With two chances to become bowl eligible squandered, UB's bowl hopes will mirror their season: won the hard way, or lost amid numerous missed opportunities.
I currently project 77 teams will become bowl eligible which would most likely force three 5-7 teams into bowls based on APR.
In this scenario, Rutgers (980), Nebraska (985), and either Virginia Tech, Washington or Indiana (977) would go bowling.
I estimate Rutgers would go to the Pinstripe Bowl, Nebraska to the Foster Farms Bowl and the Quick Lane Bowl would jump at the chance to host Frank Beamer's final game.
Assuming any Bowl is UB's goal, this is good news, as long as UB takes care of their business. (Their APR is not good enough to be a bowl team at 5-7) In this scenario, I have Buffalo in the December 19 Cure Bowl against Cincinnati in Orlando, Florida.
If you want Buffalo in the Pinstripe Bowl or the Quick Lane Bowl, you're rooting for at least 79 6-6 teams, with no more ACC or Big 10 teams reaching bowl eligibility. In that scenario Nebraska probably takes Foster Farms, but the other two bowls stay available for Buffalo. It's a dangerous game however, if 81 teams become bowl eligible, UB is a prime candidate to be left home after their last two outings.
71 teams are bowl eligible.
I project 6 teams will become bowl eligible and 13 teams will fail to gain bowl eligibility.
The Do Your Job Six
Tulsa (5-6) at Tulane - It's on the road but Tulsa should beat hapless Tulane.
UMass at UB (5-6) - Usually closer than it should be, but UB should beat UMass as well.
FAU at Old Dominion (5-6) - ODU should win, but FAU might be brimming with confidence after taking Florida to OT.
Cincy at ECU (5-6) - ECU should win at home, but Cincy is no slouch.
Kansas State (4-6) at Kansas, then vs. West Virginia - Kansas is a breeze, and I expect KSU to win at home vs. WVU.
Louisville at Kentucky (5-6) - Kentucky sposed to be SEC, so they should win this game at home.
If these six win, 77 teams will be bowl eligible.
Maryland at Rutgers 4-7 - Maryland is bad so I expect Rutgers to win. This puts them in position to grab an empty bowl slot. It is in our best interest to be Maryland fans this week.
Virginia Tech (5-6) at Virginia - I expect the Cavs to win the rivalry game at home, but Va Tech could pull this off in Beamer's last game.
Indiana 5-6 at Purdue - Purdue is bad, but it's senior night, and while I don't trust Indiana, the Hoosiers could easily win this and go bowling.
To be safe we should root against Va Tech and Indiana.
Ten losses I'm confident in
Texas Tech at Texas 4-6 - Texas should get their 7th loss in two weeks against Baylor, but they could get it out of the way this week against the high flying Raiders.
Wisconsin at Minnesota 5-6 - Minnesota hasn't beaten Wisconsin since 2003.
Northwestern at Illinois 5-6 - Northwestern is really good, Illinois always seems to slide into a bowl, but this year it seems unlikely.
Iowa at Nebraska 5-6 - Nebraska is the only team between Iowa and a perfect regular season.
Best Case: Exactly 80 teams eligible, no additional Big 10 or ACC teams
We need UB and 8 other teams to win.
We would want losses from:
Next Best Case: Rutgers wins, 79 teams eligible or Rutgers loses, 78 teams eligible.
Second Worst Case Everyone wins
Unlike last year, almost every scenario is mutually exclusive. Which means each of the 18 teams still in the hunt, could become eligible. That would mean 9 teams would stay at home. The following teams would be without a Bowl Tie In:
Akron, Arizona, Georgia State, Kentucky, Nevada, San Jose, Tulsa, UB, Washington.
So that would be no good. If more than 80 teams are eligible, it becomes a beauty pageant and a toss up if UB looks good enough at 6-6 for a bowl spot.
Worst Case UB Loses
Our APR isn't good enough for 5-7. If UB loses, UB is out.