Six wins. It’s a goal that a lot of college football teams would like to reach. This is because once the team reaches that sixth win, they become bowl eligible. Schools can sometimes find themselves having losing seasons for multiple years at a time. This can lead to a bowl drought. Here are some teams that have not played in a bowl game since at least 2015 and could end their bowl drought this season:
Ball State Cardinals
Last Bowl Game: 2014 GoDaddy Bowl (Lost to Arkansas State 23-20)
Last Bowl Win: None
Career Bowl Record: 0-9
Ball State is sitting at 4-4 so far this season. This includes a huge 52-14 win over Toledo. Although Ball State has gotten to play in some bowl games, their career bowl record is 0-9. This could give the team some motivation to not only end their bowl drought but get in the win column in terms of their bowl record. Their game coming up against Kent State should help them get to five wins. However, they will still need to beat either Western Michigan, Central Michigan or Miami of Ohio to get that sixth win. They will be playing on ESPN2 on Tuesday, November 5 with an 8:00 PM EST kickoff scheduled.
Last Bowl Game: None
Last Bowl Win: None
Career Bowl Record: 0-0
The Charlotte 49ers moved to the FBS in 2015, but they haven’t made a bowl game yet. They were 4-6 last year after 10 games, needing to win their last two to become eligible. That’s when they lost to Florida International 42-35. They won their last game to go 5-7.
This year, the team is 3-5 after eight games. They don’t have much room for error, but a close 39-38 win over North Texas last week was huge for the 49ers. Two of their last four games include the UTEP Miners as well as Old Dominion. Should they win those two, they’ll need to beat either Middle Tennessee State or Marshall to secure bowl eligibility. The games against MTSU and Marshall are at home, so that could be a big help to Charlotte.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Last Bowl Game: 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl (Lost to Louisiana Tech 35-18)
Last Bowl Win: 2011 Fight Hunger Bowl
Career Bowl Record: 8-10
Illinois pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season when they beat Wisconsin at home. They won their next game against Purdue 24-6, bringing them to 4-4 on the season. The Fighting Illini play against Rutgers at home this Saturday, so if they can win that one, they’ll be 5-4. They end the season playing against Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern. If they win one of those, they’ll become bowl eligible. Clearly their best chance is against Northwestern, who heading into November have just one win against UNLV. That game is home for the Illini, so if they are 5-6 at that point, they’ll have a huge game to end their regular season.
Last Bowl Game: 2008 Insight Bowl (Beat Minnesota 42-21)
Career Bowl Record: 6-6
Kansas hired Les Miles over the offseason, and a head coach change seems appropriate for the team who has not made a bowl game in over a decade. It’s still a far shot this season, as the Jayhawks are currently 3-5 and have #22 Kansas State on the schedule next. A close 50-48 loss to Texas could end up hurting them, especially if they end the season with five wins. Kansas can only lose one more game before they can finish with six regular-season wins at best. This team has already accomplished a lot this season. They tied their wins from last season, and they have one conference win which ties last season as well.
Last Bowl Game: 2012 Independence Bowl (Lost to Ohio 45-14)
Last Bowl Win: None
Career Bowl Record: 0-1
Another Hawk on the list, Louisiana-Monroe has not played in a bowl game since their first one in 2012. They’re 3-4 currently, but a competitive Sun Belt conference is a tough road to a bowl game sometimes. They did have a really tough loss in September when Florida State beat them 45-44. The Warhawks play Arkansas State at home this week as they will try to get back to .500 on the season.
Oregon State Beavers
Last Bowl Game: 2013 Hawaii Bowl (Beat Boise State 38-23)
Career Bowl Record: 11-6
Oregon State has been in a rough patch for years now. The last time they had a winning season was in 2013 when they went 6-6 in the regular season then won the Hawaii Bowl to go 7-6. They are currently 3-4, and they play at Arizona this Saturday afternoon, which is a win-able game for them. Washington and Oregon remain on the schedule as well, so the Beavers have their work cut out for them if they want to end their bowl drought this year. However, a win against a .500 Arizona team on the road could give them some confidence moving forward.
San Jose State Spartans
Last Bowl Game: 2015 Cure Bowl (Beat Georgia State 27-16)
Career Bowl Record: 7-3
San Jose State went 3-22 over the course of 2017 and 2018. This season, they are 4-4, already winning more games than they did the last two years. They’re coming off a road win against Army by a score of 34-29. However, they will have to host Boise State this Saturday night. If that game goes as it should, the Spartans will find themselves at 4-5. They’ll have Hawaii, UNLV and Fresno State remaining on the schedule. If they are 5-6 heading into the last week, they’ll be at home against a Fresno State team that is not playing as well as they have the past few seasons. San Jose State making a bowl game after winning three games the two seasons before will be big for this program.
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