All bowl-eligible teams with 6-6 records must be chosen for a bowl game before any teams with a 5-7 record are considered, according to new rules implemented by the NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday for the 2016-17 season.
The decision comes after a season where only 77 teams were eligible for 80 bowl slots. Three 5-7 teams (Nebraska, Minnesota, San Jose State) were granted waivers to play due to their APR scores.
“It’s impossible to project how many bowl teams we will have. We think we have a selection process in the postseason that makes sense and is fair to the schools and the bowls.”
-Bob Bowlsby; Big 12 conference commissioner, football oversight committee chair
If two or more 5-7 teams have a tie in the multiyear APR, then the highest APR for the most recent single year will break the tie until all bowl slots are filled.
“I think the general feeling was the train had left the station and the expectation was 6-6 was where we’d be. The practical aspect was, we didn’t think we could get here.”
5-7 teams that go to bowls will be called “alternatives,” according to Bowlsby, to help redefine what a deserving bowl team is.
“On a broader scale, we still have some work to do. We’ve done the things we needed to have done in preparation for the coming year.”
The Council also discussed what a mandatory 14-date season would look like, with the idea of each team having two bye weeks per season to help decrease the amount of injuries.
“It’s a lot easier to say 14 playing dates than it is to get there because when you overlay traditional rivals that have to play every year, and you won’t to have somebody have two byes in a row, and there are those in divisions, those who play eight games, those who play nine, it’s not an easy solution. We have to do some modeling around what it could look like for all the different conferences. There is some evidence that injuries will be lessened without having to play 12 weeks in a row.”
The football oversight committee created a “bowl working group” to study the issue over the offseason and made the recommendation to the Council’s meeting Wednesday in Indianapolis.