Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Missouri’s hopes of a bowl bid aren’t dead yet.
The 5-7 Tigers failed to ensure bowl eligibilty the traditional way with losses to Tennessee and Arkansas to close the season. But with 80 bowl bids available this season and only 75 teams with six or more wins at the moment, the Tigers could still find themselves with another game to play.
The weekend began with 71-of-80 spots filled. Including Missouri, five-win teams went 4-10 on Friday and Saturday, with Washington, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Indiana picking up their sixth wins. Five-win South Alabama lost Saturday but has another shot at six wins next week against 9-2 Appalachian State.
Georgia State and Kansas State each picked up their fifth wins this weekend and each have a game next Saturday. Georgia State faces 8-3 Georgia Southern, and Kansas State faces 7-4 West Virginia.
So, depending on how the Jaguars, Panthers and Wildcats fare Saturday, there will be between two and five losing teams playing in bowls this season.
So where does Missouri fit? If it comes down to Academic Progress Rate, which has been listed in the past as a means to award bowls to 5-7 teams, Missouri could be in good shape. The Tigers’ most recent APR of 976 is tied for second among five-win teams, behind only Nebraska and on par with Kansas State. So, in theory, if at least one of the aforementioned trio loses Saturday, the Tigers should be in — and, considering they’re tied with the Wildcats, they might not even need one to lose.
However, the NCAA has yet to announce how it will determine the placement of losing teams in bowl games this season.
And even if the Tigers are awarded a bowl bid, it’s uncertain whether they would accept it. Missouri is in the middle of a coaching search, as all-time winningest coach Gary Pinkel is resigning due to health concerns. Multiple media outlets reported quarterbacks coach/associate head coach Andy Hill was named the team’s interim coach Saturday.