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New NCAA APR rankings show which 2017 football teams have bowl-eligibility cushions

The NCAA’s chosen metric for academic progress also factors into bowl season.

Northwestern v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

What happens to bowl season if there aren’t enough college football teams with six wins or more? Since 2015, the NCAA’s allowed bowls to dip into teams with 5-7 records, with the leaders in APR getting first dibs.

What’s APR? That’s Academic Progress Rate, the NCAA’s attempt to measure how well a program has done at advancing its athletes toward graduation over a rolling period of four years at a time. New scores are now out for every sport.

It’s essentially a pass/fail grade, with schools at the lower end being penalized and others proceeding as normal. Plenty of people have critiqued elements of the system, including its tendency to more harshly punish schools with resource disadvantages. This year, Division I’s two football programs to incur penalties are Savannah State, which is dropping down to Division II, and Alabama State.

Here’s the full list:

2015-2016 NCAA football APR scores

2017 level School Multi-Year Rate Penalty
2017 level School Multi-Year Rate Penalty
FCS Dartmouth College 998
FBS Northwestern University 995
FBS U.S. Air Force Academy 995
FCS University of Pennsylvania 994
FCS Elon University 993
FBS University of Michigan 993
FCS College of the Holy Cross 992
FBS Duke University 992
FBS University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 992
FBS Vanderbilt University 992
FCS Georgetown University 991
FBS U.S. Naval Academy 991
FCS University of Dayton 990
FBS University of Wisconsin-Madison 990
FCS Yale University 990
FCS Columbia University-Barnard College 989
FCS Brown University 988
FCS Cornell University 988
FBS University of Louisville 988
FCS University of New Hampshire 988
FCS Princeton University 987
FCS University of Richmond 987
FCS Villanova University 987
FBS Stanford University 985
FCS Butler University 984
FCS Drake University 984
FCS Lafayette College 984
FBS Rice University 984
FBS University of Central Florida 984
FBS University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 984
FBS University of Maryland, College Park 984
FBS University of Washington 984
FBS Georgia Institute of Technology 983
FBS Middle Tennessee State University 983
FBS University of Utah 983
FCS Bucknell University 982
FCS Davidson College 982
FBS Indiana University, Bloomington 982
FBS U.S. Military Academy 982
FCS Bryant University 981
FCS University of California, Davis 981
FBS University of Toledo 981
FCS Wofford College 981
FBS Auburn University 980
FBS Clemson University 980
FCS College of William & Mary 980
FCS Fordham University 980
FBS University of Alabama 980
FBS University of Florida 980
FBS University of Texas at El Paso 980
FBS Boise State University 979
FBS Coastal Carolina University 979
FCS Harvard University 979
FBS University of North Texas 979
FBS Boston College 978
FCS Houston Baptist University 978
FBS Kent State University 978
FCS Murray State University 978
FBS University of California, Berkeley 978
FCS University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 978
FBS University of Texas at Austin 978
FBS University at Buffalo, the State University of New York 977
FBS University of Nebraska, Lincoln 977
FBS Miami University (Ohio) 976
FBS Northern Illinois University 976
FCS Samford University 976
FBS University of Cincinnati 976
FBS Wake Forest University 976
FCS Colgate University 975
FBS Kansas State University 975
FBS The Ohio State University 975
FBS University of Connecticut 975
FBS University of Pittsburgh 975
FBS Central Michigan University 974
FBS Michigan State University 974
FBS Mississippi State University 974
FBS Ohio University 974
FBS University of Missouri, Columbia 974
FBS University of Oregon 974
FBS Baylor University 973
FCS Lehigh University 973
FBS Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick 973
FCS Mercer University 972
FCS Stony Brook University 972
FBS Temple University 972
FBS University of Tennessee, Knoxville 972
FBS Arizona State University 971
FCS Furman University 971
FCS Jackson State University 971
FBS Purdue University 971
FBS University of California, Los Angeles 971
FBS University of Iowa 971
FBS University of Mississippi 971
FBS University of South Carolina, Columbia 970
FBS Utah State University 970
FCS Illinois State University 969
FBS Iowa State University 969
FBS Pennsylvania State University 969
FBS University of Nevada, Reno 969
FBS University of Notre Dame 969
FBS Marshall University 968
FBS Syracuse University 968
FBS University of Colorado, Boulder 968
FBS University of Hawaii, Manoa 968
FBS University of Southern California 968
FBS University of Virginia 968
FCS Valparaiso University 968
FCS Marist College 967
FCS Towson University 967
FBS Tulane University 967
FCS University of Rhode Island 967
FBS Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 967
FBS Colorado State University 966
FCS Missouri State University 966
FCS Sacred Heart University 966
FBS University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 966
FCS University of Maine, Orono 966
FBS Arkansas State University 965
