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Would Boston College Football Make A Bowl At 5-7?

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It’s looking likely

NCAA Football: Boston College at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, AJ posted an article pondering whether making a bowl at 5-7 would be enough for BC to retain Steve Addazio for next season. In addition, some bowl projections have a 5-7 Syracuse team making a bowl game over BC, which, as AJ has pointed out, can’t happen.

Let’s start off this article with a few quick points:

  • No one is rooting for BC to get just one more win.
  • We can all acknowledge that going 5-7 would result in an incredibly disappointing season.
  • No one is rooting for BC to get just one more win.

With that out of the way, we wanted to take a look at what BC’s chances of making a bowl game at 5-7 actually are.

There will be 80 teams playing in bowl games. Bowl games are filled in a certain order, with teams 6-7* or better all getting in before the 5-7 teams. If, after all those teams are selected, there are still bowl slots open, the remainder will be filled with teams based solely on, and in numerical order of, their Academic Progress Rate (APR).

*teams that play in Hawaii, basically

Historically, BC has had an excellent APR, and this year is no different. What is different, however, is that BC’s APR ranking isn’t quite what it used to be. This year, BC is ranked 40th in APR among all D1 programs (FBS and FCS) with a 981 rating — only good for 5th in the ACC. Compare that to last season when the Eagles had a 980 but were 26th nationally and 3rd in the ACC.

Other programs have improved their APR substantially, and so while the Eagles themselves have kept their good rating, they’be gotten leapfrogged by some other programs.

Here are the FBS schools above the Eagles in APR this season:

Team Wins Conf APR
Michigan 8 B10 989
Clemson 8 ACC 983
Utah 7 P12 983
Louisville 7 ACC 982
Boise State 7 MWC 982
Nebraska 7 B10 981
Wisconsin 6 B10 992
Minnesota 6 B10 992
Auburn 6 SEC 982
Army 5 Ind 989
Air Force 5 MWC 987
GA Tech 5 ACC 987
Navy 5 AAC 982
Northwestern 4 B10 992
Vanderbilt 4 SEC 990
North Texas 4 CUSA 984
Central Florida 4 AAC 983
Duke 3 ACC 995
Illinois 2 B10 982

We obviously don’t need to worry about those teams with 6+ wins:

Team Wins Conf APR
Army 5 Ind 989
Air Force 5 MWC 987
GA Tech 5 ACC 987
Navy 5 AAC 982
Northwestern 4 B10 992
Vanderbilt 4 SEC 990
North Texas 4 CUSA 984
Central Florida 4 AAC 983
Duke 3 ACC 995
Illinois 2 B10 982

Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. These are the only teams that could earn a bowl over BC should they and the Eagles end up 5-7.

If we take a look at TeamRankings.com we can get an idea of what each team’s projected record is. Right now, there are 70 teams projected to get 6 wins or more, including Army, Air Force, GA Tech, Navy, Northwestern, and UCF. We’ll assume they’re in.

Also, Illinois is projected to have 2.8 wins, so we’ll laugh and ignore them.

Team Wins Conf APR Proj. Wins
Vanderbilt 4 SEC 990 5.0
North Texas 4 CUSA 984 5.4
Duke 3 ACC 995 4.1

These teams are the teams BC would need to worry about at 5-7.

Now, while there are 70 teams projected to get 6 wins, there are several teams just below the cut projected to get 5.6 or more:

Hahahahahaha Notre Dame

Now you can start making some really conservative assumptions, and things start to look pretty good for BC.

There are some teams above the 6.0 win projection that won’t make it, and there are some teams below the 6.0 win projection that will make it. But with 80 bowl berths available, you could assume that every team projected at 5.6 wins or more will get to 6 wins, and have North Texas, Duke, and Vanderbilt all make it to 5 wins, and that would leave BC as the 80th team in.

Those are some pretty conservative assumptions, so it does seem likely that the Eagles will make it to bowl season should they tack on just one more win. With four games left on the schedule, backing in at 5-7 would be wildly disappointing, but there’s still plenty of time for the Eagles to battle their way above .500 and end the season on a high note.