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