The chance of a 5-7 team in a bowl is high

It will take some setbacks in the final week of the college football season when there won’t be 5-7 teams in bowl games.

After Ball State returned to beat Miami (Ohio) 18-17 to secure a spot in the Bahamas Bowl, 74 teams are eligible for bowl games. And since Rice and Appalachian State both must win to qualify for a bowl game, the number of bowl-eligible teams will not be less than 75. The Mountaineers are favored by 4.5 points in that matchup and are seventh win needed to qualify as they have two wins against FCS teams so far this season.

But here’s the catch. Outside of the national title game, there are 41 bowl games this year. That means seven teams with five wins have to win the last weekend of the season in order not to let 5-7 teams go to a bowl game. And many of those five-win teams are underdogs.

Only four of the remaining teams needing a win in Week 13 will be favored. Here’s a look at the rules, courtesy of BetMGM.


  • Confederate Miss (-3) in Louisiana-Monroe

  • Buffalo* (-4) vs. Kent State

  • Louisiana (-5.5) in the state of Texas

  • UAB (-17.5) at Louisiana Tech

*Buffalo is 5-5 after game against Akron is postponed.

Underdogs with one score

Significant underdogs

  • Rice (+14) in North Texas

  • Vanderbilt (+14.5) vs. Tennessee

  • UTEP (+17) at UTSA

  • Michigan State (+18) and Penn State

Hoping for a miracle

Which of those underdogs do you have the most confidence in? All three one-score underdogs are at home, so they could potentially win and it wouldn’t really come as a surprise. But would you count on that happening? A $50 parlay on all favorites and underdogs with one score to win would net over $2,000. The odds are slim that all seven of those teams will win outright.

Therefore, it is likely that there will be at least 5-7 teams in a bowl game this year. And this is where academics come in. Sub-.500 teams are selected for bowl games based on their academic progression rate. That means Rice (994) is first in line if it finishes 5-7, as it has the highest APR of any potential 5-7 team.

We’re going to avoid selecting multiple teams to bowl games based on their APR in our penultimate set of bowl projections and try to be optimistic. We’ll dip into the APR rates in a week if we have to. Hopefully not. But we probably will.

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 19: Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) runs for a first down while being chased by New Mexico State Aggies linebacker Trevor Brohard (80) during a non-conference game between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Missouri Tigers held on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia MO.  (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Missouri is a 3-point underdog to home Arkansas on Friday. Can the Tigers win to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl? (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New Year’s Six bowl games

Orange Bowl (December 30)

Clemson vs. Alabama

Sugar bowl (December 31)

State of Kansas vs LSU

Peach Bowl (December 31) [CFP semifinal]

Georgia vs USC

Fiesta Bowl (December 31) [CFP semifinal]

State of Ohio 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 vs. 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. Carolina Coast

Potato Bowl (December 20)

State of San Diego vs. Bowling Green

Boca Raton Bowl (December 20)

Florida Atlantic vs. East Carolina

New Orleans Bowl (December 21)

Western Kentucky vs. Southern Miss

Armed Forces Bowl (December 22)

Houston vs. Miami

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23)

Maryland vs South Georgia

Independence Bowl (December 23)

BYU vs. UConn

Hawaii Bowl (December 24)

State of San Jose vs. UAB

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26)

State of Utah vs. Buffalo

First Responder Bowl (December 27)

Memphis vs. Kansas

Birmingham Bowl (December 27)

State of Fresno vs. Louisiana

Camellia Bowl (December 27)

Ohio vs Troy

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (December 27)

Purdue vs Oklahoma State

Military Scale (December 28)

Duke vs. Tulane

Liberty Bowl (December 28)

Oklahoma vs South Carolina

Party Bowl (December 28)

Wake Forest vs. Washington

Texas Bowl (December 28)

Texas Tech vs Arkansas

Pinstripe Bowl (December 29)

NC state vs Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (December 29)

North Carolina v. Baylor

Alamo Bowl (December 29)

Texas vs. UCLA

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (December 30)

Louisville vs. Wisconsin

Sun Bowl (December 30)

State of Oregon 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 v Ole Miss

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