Bowl eligibility is part of the handicapping process this week, as VSiN’s Adam Burke looked at the teams with five wins, four wins and other intriguing situational spots for Week 12.
Just about every game carries some measure of importance over the next two weeks. There are obvious instances, like teams vying for bowl eligibility, conference championship game implications or the College Football Playoff, but even games between bad teams have some meaning. Seniors are playing their final games or underclassmen are getting a chance to impress. Just because a team doesn’t seem to have any reason to be there isn’t good enough to bet against them in most cases.
There are two weeks left of regular season games, followed by conference championships, Army/Navy and then the bowl season. Here are the teams with five wins looking to get bowl-eligible this week: Memphis, Miami (FL), Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Florida Atlantic, Rice, Middle Tennessee, BYU, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Ball State, Utah State, Arkansas, Georgia Southern, App State, Southern Miss and Louisiana.
While there are projected to be several five-win teams in bowl games this season, here are the teams with four wins that are trying to win out in order to secure the magic number of six: Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Iowa State, Rutgers, FIU, UTEP, New Mexico State, Kent State, Central Michigan, UNLV, Arizona, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Georgia State and UL Monroe.
Sometimes you’ll pay a little bit of a premium on a team looking for its sixth win. You’ll see a lot more of that next week, but it should be a factor in your handicap. Keep in mind, though, teams that are 5-5 or 4-6 right now are fighting for bowl eligibility largely because they aren’t that good, so don’t overreact too much to that motivation angle.
Here are some situational spots to consider for Week 12:
This is a pretty big lookahead spot for Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night. The Eagles have not won the Michigan MAC Trophy since 2012, which is awarded to the Directional Michigan school with the best record in head-to-head games featuring Eastern, Western and Central. Eastern Michigan beat Western Michigan, 45-23, earlier in the season and has Central Michigan at home on Senior Day next Friday night. With bowl eligibility in the bag and no chance at winning the MAC West Division, it wouldn’t be a stunner to see EMU looking ahead. Kent State, meanwhile, has no margin for error for bowl eligibility with four wins and two games left to play.