The NCAA has finally come up with a (possibly inadequate) plan in the event that there aren't 70 eliglble teams to fill the 35 bowls. That is a distinct possibility this year because as of now, four teams are inelgible for the postseason, each of which is likely to post a record that would have otherwise made them eligible. North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State and UCF will all be spending the holidays at home this year, although UCF is appealing. Additionally, sanctions against Miami and/or Oregon could come down during the season.
In the event less than 70 teams are bowl-eligible, additional teams, if available, can be selected from the following groups, in order.
1. Teams that finished 6-6, but had a win over an unqualified I-AA school.
It is well known that teams are allowed to count a win over a I-AA school, but it is less known that not every I-AA school qualifies for this provision. The win only counts if the I-AA opponent meets certain scholarship guidelines. I have no way of knowing which I-AA schools meet those guidelines and which don't.
2. Teams that finished 6-6, but have two wins over I-AA schools.
This year, Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M have two I-AA teams on their schedules.
3. Teams that finish 6-7 with a loss in a conference championship game.
This was UCLA last year, which received a waiver to play in a bowl. I think it's interesting that the D-I board decided teams 6-6 teams with two I-AA wins are more deserving than teams like UCLA last year. I would swap these two groups.
4. Teams that finished 6-7 in a regular, 13-game schedule.
Hawaii and any team that plays at Hawaii are allowed to play 13 regular season games. This year, New Mexico, South Alabama and UNLV are the only teams to schedule 13 games.
5. Teams that are in the process of reclassifying to I-A and finish 6-6.
This year, Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio fit in this group, however UTSA is not eligible due to not playing a FBS-qualified schedule.
6. Teams that finish 5-7 that rank in APR order.
The top five APR teams this season are Northwestern, Duke, Boise State, Ohio St (not eligible for other reasons) and Northern Illinois.
A bowl can only take a team out of the emergency pool once every four years.