Florida and Miami are among the 25 teams needing a win over the final two weeks for bowl eligibility

The chances of a team with fewer than six wins making a bowl game this season are fairly slim.

There are 82 bowl spots available this season and there are 81 teams either already eligible for a bowl game or just a win away with two weeks to go in the regular season. 

Fifty-six of those 81 teams have already gotten to six wins while nine teams are two wins away from a bowl game and Cal is three wins away thanks to a postponed game a week ago. While there's no guarantee that all of the 41 bowl games will include teams at .500 or better, the odds are pretty good that just one or two sub-.500 teams will be needed at most to fill out the bowl field if there are 81 or fewer teams at 6-6 or better. 

Here's a look at what the bowl eligibility landscape looks like ahead of the final two weeks of the 2021 season.

AAC

Already in (5)

  • Cincinnati (10-0)

  • Houston (9-1)

  • SMU (8-2)

  • East Carolina (6-4)

  • UCF (6-4)

One win away

  • Memphis (5-5)

The Tigers play Houston and Tulane over the final two games of the season. Memphis is a two-score underdog to the Cougars, so Tulane is probably its best bet to get to a bowl game.

Two wins away

  • Tulsa (4-6)

The Golden Hurricane are three-touchdown favorites against Temple on Saturday but have to play SMU in the final game of the season. Losing to Navy on Oct. 29 may ultimately end up costing Tulsa a spot in a bowl game.

ACC

Already in (6)

  • Wake Forest (9-1)

  • Pitt (8-2)

  • Clemson (7-3)

  • NC State (7-3)

  • Virginia (6-4)

  • Boston College (6-4)

One win away (5)

  • Louisville (5-5)

  • Miami (5-5)

  • Virginia Tech (5-5)

  • North Carolina (5-5)

  • Syracuse (5-5)

The ACC has the most teams a win away from a bowl game of any conference. Louisville plays at Duke on Thursday night and is a big favorite. The Cardinals should get to a bowl game. Virginia Tech plays at Miami on Saturday before heading to Virginia — and Justin Fuente is no longer the team’s coach.

We like Miami’s chances of getting to a bowl game much more than Tech’s. North Carolina should get to six wins on Saturday after hosting FCS opponent Wofford while Syracuse has the toughest bowl task of anyone in this group. The Orange have NC State and Pitt over the final two weeks of the season.

Two wins away

  • Florida State (4-6)

The Seminoles need wins at Boston College and Florida to get to a bowl game. Not impossible. Also not likely.

Big 12

Already in (6)

  • Oklahoma (9-1)

  • Oklahoma State (9-1)

  • Baylor (8-2)

  • Kansas State (7-3)

  • Iowa State (6-4)

  • Texas Tech (6-4)

Two wins away (3)

  • Texas (4-6)

  • West Virginia (4-6)

  • TCU (4-6)

Since Texas and West Virginia play each other on Saturday, at least one of the two teams is guaranteed to finish with seven or more wins. TCU is favored to get to five wins on Saturday at Kansas but then finishes the season at Iowa State. Texas ends the season at Kansas State while West Virginia ends it with Kansas. With the UT game at home, West Virginia is the most likely of the three to make a bowl game.

Big Ten

Already in (8)

  • Ohio State (9-1)

  • Michigan (9-1)

  • Michigan State (9-1)

  • Iowa (8-2)

  • Wisconsin (7-3)

  • Penn State (6-4)

  • Minnesota (6-4)

  • Purdue (6-4)

One win away (2)

  • Maryland (5-5)

  • Rutgers (5-5)

Rutgers is at Penn State this week while Maryland hosts Michigan in its final home game of the season. Both teams are obviously underdogs. Assuming they both lose, they’ll face each other in the final week of the season with a bowl game on the line.

Two wins away

  • Illinois (4-6)

If Illinois can pull an upset at Iowa on Saturday then the Illini have a good chance at a bowl game with Northwestern at Wrigley Field in the final week of the season.

Conference USA

Already in (5)

  • UTSA (10-0)

  • UAB (7-3)

  • Western Kentucky (6-4)

  • Marshall (6-4)

  • UTEP (6-4)

One win away (3)

  • Florida Atlantic (5-5)

  • Charlotte (5-5)

  • Middle Tennessee (5-5)

FAU is at Western Kentucky on Saturday and finishes the season at Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders play Old Dominion on Saturday while Charlotte has Marshall and Old Dominion over the final two weeks of the season. Got all that? Just trust us when we say that it’s most likely two of the three teams listed above make a bowl game.

