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Syracuse football won’t miss a bowl game with a 6-6 record

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Mostly because of conference tie-ins and math.

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

The Syracuse Orange won’t miss a bowl game in 2018 if they can manage a 6-6 record.

When talking about Syracuse’s potential postseason destinations on Tuesday, I’d mentioned that Athlon picked SU to finish 6-6 but did not see them making a bowl game. At the time, I hadn’t thought much of it, but the comment section (h/t Orangeman: Fighter of the Nightman) pointed out this was a highly unlikely assumption.

Doing some digging of my own, I saw just how ridiculous it would be for the Orange to make it to 6-6 and NOT make a bowl.

Over the last 10 seasons, every Power Five team that’s failed to go bowling with a 6-6 record played an active part in that decision:

  • 2017 Ole Miss (self-imposed postseason ban)
  • 2011 Miami (self-imposed postseason ban)
  • 2010 Arizona State (two wins over FCS opponents)
  • 2009 Notre Dame (turned down bowl invite)
Texas Bowl - Syracuse v Minnesota Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

There have been some close calls in there too, of course, including Syracuse’s own brush with disaster in 2013 that left DOCTOR Gross touting the size of its alumni base while pitching non-ACC affiliated bowls since the conference ran out of spots. We’d end up in the Texas Bowl, of course, and a good portion of the Syracuse “fans” there were actually local kids this very blog helped get tickets to the game.

But there were also just 35 bowl games at that time, and there are 40 for 2018. The last time a Power Five (Six, back then) team missed out on a bowl was 2007, when four — Louisville, Iowa, Northwestern and South Carolina — all did. During that season, there were only 32 bowls. Two more games were promptly added over the offseason to make sure this wouldn’t happen again.

In 2018, the ACC has 10 solid tie-ins, and maybe as many as 12 if other leagues can’t fill spots. Last year, just three bowl-eligible teams total (and none were P5) missed an invite. The year before, 5-7 teams made the postseason by way of APR scores. Any 6-6 team would get an invite before those programs did.

So in conclusion: The greater concern is whether we’re going 6-6 this year, rather than if we’re making a bowl or not once we reach that plateau.