Illinois would accept bowl bid

Illinois is one of several 5-7 teams who could make a bowl game

Add another twist to a twisted Illinois football season.

Illinois football spokesman Kent Brown announced Tuesday afternoon that Illinois would accept a bowl bid, if offered.

Illinois is one of several 5-7 teams that could be offered a bowl bid due to a shortage of 6-win teams eligible for the 40 bowl games.

Currently, 75 teams are eligible for 80 bowl slots. The NCAA Division I Council on Monday approved a one-time process to allow 5-7 teams to be slotted into bowls determined by the highest APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores.

At least two 5-7 teams will make bowl games. Kansas State, Georgia State and South Alabama could all reach their sixth victories this weekend but all are underdogs. Kansas State hosts West Virginia (7-4), Georgia State plays at Georgia Southern (8-3) and South Alabama plays at Appalachian State (9-2).

The leftover bowl spots will be detemined by APR ranking. Nebraska (985) tops the list, followed by Kansas State (976) -- so that means the Wildcats are all but certain of a bowl. Missouri (976) said it will not play in a bowl game, so Minnesota (975) and San Jose State (975) are next in line.

Illinois and Rice are tied with an APR of 973, but the draw of a Big Ten team likely will help Illinois.

Because it is eligible for a bowl, Illinois is allowed to start practicing this week. The coaches currently are on the road recruiting.

CBS projects Illinois to play in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 28. ESPN's Mark Schlabach projects the Illini to play in the AutoNation Care Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 19. Sporting News projects the Illini to play in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29 in Fort Worth, Texas.

If none of the 5-6 teams win this weekend, Illinois looks in good position to make a bowl game.

Fitting for such a weird season.

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