The days of 5-7 football teams making bowl games could be over, at least for one year. On Wednesday, the NCAA Division 1 rules committee passed a mandate that all bowl games must be filled with teams that finished 6-6 ahead of any team that is 5-7 making a game.
It hadn’t been an issue until last year, when a record 40 bowl games were on the docket. With just 77 teams compiling 6-6 records and 80 slots available, it created the nightmare of losing teams actually making bowl games.
All three of them (Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State) ended up winning their games too.
However, all of that appears to be changing this season, as conference affiliations will go away when bowl slots are up for grabs and the conferences don’t have enough 6-6 or better teams to fill their slots.
Instead, the new rule mandates that bowl games must fill all slots with teams sitting at 6-6 before any 5-7 team can compete in a bowl game.
“It’s impossible to project how many eligible bowl teams we will have,” Big 12 conference commissioner and chair of the football oversight committee Bob Bowlsby said in a statement released by the NCAA. “We think we have a selection process in the postseason that makes sense and is fair to the schools and the bowls.”
Much like last season, should there be spots to fill with 5-7 teams, the multi-year APR score will be the determining factor and the team with the highest single-year APR from the the most recent season will win any tie-breaker between teams.
“I think the general feeling was the train had left the station and the expectation was 6-6 was where we’d be,” he told ESPN.com. “The practical aspect was, we didn’t think we could get there.”
The there to which Bowlsby was referring? Actually mandating that only teams with winning regular season (7-5) records could make a bowl game appearance.
Getting to .500 was likely the best the committee could do, especially considering there are 40 bowl games to be played.
As for the bowl games themselves, there is currently a moratorium on adding new ones until at least 2020. Given the lack of 6-6 teams on any given season, perhaps the madness of over half of FBS teams making a bowl game will end when they see the struggle to fill bowl games with winning teams become an annual thing.