The California Golden Bears obviously want to have a winning season, but as stated many time before, they are facing one of the most difficult schedules in all of college football. Cal’s over/under is already set absurdly low at 3.5 wins. The expectations are pretty low at this point for the Bears to get back to even .500 this season.
The good news is that Cal doesn’t necessarily need a winning record to get to a bowl game! Thanks to their academic improvement and the multitude of bowl games, Cal will probably have a chance at a bowl game regardless if they finish with a 5-7 record. That’s because in Cal’s latest academic progress report, the Bears listed a 978 multi-year APR.
After all the bowl slots are filled by 6-6 and above teams, there are usually a few slots left open. In recent NCAA legislation, it was determined that the football teams that went 5-7 with the highest multi-year APR would get first dibs at those spots. Tiebreakers would be determined by single-year APR, where Cal would again likely hold numerous advantages at 991!
Cal had a 960 multi-year APR last season and were right on the edge of garnering bowl eligibility as a 5-7 team, but that wasn’t quite enough to match with the likes of Mississippi State (971) and North Texas (984) last season (who earned the 5-7 bowl bids). Three 5-7 teams made a bowl game in 2015, and if Cal had been 5-7 that season, their 978 would have given them second shot at a bid behind Nebraska.
So Cal has decent odds to get to a bowl game even if they only get five wins. How about that?