Provided I did the math correctly, there are currently 65 bowl eligible teams. That means we need 15 more, but where will they come from? Let’s list out every team on the cusp.
I’ll just go in order of the ESPN standings page.
- Southern Methodist (5-6): The Mustangs have to play at Navy this Saturday, the odds of them getting to 6-6 are pretty slim.
- North Carolina State (5-6): They play North Carolina on Friday, which isn’t impossible for the Wolfpack, but again, I’m not feeling good about it.
- Texas Christian (5-5): TCU still has two games to play, against Texas and Kansas State. I think I’ll win one but not the other, with my money on Texas.
- Texas (5-6): Since I have TCU beating Texas, well, that pretty much knocks the Longhorns out. Shouldn’t have lost to Kansas!
- Indiana (5-6): If only all of the above teams could get to play Purdue with bowl eligibility on the line! I like the Hoosiers chances.
- Maryland (5-6): See above, but replace “Purdue” with “Rutgers”.
- Northwestern (5-6): See above, but replace “Rutgers” with “Illinois”.
- Texas-San Antonio (5-6): The Roadrunners appear to be pretty evenly matched with Charlotte, so it could be kind of a tossup. I’m giving UTSA the edge, though.
- North Texas (5-6): So the Mean Green wrap up with UTEP, which is two wins worse in C-USA than North Texas but not that obviously worse. I’m still giving them a slight edge.
- Southern Mississippi (5-6): The Golden Eagles will play Louisiana Tech on Friday, and I just can’t favor USM over LaTech.
- Army (6-5): Army played two FCS teams this year, so one of the wins doesn’t count toward bowl eligibility, so if they lose to Navy (as predicted) in a few weeks then their record for bowl eligibility will actually be 5-6. That said, they’d almost certainly get picked as a 6-6 team, if they want to.
- Arizona State (5-6): The Sun Devils will play their arch-rivals Friday night, but they should prevail.
- Vanderbilt (5-6): The Commodores will end their season against Tennessee, but as one of the schools in the APR Top 5 they’ll almost certainly get a bid at 5-7.
- Mississippi (5-6): I suspect Ole Miss are slight favorites in the Egg Bowl, and I imagine they’d get in at 5-7, but still, it’d make everything a lot easier if they win like they’re supposed to.
- South Alabama (5-5): USA only needs to win one of their two remaining games against Idaho and New Mexico State, which, well, they should be able to win one of those.
So, yeah, that’s exactly 15 teams, and the odds of all of them winning over the next two weeks are probably somewhere near zero. I have 9 of them as legitimate favorites, so that would still leave us, and everyone, short 6 teams. I supposed it’s entirely possible all of these teams get bids, but so far I haven’t done a lot of research for the potential 5-7 teams (other than Army and Vanderbilt).
In this week’s edition, I also started doing Internet research to try to figure out what teams are favored to go where, but with so much uncertainty it’s difficult right now. Next week should be a little more fruitful.