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If 2016's bowl season doesn't have enough 6-win teams, these NCAA APR scores could settle it

Duke and a bunch of Big Ten teams improved their chances of going bowling in 2016, thanks to an NCAA number that tries to measure academic progress by players.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Last year, FBS didn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its many, many bowl slots, so the NCAA slapped together a rule that would allow the 5-7 teams with the highest Academic Progress Rate scores to go.

It turned out fine,* as the exempted Minnesota, Nebraska and San Jose State all ended up winning their bowls, and even the absolute worst bowls are still pretty good.

In June, the NCAA confirmed this will be the process again for 2016, but added that all 6-6 teams must be picked before any 5-7 teams.

The NCAA released APR scores for all sports in April, but here are just the latest football numbers. While APR is a highly imperfect metric, at least we now know what the end of the bowl pecking order will likely look like. (There are no new bowls this year, but there's no reason to think we'll be able to hit the gaudy total of 80 six-win teams any more easily.)

If this year's bowl season needs to grab names from the five-win bin, like last year's did, then Duke's got an excellent chance of going bowling, followed by Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin among FBS teams. Vanderbilt, Army and Michigan are next.

* If we were to strictly enforce a Winning Teams Only rule for bowl eligibility, here's what last year would've looked like.