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Here are the new NCAA APR rankings, which you’ll probably only have to care about if your football team is bad

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

Northwestern v Michigan
This is the same photo I used last year, because Northwestern led FBS then, too
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 multi-year APR getting first dibs. Ties are broken by single-year APR.

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 — this year, Morgan State football, Alabama A&M basketball, and a few teams in non-revenue sports are postseason-banned because of it — 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.

Based on this year’s Division I football list (in full below), the first 5-7 FBS teams to be in line for bowl bids would be:

  1. Northwestern
  2. Air Force
  3. Vanderbilt
  4. Navy
  5. Duke
  6. Michigan
  7. Clemson
  8. And so forth

Of course, all of them hope to not need that lifeline anyway. I think Clemson is probably fine.

Updated NCAA APR rankings

Team Score Subdivision
Team Score Subdivision
Northwestern University 997 FBS
Columbia University-Barnard College 995 FCS
Dartmouth College 995 FCS
University of Pennsylvania 994 FCS
Brown University 993 FCS
U.S. Air Force Academy 993 FBS
Vanderbilt University 993 FBS
Cornell University 992 FCS
Duke University 992 FBS
Lafayette College 992 FCS
U.S. Naval Academy 992 FBS
Fordham University 991 FCS
Georgetown University 991 FCS
Princeton University 991 FCS
University of New Hampshire 991 FCS
Villanova University 991 FCS
Yale University 991 FCS
College of the Holy Cross 990 FCS
University of Michigan 990 FBS
University of Dayton 989 FCS
Colgate University 988 FCS
Elon University 988 FCS
Clemson University 987 FBS
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 986 FBS
University of Nevada, Reno 986 FBS
University of Washington 986 FBS
University of Wisconsin-Madison 986 FBS
Boston College 985 FBS
Bucknell University 985 FCS
Houston Baptist University 985 FCS
Stanford University 985 FBS
Kansas State University 984 FBS
Middle Tennessee State University 984 FBS
University of Alabama 984 FBS
University of Central Florida 984 FBS
University of Pittsburgh 984 FBS
Drake University 983 FCS
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 983 FBS
University of Richmond 983 FCS
University of Utah 983 FBS
Wofford College 983 FCS
Butler University 982 FCS
Temple University 982 FBS
The Ohio State University 982 FBS
U.S. Military Academy 982 FBS
University of Cincinnati 982 FBS
Bryant University 981 FCS
Central Michigan University 981 FBS
College of William & Mary 981 FCS
Harvard University 981 FCS
University of Louisville 981 FBS
University of Maryland, College Park 981 FBS
Auburn University 980 FBS
Georgia Institute of Technology 980 FBS
Kent State University 980 FBS
Pennsylvania State University 980 FBS
Samford University 980 FCS
University of Connecticut 980 FBS
University of Nebraska, Lincoln 980 FBS
Baylor University 979 FBS
Ohio University 979 FBS
Wake Forest University 979 FBS
Miami University (Ohio) 978 FBS
Towson University 978 FCS
Davidson College 977 FCS
Marist College 977 FCS
Rice University 977 FBS
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 977 FBS
University of Florida 977 FBS
Boise State University 976 FBS
Coastal Carolina University 976 FBS
Indiana University, Bloomington 976 FBS
University of California, Berkeley 976 FBS
University of Mississippi 976 FBS
Arizona State University 975 FBS
Mississippi State University 975 FBS
North Dakota State University 975 FCS
Stony Brook University 975 FCS
University of Toledo 975 FBS
Furman University 974 FCS
Missouri State University 974 FCS
University of California, Davis 974 FCS
Virginia Military Institute 974 FCS
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick 973 FBS
University at Buffalo, the State University of New York 973 FBS
University of Southern California 973 FBS
California Polytechnic State University 972 FCS
Illinois State University 972 FCS
Jacksonville State University 972 FCS
Murray State University 972 FCS
University of North Texas 972 FBS
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 972 FCS
University of Tennessee, Knoxville 972 FBS
University of Texas at Austin 972 FBS
Iowa State University 971 FBS
Lehigh University 971 FCS
Northern Illinois University 971 FBS
University of Kentucky 971 FBS
University of Maine, Orono 971 FCS
Western Carolina University 971 FCS
Colorado State University 970 FBS
University of Colorado, Boulder 970 FBS
University of Iowa 970 FBS
University of San Diego 970 FCS
University of Texas at El Paso 970 FBS
Arkansas State University 969 FBS
Oklahoma State University 969 FBS
University of Louisiana at Monroe 969 FBS
University of Oregon 969 FBS
University of South Dakota 969 FCS
University of Virginia 969 FBS
Washington State University 969 FBS
Oregon State University 968 FBS
Tulane University 968 FBS
University of Memphis 968 FBS
University of Missouri, Columbia 968 FBS
University of Texas at San Antonio 968 FBS