Two wins away (2)

  • Old Dominion (4-6)

  • North Texas (4-6)

As you saw above, Old Dominion has to beat two teams currently at 5-5 to make a bowl game. North Texas has won three straight games and should beat Florida International on Saturday for a fourth. But the Mean Green then finish the season against undefeated UTSA.

MAC

Already in (4)

  • Northern Illinois (7-3)

  • Central Michigan (6-4)

  • Eastern Michigan (6-4)

  • Western Michigan (6-4)

One win away (4)

  • Miami (5-5)

  • Kent State (5-5)

  • Toledo (5-5)

  • Ball State (5-5)

Miami should get bowl eligible on Tuesday night at home against Bowling Green. Toledo is at Ohio on Tuesday night as well. The Rockets should also get to six wins on Tuesday. Ball State hosts Central Michigan on Wednesday and ends the season against Buffalo. Kent State is at Akron on Saturday before ending the season at home against Miami in what could be a winner-take-all game for the MAC East.

Two wins away

  • Buffalo (4-6)

The Bulls have games against Northern Illinois and Ball State to finish the season. A bowl isn’t likely.

Mountain West

Already in (6)

  • San Diego State (9-1)

  • Utah State (8-2)

  • Fresno State (8-3)

  • Air Force (7-3)

  • Nevada (7-3)

  • Boise State (6-4)

One win away (2)

  • Wyoming (5-5)

  • San Jose State (5-6)

The Cowboys are road underdogs at Utah State this Saturday before hosting Hawaii in the final week of the season. That should be win No. 6. San Jose State is off on Saturday before hosting Fresno State on Thanksgiving night.

Pac-12

Already in (5)

  • Oregon (9-1)

  • Utah (7-3)

  • Arizona State (7-3)

  • Oregon State (6-4)

  • UCLA (6-4)

One win away

  • Washington State (5-5)

The Cougars are favored by 14 at home against Arizona on Friday night before an Apple Cup showdown against Washington on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We like Washington State’s chances of a bowl game.

Two wins away (2)

  • Washington (4-6)

  • USC (4-5)

The Huskies are at Colorado on Saturday in the first game after Jimmy Lake’s firing. A win there sets up a win-and-in scenario in the Apple Cup. USC has games against UCLA, BYU and Cal and needs to win two of those for a bowl game. We’re not sure that could happen.

Three wins away

  • Cal (3-6)

The Bears have to beat Stanford, UCLA and USC. Probably not happening.

SEC

Already in (8)

  • Georgia (10-0)

  • Alabama (9-1)

  • Ole Miss (8-2)

  • Kentucky (7-3)

  • Texas A&M (7-3)

  • Arkansas (7-3)

  • Mississippi State (6-4)

  • Auburn (6-4)

One win away (4)

  • Tennessee (5-5)

  • Missouri (5-5)

  • South Carolina (5-5)

  • Florida (5-5)

Tennessee hosts South Alabama on Saturday and Vanderbilt in the final week of the season. The Vols will get to seven wins barring an absolute catastrophe. Missouri has Florida on Saturday before heading to Arkansas in the final week. The Tigers need to beat the Gators, who have Florida State in the final week of the season. South Carolina hosts Auburn and Clemson over the final two weeks of the season. That Auburn game is more winnable now than it was a few weeks ago.

Two wins away

  • LSU (4-6)

The Tigers will get to five wins on Saturday night after hosting Louisiana-Monroe. LSU then ends the season at home against Texas A&M. Could it get to six wins?

Sun Belt

Already in (3)

  • Louisiana (9-1)

  • Appalachian State (8-2)

  • Coastal Carolina (8-2)

One win away (3)

  • Georgia State (5-5)

  • Troy (5-5)

  • South Alabama (5-5)

Georgia State is a home favorite against Arkansas State on Saturday. That should push the Panthers above .500 for the first time all season. Troy plays at App State on Saturday before traveling to Georgia State in the final week of the season. We’re guessing that GSU game will be for bowl eligibility for the Trojans. South Alabama has Coastal Carolina in Week 13 after that Tennessee game. A bowl is unlikely for the Jaguars.

Two wins away

  • Louisiana-Monroe (4-6)

The Warhawks need to beat both LSU and Louisiana to get to a bowl game and claim state bragging rights.