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Nebraska Can Still Make A Bowl, But It Is A Long Shot

Nebraska's players take the field.

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Scott Frost of the Nebraska Cornhuskers leads the team on the field before the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Memorial Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

At 4-7, Nebraska football will fall short of the six wins typically required for bowl eligibility. However, there is still a remote chance of the Huskers cracking the post-season.

In fact, it wasn't long ago that Nebraska football was a beneficiary of the inflated bowl game schedule.

In 2015, the team's first year under Mike Riley, Nebraska went 5-7 but still managed to make the Foster Farms Bowl. There, it beat UCLA to move to 6-7 on the season.

That year, there were not enough teams at 6-6 or better to fill the 80 spots. Entering the final week of the season, 72 teams are at that magic number with 78 total spots available.

Thanks to that math, Nebraska football remains alive for a bowl, but it needs a lot to go right to make it there.

Obviously the first step is beating Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. That game is set to kick off in a few minutes.

Three games this weekend will decide bowl spots automatically.

Indiana-Purdue, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, and Baylor-Texas Tech each pit 5-6 teams against each other. That will fll three of the remaining slots.

From there, 15 teams are playing for win No. 6 this weekend. Omaha World-Heraldwriter Sam McKewon went through the trouble of compiling the full list of schools on the verge of eligibility.

Florida Atlantic (-17) over Charlotte
Southern Mississippi (-13) over UTEP
Wyoming (-7) over New Mexico
Tulane (-7) over Navy
SMU (-2.5) over Tulsa
Coastal Carolina (+1.5) over South Alabama
Arizona (+2) over Arizona State
TCU (+5) over Oklahoma State
Florida State (+7) over Florida
Wake Forest (+11) over Duke
Minnesota (+11) over Wisconsin
USC (+11) over Notre Dame
Colorado (+12.5) over California
Maryland (+13) over Penn State
Kansas State (+13) over Iowa State

As he notes, Akron and Virginia Tech both have two games remaining thanks to late additions to the schedule after early season cancellations, and could clinch bowl eligibility by sweeping those games.

Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Minnesota, and Maryland have higher APR scores and would thus edge out Nebraska in a tiebreaker scenario at 5-7. Three of those teams are double-digit underdogs, which is good news for the Huskers. However, fans should actually root for a Vanderbilt win, since a loss could make both the Commodores and Tennessee Volunteers bowl eligible if things shake out correctly.

Overall, it is a real long shot, but Nebraska fans may have a bowl destination in year one of the Scott Frost era yet.

[Omaha World-Herald]