FCS Idaho State University 965
FCS Jacksonville State University 965
FCS Tennessee Technological University 965
FBS University of Memphis 965
FBS University of Miami (Florida) 965
FBS University of Oklahoma 965
FBS University of South Florida 965
FBS University of Texas at San Antonio 965
FCS Eastern Kentucky University 964
FCS North Dakota State University 964
FCS The Citadel 964
FCS University of San Diego 964
FBS University of Wyoming 964
FBS Washington State University 964
FBS University of Louisiana at Monroe 963
FCS University of Northern Iowa 963
FCS University of South Dakota 963
FCS University of Tennessee at Martin 963
FCS Montana State University-Bozeman 962
FBS Texas A&M University, College Station 962
FCS California Polytechnic State University 961
FCS East Tennessee State University 961
FCS Presbyterian College 961
FCS South Carolina State University 961
FBS University of Georgia 961
FCS Gardner-Webb University 960
FCS North Carolina A&T State University 960
FCS Western Carolina University 960
FBS Louisiana State University 959
FCS Southeast Missouri State University 959
FCS University at Albany 959
FBS University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 959
FBS Appalachian State University 958
FBS San Jose State University 958
FCS Texas Southern University 958
FBS University of Kentucky 958
FBS University of New Mexico 958
FBS Western Michigan University 958
FBS North Carolina State University 957
FCS Northwestern State University 957
FCS South Dakota State University 957
FCS Stetson University 957
FBS The University of Southern Mississippi 957
FCS University of Delaware 957
FCS James Madison University 956
FCS McNeese State University 956
FBS Oregon State University 956
FCS Stephen F. Austin State University 956
FBS The University of North Carolina at Charlotte 956
FCS Wagner College 956
FBS Ball State University 955
FCS Campbell University 955
FCS Eastern Washington University 955
FCS Hampton University 955
FCS Jacksonville University 955
FBS Old Dominion University 955
FBS San Diego State University 955
FBS Texas Christian University 955
FBS Troy University 955
FBS University of Arizona 955
FBS Western Kentucky University 955
FBS University of Louisiana at Lafayette 954
FCS University of Montana 954
FBS Oklahoma State University 953
FCS University of Central Arkansas 953
FCS Duquesne University 952
FCS Norfolk State University 952
FCS Portland State University 952
FBS University of South Alabama 952
FCS Virginia Military Institute 952
FCS Western Illinois University 952
FBS Brigham Young University 951
FBS Southern Methodist University 951
FBS New Mexico State University 950
FCS Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 950
FBS Florida Atlantic University 949
FCS Indiana State University 948
FCS Austin Peay State University 947
FBS East Carolina University 947
FBS Eastern Michigan University 947
FBS Texas Tech University 947
FBS University of Akron 947
FCS University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff 947
FBS Bowling Green State University 946
FCS Charleston Southern University 945
FBS Georgia State University 945
FCS Liberty University 945
FCS Monmouth University 945
FCS Southern Utah University 945
FBS California State University, Fresno 944
FCS California State University, Sacramento 944
FCS Central Connecticut State University 944
FCS Prairie View A&M University 944
FCS University of Northern Colorado 944
FCS Weber State University 944
FCS Delaware State University 943
FBS University of Kansas 943
FBS University of Nevada, Las Vegas 943
FCS Alcorn State University 942
FBS The University of Tulsa 942
FBS University of Houston 942
FCS Morehead State University 940
FCS Northern Arizona University 940
FCS Saint Francis University (Pennsylvania) 940
FBS Texas State University 940
FCS University of North Dakota 940
FBS West Virginia University 940
FBS Florida State University 939
FCS Kennesaw State University 939
FCS Robert Morris University 939
FBS University of Massachusetts, Amherst 939
FCS University of the Incarnate Word 939
FBS Louisiana Tech University 937
FCS Nicholls State University 937
FBS Florida International University 936
FCS Mississippi Valley State University 936
FCS Youngstown State University 936
FCS Tennessee State University 934
FBS Georgia Southern University 933
FCS Lamar University 933
FCS Bethune-Cookman University 932
FCS Sam Houston State University 932
FCS Southeastern Louisiana University 932
FCS Alabama State University 931
FCS Eastern Illinois University 931
FCS Grambling State University 930
FCS North Carolina Central University 930
FCS Abilene Christian University 929
FCS Howard University 928
FBS University of Idaho 927
FCS Florida A&M University 918
FCS Savannah State University 896 Postseason-ineligible
FCS Alabama A&M University 869 Practice reduction
FCS Southern University, Baton Rouge 860
FCS Morgan State University 853

Based on that, the first 5-7 teams to be in line for bowl bids would be:

  1. Northwestern
  2. Air Force
  3. Michigan
  4. Duke
  5. Minnesota

But, of course, all of them hope to not need that lifeline anyway.

In 2015, the first year of this new rule, all three 5-7 bowl teams won their bowls, and last year, Mississippi State won while North Texas fell to a bizarre 5-8 record.