-7 loss to Memphis to fall off the bowl bubble, SMU looked decent in a 35-27 loss to USF. Still, it puts the Mustangs at 5-6 overall with one more game left versus Navy. The Midshipmen have already clinched a birth in the AAC Championship game and selected their bowl game, so SMU will have more to play for.

Games to Watch

-Saturday, November 26th – Navy at SMU, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Mountain West

Bowl Tie-Ins: 6
Bowl Eligible Teams: (6) Wyoming, Boise State, San Diego State, New Mexico, Air Force and Colorado State
One Win Away: (1) Hawai’i
Eliminated: (5) Utah State, San Jose State, Nevada, Fresno State and UNLV

Colorado State punched their bowl ticket with am emphatic 49-31 in the Hughes Stadium farewell versus New Mexico. UNLV fell off the bubble with a 42-25 loss at Boise State.

That leaves 5-7 Hawai’i, who can take advantage of the 13-game schedule rule named after them. A 14-13 last-second win on a blocked kick at Fresno State saved the Warriors’ chances and now face a 2-9 UMass team late, late Saturday night.

Games to Watch

-Saturday, November 26th – UMass at Hawai’i, 11:59 p.m. ET


Bowl Tie-Ins: 5
Bowl Eligible Teams: (5) Western Michigan, Ohio, Toledo, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan
One Win Away: (2) Miami and Akron 
Eliminated: (5) Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois and Ball State

With the bowl situation like it is, having seven bowl-eligible teams from the MAC could be a good thing.

Central Michigan got in with a 27-20 upset win over Ohio last week. Ball State fell off with a 37-19 loss at Toledo. That leaves this Tuesday to decide the MAC’s bowl-eligible teams.

Miami of Ohio will host Ball State and Akron travels to Ohio. Not only is bowl eligibility on the line, but the MAC East as well. Wins by the RedHawks and Zips will send Miami to the MAC Championship game over Ohio. However, a loss by either will send the Bobcats.

Games to Watch

-Tuesday, November 22nd – Akron at Ohio, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
-Tuesday, November 22nd – Ball State at Miami (OH), 7:30 p.m. ET (WatchESPN)

Conference USA

Bowl Tie-Ins: 5
Bowl Eligible Teams: (4) Western Kentucky, MTSU, Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion
One Win Away: (3) UTSA, Southern Miss and North Texas
Eliminated: (6) FAU, Rice, FIU, Marshall, UTEP, Charlotte

North Texas’ 29-23 win over Southern Miss last week might be a blessing in disguise for the conference. The league now teeters on the brink between four and seven bowl-eligible teams.

Charlotte put up a fight but fell 38-31 to MTSU to fall off the bubble. UTSA did so at Texas A&M but lost 23-10.

It comes down to three games for CUSA. Out of the three, only Southern Miss hosting Louisiana Tech looks like a loss. UTSA hosting Charlotte and North Texas going to UTEP look like wins.

A bright light for the Mean Green is that their APR will likely land them a bowl game even if they finish 5-7.

Games to Watch

-Friday, November 25th – Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss, 4:00 p.m. ET (ESPN News)
-Saturday November 26th – North Texas at UTEP, 4:00 p.m. ET
-Saturday, November 26th – Charlotte at UTSA, 7:00 p.m. ET

Sun Belt

Bowl Tie-Ins: 5
Bowl Eligible Teams: (4) Troy, Appalachian State, Idaho and Arkansas State
One Win Away: (0)
Two Wins Away: (2) UL-Lafayette and South Alabama
Eliminated: (5) New Mexico State, Georgia State, Texas State, Georgia Southern and UL-Monroe

This was looking tough for the Sun Belt, but the league got some good news on Sunday. South Alabama’s bowl waiver was approved, so the Jaguars can count their second FCS win, but only if the 80 bowl spots aren’t naturally filled up, just like Army. But that looks likely, so the Jags just need to go 1-1 down the stretch. Still, they can win two and disregard that entire caveat.

Georgia Southern and UL-Monroe fell off with losses last week, the Eagles in particular with a bad loss to Georgia State. With no championship game, that leaves two weeks left for the Sun Belt. UL-Lafayette and South Alabama both have tough ones this week.

Games to Watch

-Saturday, November 26th – Arkansas State at UL-Lafayette, Noon ET
-Saturday, November 26th – South Alabama at Idaho, 3:30 p.m. ET
-Saturday, December 3rd – New Mexico State at South Alabama, 1:00 p.m. ET
-Saturday, December 3rd – UL-Lafayette at UL-Monroe, 3:00 p.m. ET

What Potential 5-7 Teams Could Go Bowling

As mentioned at the top, with only 17 bowl spots left for 20 teams and the unlikeness of 85% of them winning out, APR will come into play to see who goes bowling in the leftover spots. Here’s a list of teams that could finish 5-7 in APR order.

Duke 995
Northwestern 992
Vanderbilt 990
North Texas 982
Boston College 981
Indiana 979
Maryland 977
Notre Dame 975
Syracuse 972
UCLA 972
Texas 971
Mississippi State 971
Northern Illinois 970
NC State 969
Cincinnati 969
Miami (OH) 969
Oregon 969
ULM 967
Arizona State 960
California 960
Ole Miss 958
Ball State 957
UTSA 956
Charlotte 955
Southern Miss 955
Louisiana 950
Nevada 949
Akron 947
South Alabama 947
SMU 945
FIU 942
Texas Tech 941
Georgia Southern 940
UNLV 936
TCU 935
New Mexico State 935

North Texas is the top G5 team, followed a long way down the line by Northern Illinois. Now some teams could decline a bowl game like what happened last season.

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