LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – New Mexico state’s request to waive bowl eligibility at 5-6 was approved by the NCAA Thursday morning.
For the second time in five years and only the second time since 1960, the Aggies will be key-bound thanks to the waiver. New Mexico state will find out which bowl it will play in on Sunday.
NMSU’s waiver request was based on two issues. First, the Aggies were unable to play their full 12-game schedule due to tragic circumstances. Second, that since the Aggies couldn’t play that game through no fault of their own, they should jump in front of teams that are 5-7 and have played their full number of games because a 5-6 record effectively looks better on a percentage basis than 5- 7.
NMSU’s October 22 game against San Jose State was postponed and subsequently canceled following the sudden death of Spartans running back Camden McWright the day before the game at Las Cruces.
Aggie officials say they’ve exhausted all avenues to find an FBS team that could play them and fill their schedule. They couldn’t do that but will play against FCS opponents Valparaiso on December 3 at 1pm at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
There are 79 bowl-eligible teams (with at least six wins) for 82 spots, with Buffalo (5-6) playing Akron in a rescheduled game on Friday. Depending on this outcome, either two or three five-win teams are required to fill the bowls that would be filled based on Academic Progress Rate Scores (APR).
When teams with five wins are needed to fill the bowls, the NCAA uses the most recent APR scores to choose the order in which teams are picked. Rice had the teams’ highest APR score with five wins, followed by UNLV, so Rice is guaranteed a bowl.
If Buffalo wins to be eligible for the Bowl, 6-6, New Mexico State and Rice will get the Bowl bids as five-win teams. If Buffalo loses, five-win teams NMSU, Rice and UNLV would go bowling.
If New Mexico State beats Valparaiso on Saturday, the Aggies would finish the season 6-6. But since two of their victories against FCS teams would fail, it was necessary to forgo bowl participation. The NCAA requires teams that play more than one FCS game per season to win seven games to qualify for the bowl.
New Mexico State is one of only two teams in college football history. The Aggies are 3-0-1, with wins in the 2017 Arizona Bowl, the 1959 and 1960 Sun Bowls and a tie in the 1935 Sun Bowl.