Gophers could still be eligible for bowl berth
Losses by Kentucky, Minnesota, Illinois and others on Saturday meant there will not be enough six-win teams with .500 records to fill a record 40 bowls.
At least two teams with a 5-7 record will be in the postseason, and maybe as many as five.
"I didn’t love 6-6 teams being allowed to go to a bowl let alone 5-7," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.
"I’d prefer less bowls and at a minimum a 6-6 record to get in."
Indiana and Virginia Tech did get their sixth victories of the season Saturday, upping the total number of bowl-eligible teams to 75.
South Alabama, Kansas State and Georgia State could still get to six next week. But that’s it.
The NCAA football oversight committee has been asked to help set guidelines to help match bowls with losing teams. Big 12 Commissioner and committee chairman Bob Bowlsby said the committee would weigh in this week if necessary.
The NCAA has a safety net plan for putting 5-7 teams in bowls if they rank among the top five in Academic Progress Report scores. The committee could extend that plan and use the APR to prioritize teams.
Some of this could work itself out if the committee allows conferences the ability to work with bowl partners.
The Big Ten won’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all its bowl agreements, so it is possible teams such as Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois will be made available to the conference’s second-tier and lower-tier games. But whether those 5-7 Big Ten teams get priority from Big Ten bowl games over bowl-eligible teams from other conferences is also something the oversight committee will have to address.
Some games might prefer 5-7 Nebraska over bowl-eligible teams from outside the Power Five conferences.
The Big 12 will also be short of teams to fill all its agreements, so Kansas State could go bowling regardless of whether it beats West Virginia to become bowl eligible next week.
Wright Waters, executive director of the Football Bowl Association, has said the bowls that are forced to take losing teams would prefer those teams be within a reasonably short trip of the games.