Georgia Tech’s bowl hopes look faint

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Unable to clinch bowl eligibility by upsetting No. 1 Georgia on Saturday, Georgia Tech faces dim hopes of making it into a bowl game as a 5-7 team.

After Saturday’s games, there were 79 FBS teams that had earned bowl eligibility, leaving three open spots in the 41 bowl games, according to a tweet from Brett McMurphy of Action Network. Buffalo, which has one more regular-season game remaining Friday (against Akron in a makeup game) and is 5-6, can take the 80th spot.

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By NCAA rules, those unclaimed slots can be filled by teams that finish 5-7 (such as Tech), with teams’ NCAA-measured Academic Progress Rate scores determining the order in which they will be offered invitations.

It appears Tech is at least sixth in line, behind Rice, UNLV, Auburn, Michigan State and Miami (Fla.).

But for the Jackets to play in their first bowl since the 2018 season, they would need at least three and possibly four of the five schools ahead of them to turn down invitations to have a chance. Army, which is 5-6 but has two wins over FCS schools (NCAA rules allow teams to count only one win over an FCS opponent toward bowl eligibility), is also technically a possibility to get in line ahead of Tech. The Black Knights’ final game, against Navy, takes place after bowl bids are sent out, so the team would need an NCAA waiver to be considered at 5-6.

It seems highly unlikely that that many schools would turn down opportunities to play in bowl games. With revenue and exposure to gain, it’s possible conference offices could place pressure on any team on the fence to accept.

A spokesperson for one of the schools ahead of Tech told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday that the team would likely accept. A Las Vegas Sun story reporting UNLV’s win over Nevada on Saturday indicated the Rebels would also accept a bid if offered.

In a best-case scenario for Tech in which Buffalo loses, that would mean the three other schools ahead of Tech would all have to turn down an invitation for Tech’s turn to come up.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker told media after the team’s Saturday loss to Penn State that he didn’t know yet what the team would do. A spokesperson at another school also did not have an answer Sunday.