Duke Needs Help But Can Still Make Bowl Game


With Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest, Duke cannot meet the six-win threshold for bowl eligibility this season. A win over Miami on Saturday would leave the Blue Devils 5-7 on the year.

That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for a bowl bid, however.

There are 39 bowl games this year, meaning there are slots for 78 teams to play in them. Heading into the final week of the season, there are 72 teams with six wins.

That means that, unless six teams win their sixth game this coming weekend, there won’t be enough six-win teams to go around.

If that happens, the bowls will take five-win teams in their order of finish in APR (adjusted graduation rates over the past several years). Duke ranks No. 1 on that list among teams that can still finish with five wins. That means that if there aren’t enough six-win teams to go around, Duke is the top choice.

Before looking at which teams can grab a sixth win to nose out Duke for a spot, there are two other special cases: Liberty already has six wins, but since the Flames played two FCS teams this year, they need to win a seventh to become bowl eligible. But if there aren’t enough eligible teams, Liberty would get picked before a five-win team.

So there are currently five vacancies for Duke to take.

Missouri, who is currently 5-6, is serving a postseason ban for a tutor who illegally did work for players. However, the Tigers have appealed the ban, and the NCAA still has not yet ruled. If the Tigers win their sixth and win the appeal, Duke would be down to four available slots.

Then it’s just a matter of winning their fifth game, over Miami, and scoreboard watching.

Here are the 13 teams that could get a sixth win. At least nine of them (and possibly 10) need to lose in order for Duke to get in.

Boston College: at 7-4 Pitt

North Carolina: at 4-7 NC State

Ohio: at 0-11 Akron

Army: at 8-4 Hawaii, vs. 8-2 Navy

Oregon State: at 9-2 Oregon

TCU: vs. 4-7 West Virginia

Troy: vs. 10-1 Appalachian State

Kent State: at 6-5 Eastern Michigan

Michigan State: vs. 3-8 Maryland

Nebraska: vs. 8-3 Iowa

Mississippi State: vs. 4-7 Ole Miss

Louisiana Monroe: at 9-2 Louisiana

Colorado: at 10-1 Utah