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Due to APR, Syracuse can’t really bank on a 5-7 bowl invite in 2018

(and hopefully we just win six games and it’s not a problem anyway)

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll start by saying that the Academic Progress Rate (APR) is a sham, and also that the Syracuse Orange’s football score (967) is well within the mark for postseason eligibility.

However, since the APR is also the mark that decides whether or not a 5-7 team could snag a bowl bid, we have to take it into consideration. That consideration says that Syracuse would be highly unlikely to make a bowl game if they finished 5-7 this year.

If you look at the updated APR rankings, the Orange are pretty far down the list, with 73 other FBS teams in front of them. It would take a hell of a lot of luck to steal a bid at 5-7 given those odds.

Of course, there’s an alternative path to bowl eligibility, too: Just winning six games or more, something Syracuse hasn’t done since 2013.

Finishing 4-8 these past three seasons, the Orange would’ve made a bowl game at 5-7 back in 2016 had they beaten Pitt in the high-scoring finale. Last year, their APR score was 968, which also would’ve put them too far down the list had they beaten Boston College for a fifth victory.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

While I know there are many detractors of the 5-7 bowl bid, and I understand those concerns, there’s also no shame in taking the invite if we happened to receive it — and same goes for any other program. Extra practices and exposure to potential bowl success are important for any team; especially one that hasn’t made the postseason in four years. Plus, from a recruiting standpoint, prospects just care that you made a bowl. The only major differentiation is whether you made one of the six College Football Playoff-affiliated games, or any of the long list of other contests.

Syracuse’s quest for six wins will not be all that easy this year (ESPN’s FPI ranks SU’s schedule as the 36th-toughest in the country). But it’s feasible if we can get a couple breaks and avoid injury. That last part’s been a pipedream since we joined the ACC, as we’ve lost our starting QB to injury in each of the last five years (never mind injuries at other spots as well). Perhaps our luck finally turns around with an improved offensive line, however.