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Cal needs a bit of help to qualify for a bowl game at 5-7

Quite a bit of help.

NCAA Football: UCLA at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The permutations have simplified for the California Golden Bears to qualify for one of the final bowl bids. The 5-7 Golden Bears are sitting on the edge of eligibility after throttling UCLA; their 960 APR has them high up the pecking order. But they are currently on the outside.

Kyle Bonagura of ESPN laid down all scenarios.

There are 80 bowl slots. There are right now 76 bowl eligible teams. Two five win teams, Louisiana Lafayette and Louisiana Monroe, will play next week to earn spot 77, and South Alabama could join the ranks of the bowl eligible by beating New Mexico State.

Right now, North Texas, Texas, Mississippi State, and Northern Illinois are 5-7 teams with considerably higher multiyear APR than Cal’s 960. Even if Texas declines a bowl game (which they are expected to do given that they just fired Charlie Strong), the Golden Bears would probably need two or three more teams above them to pass before they could get picked.

One sliver of hope is that the Pac-12 might have trouble filling in all their bowl tie-ins with only seven bowl eligible teams (and two most likely to be in the Big 6 bowls). If some of the smaller 5-7 programs find it cost prohibitive to attend a bowl outside their jurisdiction as an automatic selection, that might open the door for Cal.

Both the Vegas Bowl and the Cactus Bowl are currently projected to host Mountain West teams to replace Pac-12 squads, but if 5-7 Cal made the final 80 I’d imagine they would be the likeliest candidates.

So even though the thought of a 5-7 Cal in a bowl game has been intriguing the past couple of weeks, it’s more likely to come into play in 2017, when Cal’s multiyear APR is expected to take another huge leap.