A couple weeks ago, the ever problematic issue of "too many bowls" reared it's ugly head when there were only 41 bowl eligible for 80 potential spots.
The NCAA resolved this back in 2012, that the top five 5-7 teams with the highest APR scores would be eligible. Today the NCAA confirmed that they will utilize the APR rankings to award open bowl slots to 5-7 teams, and almost immediately after, Missouri announced that they will decline any invite so they can focus on finding Gary Pinkel's replacement.
So the question remains, who is eligible?
Utah State did their job last week, and Indiana, Virginia Tech and Washington all became bowl eligible today. This leaves Nebraska, Kansas State, Missouri, San Jose State and Minnesota as the top 5-7 teams as ranked by APR (sorry Vanderbilt).
So you root for one of those teams I just mentioned - why do you care what these Group of Five teams do next weekend? Because math, that's why.
Right now there are 75 teams who are bowl-eligible (by the traditional six-win metric) for 80 slots, and Georgia State, South Alabama and Kansas State are the only teams left who can reach 6-6 with a win next weekend.
This means that at least two 5-7 teams will go bowling, so Nebraska is good to go, and Kansas State is going bowling whether they win or not. But let's work through the scenarios:
1) Kansas State, Georgia State and South Alabama all win
This is the unlikeliest of scenarios, as none of these teams will be favored next weekend and South Alabama and Georgia State will be heavy underdogs. In this case, you'll have two fewer 6-6 teams than bowl slots, and your top two 5-7 teams are Nebraska and Minnesota. Congratulations, you guys.
2) Kansas State wins, and so does either Georgia State or South Alabama
This one is no guarantee, because as I said both Sun Belt teams are probably going to be heavy dogs, but this is Georgia State's rivalry game and all kinds of crazy crap has happened in the Sun Belt this year (see: Georgia State is 5-6). Kansas State will only be a slight underdog at that, so this scenario certainly could happen. This one would mean there are four fewer 6-6 teams than bowl slots, and your top four 5-7 teams are Nebraska, Minnesota, San Jose State, and either Illinois or Rice.
3) Kansas State loses and the two Sun Belt teams both win
This is so ridiculously unlikely. But it would mean three fewer 6-6 teams than bowl slots and your top three in APR would be Nebraska, Kansas State and Minnesota.
4) Only either Georgia State or South Alabama wins
Same as above, but this places us at four fewer 6-6 teams than bowl slots and brings San Jose State onto the APR list at number four.
5) None of these three teams win
Sure, this could happen. Kansas State has been erratic this season, Georgia State is going to be a huge underdog regardless of whatever else they've done this season, and South Alabama is both of those things. This one means five fewer 6-6 teams than bowl slots, and your top five 5-7 teams are Nebraska, Kansas State, Minnesota, San Jose State, and either Illinois or Rice.
To look at it another way...
Nebraska and Kansas State need: nothing They are going bowling
Minnesota needs: probably nothing. as Missouri's announcement means they are now either second or tied for third depending on K-State's win, but are likely viewed as a more appealing option than San Jose State.
San Jose State needs: scenario number four or five.
Illinois and Rice need: both Sun Belt teams to lose, and for their APR compatriot to decline a bowl bid.
Moral of the story: if you're a fan for one of these 5-7 teams, you should REALLY become a one-week, bandwagon fan of Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. You'll be glad you tuned in.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has bee modified to reflect today's news about APR selection and Missouri's intent to decline.