The chances of a 5-7 team in a bowl are high

There will be some surprises in the final week of the college football season when there aren’t 5-7 teams in bowl games.

After Ball State came back to beat Miami, Ohio 18-17 to secure a berth in the Bahamas Bowl, 74 teams are qualified for bowl games. And since Rice and Appalachian State must both win to qualify for a bowl game, the number of bowl-eligible teams will be no fewer than 75. The Mountaineers are favored by 4.5 points in this matchup and need a seventh win for bowl eligibility because they have two wins against FCS teams so far this season.

But here’s the rub. There are 41 bowl games outside of the national title game this year. That means seven teams with five wins must win the final weekend of the season lest 5-7 teams head out to a bowl game. And a lot of those five-win teams are underdogs.

Only four of the remaining teams who need a win in Week 13 are favored. Here’s a look at the lines, courtesy of BetMGM.


  • Southern 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 their game against Akron was postponed.

Underdogs with a point

Major outsiders

  • Rice (+14) in North Texas

  • Vanderbilt (+14.5) vs. Tennessee

  • UTEP (+17) at UTSA

  • Michigan State (+18) at Penn State

hoping for a miracle

Which of these underdogs do you trust the most? All three one-goal underdogs are at home so they could well win and it wouldn’t be a big surprise. But would you expect it? A $50 combo on all favorites and underdogs with a point win would pay out over $2,000. The odds are not good that all seven of these teams will win outright.

Because of this, it’s likely that there will be at least 5-7 teams in a bowl game this year. And this is where the academics come in. Under 0,500 teams will be selected for bowl games based on their academic progress rate. That means Rice (994) goes first if it finishes 5-7 because it has the highest APR of any potential 5-7 team.

We will avoid picking multiple teams for bowl games based on their APR in our penultimate bowl predictions and try to be optimistic. We’ll dive into APRs 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 nonconference game between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Missouri Tigers The hunt will be 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 at home to Arkansas on Friday. Can the Tigers win to get six wins and qualify for the Bowl? (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New Year’s Six Bowl Games

Orange Bowl (Dec. 30)

Clemson vs. Alabama

Sugar Bowl (Dec. 31)

State of Kansas vs. LSU

Peach Bowl (Dec 31) [CFP semifinal]

Georgia vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl (Dec 31) [CFP semifinal]

Ohio State vs. TCU

Cotton Bowl (January 2)

Tennessee vs. UCF

Rose Bowl (January 2nd)

Michigan versus Oregon

Other bowl games

Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 16)

Rice vs. Miami (Ohio)

Cure Bowl (Dec 16)

Liberty vs. South Alabama

Fenway Bowl (Dec. 17)

Syracuse versus Cincinnati

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 17)

Air Force against North Texas

LA Bowl (Dec. 17)

Boise State vs. Washington State

LendingTree Bowl (Dec 17)

Toledo vs. Appalachian State

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 17)

Utah vs. Mississippi State

Frisco Bowl (Dec. 17)

State of Middle Tennessee vs. SMU

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Dec. 19)

UTSA vs. Coastal Carolina

Potato Bowl (Dec 20)

State of San Diego vs. Bowling Green

Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 20)

Florida Atlantic vs. East Carolina

New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 21)

Western Kentucky vs. Southern Miss

Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 22)

Houston vs. Miami

Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23)

Maryland vs. Georgia Southern

Independence Bowl (Dec. 23)

BYU vs. UConn

Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24)

San Jose State vs. UAB

Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26)

State of Utah vs Buffalo

First Responder Bowl (Dec. 27)

Memphis versus Kansas

Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27)

Fresno State vs. Louisiana

Camellia Bowl (Dec. 27)

Ohio vs Troy

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Dec 27)

Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Military Bowl (Dec. 28)

Duke versus Tulane

Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28)

Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28)

Wake Forest vs. Washington

Texas Bowl (Dec. 28)

Texas Tech vs. Arkansas

Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 29)

NC State vs Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (Dec. 29)

North Carolina vs. Baylor

Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29)

Texas vs. UCLA

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Dec. 30)

Louisville versus Wisconsin

Sun Bowl (Dec. 30)

Oregon State vs. Pitt

Gator Bowl (Dec. 30)

State of Florida vs. Kentucky

Arizona Bowl (Dec. 30)

Wyoming vs. Eastern Michigan

Music City Bowl (Dec. 31)

Iowa vs Florida

ReliaQuest Bowl (January 2)

Notre Dame vs. Illinois

Citrus Peel (January 2nd)

Penn State vs. Ole Miss


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