Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 18, 2015

Never before have 6-6 teams been so coveted.

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That?s correct: 6-6 teams ? coveted. These paragons of mediocrity could be in demand as the season comes to a close in a few weeks and low-level bowls look to fill slots. Yes, it has come to this: A bloated system with 40 bowls may be hard-pressed to fill all of its 80 openings (there are only 127 FBS teams, by the way) with teams that meet the bare-minimum requirement of a .500 record.

If it comes to this, which it likely will, bowls will be fighting over 5-7 teams (I can?t believe I just typed that) to fill slots. But how will it be decided which 5-7 teams get picked first?

Bowl and conference sources told ESPN that their understanding of the APR rule is that it?s supposed to rank the available 5-7 teams by APR. The 5-7 teams with the highest APR will be picked first ? and so on.

The NCAA disagrees.

From ESPN: If two bowls need 5-7 teams, do the No. 1 and No. 2 best APR teams automatically get the bids or does the bowl have the option of selecting any team among the top five APR teams?

And there is this to consider: If more than one bowl needs a 5-7 team, how will it be decided which bowl gets to pick first? Does a 5-7 team with the best APR from a conference that needs to fill one of its bowl slots automatically fill one of its slots — even if it?s not among the top five available APR schools?

No one knows. So, stay tuned.

Doesn't all of this seem contrary to what bowls are supposed to be about-you know, a reward for a ?good? season, not a losing season? This is the reality of needing 63 percent of FBS teams to fill out the ever-growing bowl slate.

The Big Ten may have to dip low to fill spots in its 10 bowls. As of this week, with two games left for every team but Nebraska, the league has seven teams that have reached bowl eligibility with at least six wins: Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Penn State.

Illinois and Nebraska have five wins. Minnesota and Indiana have four victories. Can three of those four schools get to six wins to give the Big Ten 10 bowl-eligible squads? It may be difficult.

Illinois finishes at Minnesota and vs. Northwestern in Solider Field in Chicago.

Minnesota plays two home games, vs. Illinois and Wisconsin.

Nebraska plays host to Iowa.

Indiana has two road games left: Maryland and Purdue.

In other words, get ready for several 5-7 bowl teams this season.


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