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In A Completely Strange Season, Old Dominion Is On The Verge Of A Bowl Berth

Terrible against good teams and barely scraping by versus bad teams, Old Dominion is somehow on the verge of earning bowl eligibility.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

How many programs can you name that have has lost every game versus a team with a winning records by double digits, but still have a realistic shot at a bowl berth?

The Old Dominion Monarchs are one of the rare programs to fit that criteria in the 2015 football season. Sitting at 5-5 with two games left in the season, they only need one win in those two games to earn bowl eligibility.

Remember, this is a team that has a -11.1 points per game margin and is being outscored by over 100 total points in the first half of games.

What stands in their way? A team that should beat them by 20 or more points (Southern Miss) and a team with a losing record (Florida Atlantic) that they should beat. The Monarchs wouldn't want it any other way.

The astounding difference between the wins and losses on the Old Dominion schedule are hard to comprehend. Just how big of a gap is the difference between those five losses? Let's take a look.

Old Dominion started their season with a trip to Eastern Michigan and a visit from Norfolk State. The won each of the those two games in somewhat impressive fashion. EMU and Norfolk State now sit at a combined 4-17 on the season. Wins over Charlotte, UTSA, and UTEP were versus a trio that sits at 8-22 on the season. The best win of the season for the Monarchs is a 31-21 home win over UTEP last Saturday.

Overall, the current record of opponents that Old Dominion has defeated is 12-39 with only UTEP still in contention for a bowl berth at 4-6. For a team to be only one win from bowl eligibility despite never needing to beat a team that is very good, Old Dominion may have ended up with the easiest route to bowl eligibility in FBS history.

The Monarchs have struggled quite a bit when facing teams with winning records. North Carolina State, Appalachian State, and Marshall filled out a middle portion of the season that saw the Monarchs have very little success.

Old Dominion lost those three games by an average of 38-7 in coming no closer than 20 points in any of the three games. Those three foes sit at a combined 23-8 on the season. In the other two losses, Old Dominion has lost to Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky. Those two losses were by a combined 96-42.

Overall, the combined record of the five teams that beat Old Dominion in 2015 is 36-16, with only Florida International on the verge of missing out on a bowl. Just consider that for a minute. Five losses for Old Dominion and they were never any closer than 20 points in any of them.

So, what does that mean moving forward?

With games versus Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic left on the schedule, expect Old Dominion to get absolutely crushed in one and find a way to win the other. Southern Miss is sitting at 7-3 on the season and is coming off of a 65-10 win over Rice. FAU is 2-8 and coming off of a disappointing 24-17 loss to MTSU.

If Old Dominion is somehow able to find a way to split the final two games of the season, a bowl berth is a very good possibility. Currently, nine CUSA teams are alive for seven open spots. With FIU and UTEP both expected to lose on Saturday, the door is open for Old Dominion to earn their first bowl berth in the oddest of seasons.