Presbyterian College 967 FCS
Syracuse University 967 FBS
University of California, Los Angeles 967 FBS
Jackson State University 966 FCS
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 966 FCS
The Citadel 966 FCS
University of Notre Dame 966 FBS
Mercer University 965 FCS
Sacred Heart University 965 FCS
Stetson University 965 FCS
Texas Christian University 965 FBS
University of Rhode Island 965 FCS
Utah State University 965 FBS
North Carolina State University 964 FBS
University of Hawaii, Manoa 964 FBS
University of Miami (Florida) 964 FBS
University of Northern Iowa 964 FCS
Alcorn State University 963 FCS
Gardner-Webb University 963 FCS
Idaho State University 963 FCS
Texas A&M University, College Station 963 FBS
University of Georgia 963 FBS
Wagner College 963 FCS
Western Michigan University 963 FBS
Appalachian State University 962 FBS
James Madison University 962 FCS
North Carolina A&T State University 962 FCS
Portland State University 962 FCS
University of Central Arkansas 962 FCS
Valparaiso University 962 FCS
Eastern Washington University 961 FCS
Norfolk State University 961 FCS
University of South Carolina, Columbia 961 FBS
Western Illinois University 961 FCS
Eastern Kentucky University 960 FCS
Florida Atlantic University 960 FBS
Marshall University 960 FBS
Northwestern State University 960 FCS
Purdue University 960 FBS
Southeast Missouri State University 960 FCS
University at Albany 960 FCS
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 960 FBS
University of South Florida 960 FBS
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 960 FBS
Eastern Michigan University 959 FBS
University of Wyoming 959 FBS
Western Kentucky University 959 FBS
East Tennessee State University 958 FCS
South Dakota State University 958 FCS
University of Idaho 958 FBS
University of South Alabama 958 FBS
University of Tennessee at Martin 958 FCS
Ball State University 957 FBS
Tennessee Technological University 957 FCS
Troy University 957 FBS
University of Louisiana at Lafayette 957 FBS
Louisiana State University 956 FBS
Old Dominion University 956 FBS
San Diego State University 956 FBS
Southern Methodist University 956 FBS
University of Oklahoma 956 FBS
San Jose State University 955 FBS
University of Delaware 955 FCS
New Mexico State University 953 FBS
Saint Francis University (Pennsylvania) 953 FCS
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte 953 FBS
McNeese State University 952 FCS
Michigan State University 952 FBS
Montana State University-Bozeman 952 FCS
Southern Utah University 952 FCS
Stephen F. Austin State University 952 FCS
Georgia State University 951 FBS
University of Houston 951 FBS
University of Northern Colorado 951 FCS
Duquesne University 950 FCS
Kennesaw State University 950 FCS
University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff 950 FCS
University of Montana 950 FCS
West Virginia University 950 FBS
Brigham Young University 949 FBS
East Carolina University 949 FBS
Louisiana Tech University 949 FBS
The University of Southern Mississippi 949 FBS
Indiana State University 948 FCS
Texas Southern University 948 FCS
Alabama State University 947 FCS
California State University, Fresno 947 FBS
Campbell University 947 FCS
California State University, Sacramento 946 FCS
Tennessee State University 946 FCS
Texas Tech University 946 FBS
University of Arizona 946 FBS
University of New Mexico 946 FBS
Weber State University 946 FCS
Central Connecticut State University 945 FCS
Florida International University 945 FBS
Jacksonville University 945 FCS
University of Kansas 945 FBS
Mississippi Valley State University 944 FCS
North Carolina Central University 944 FCS
South Carolina State University 944 FCS
The University of Tulsa 944 FBS
Bethune-Cookman University 943 FCS
Liberty University 943 FBS
Monmouth University 943 FCS
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 943 FBS
Austin Peay State University 942 FCS
University of the Incarnate Word 942 FCS
Florida State University 941 FBS
Hampton University 941 FCS
Nicholls State University 941 FCS
Texas State University 941 FBS
University of Akron 941 FBS
University of North Dakota 941 FCS
Bowling Green State University 940 FBS
Northern Arizona University 940 FCS
Charleston Southern University 939 FCS
Prairie View A&M University 939 FCS
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 939 FBS
Delaware State University 937 FCS
Youngstown State University 936 FCS
Abilene Christian University 935 FCS
Morehead State University 935 FCS
Lamar University 934 FCS
Robert Morris University 934 FCS
Southeastern Louisiana University 934 FCS
Sam Houston State University 932 FCS
Georgia Southern University 931 FBS
Eastern Illinois University 930 FCS
Grambling State University 923 FCS
Southern University, Baton Rouge 905 FCS
Morgan State University 893 FCS
Alabama A&M University 891 FCS

In 2015, the first year of this new rule, all three 5-7 bowl teams won their bowls. In 2016, Mississippi State won while North Texas fell to a bizarre 5-8 record. 2017 failed to be blessed with 5-7 teams, so we’re due.