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How the Texas Longhorns could go bowling after all

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Though the team is 5-7, the ‘Horns will qualify for a bowl due to APR ranking if one of two teams loses next weekend.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Next Saturday, we are all Aggie fans. So instead of donning your burnt orange Texas Longhorns jerseys, perhaps pick a slightly more...maroon shade.

Here’s the deal — there are 80 bowl game spots with 76 teams currently bowl eligible. If the magic number 80 isn’t reached, the remaining spots will be filled in by the four teams with the highest Academic Progress Rates.

Here's a brief into to exactly what APR is, per NCAA.com:

The APR, or Academic Progress Rate, holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The APR is calculated as follows:

Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.

A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.

In addition to a team’s current-year APR, its rolling four-year APR is also used to determine accountability.

Basically, the APR rewards team’s in the highest academic standing, who may not necessarily have done well on the field, when there aren’t enough teams that did well on the field.

Texas is third with an 971 APR, trailing North Texas (984) and Mississippi State, which has a 971 APR, as well, but holds the tiebreaker due to last season’s ratings — 970 to Texas’ 968.

That means if only 77 teams reach six wins for bowl eligibility, the Longhorns would sneak the final opening courtesy of the APR. There are currently 76 bids, but two teams will be playing for a sixth win next week. If both win, Texas misses the cut.

Thus, next weekend, Texas must root for the New Mexico State Aggies as they take on 5-6 South Alabama at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday.

And if that doesn’t work, then put on your finest maroon jerseys, not for Texas A&M, but for University of Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks will be traveling to 5-6 Louisiana Lafayette hoping to pull off an upset at 2 p.m. CT.

If South Alabama or Louisiana Lafayette loses, then the Longhorns are going bowling. If Texas wants to, that is.

Texas is stuck in limbo — This is undoubtably Tom Herman’s team, but are these his players yet? Some of the team may prefer Strong leads the team out of the tunnel for one final game — a swan song of sorts and an opportunity for a “Rudy” moment if Strong could lead the team to victory.

But that’s not going to happen, and logistically and emotionally, a bowl game could be a tricky situation for Texas.

Herman rapidly assembling a staff and calling plays for the ‘Horns just weeks after Strong’s dismissal will surely not be a seamless transition on multiple levels, so the Texas administration and Tom Herman may be facing a huge decision next weekend.

Let’s weigh out the pros and cons of Texas going to a bowl game.

Pros:

  • 15 practices which will be invaluable to a young team.
  • A “try out” for the current underclassmen who will get to showcase their talents and develop a repertoire with Herman.
  • Seniors get to wear the Longhorn uniform one last time.
  • Texas fans will pay good money to see what is essentially a Herman coached spring game, winter edition.
  • D’onta Foreman gets to continue his Heisman-like, incredible season.
  • Who could deny more football?

Cons:

  • Herman may have to rush a staff, put crucial 2017 recruiting focus aside.
  • Whatever the result of the game, fans will massively overreact.
  • It might be, uh, awkward.
  • Who could possibly want more Longhorn football?

Ultimately, none of this hypothetical situation may matter if an underdog can’t beat a 5-7 next Saturday. After all, Texas fans know you can’t count on Aggies to pull off late season wins. But one can dream of the second most winningest program in history stumbling into the Taxslayer-Go Daddy-Little Caesars bowl, right?

So why the excitement for what will basically amount to a potential December scrimmage for Texas?

Charlie Strong was hired in January of 2014 and was left scrambling for three years to make up for lost time and resources. After the havoc that has ensued for the past few seasons, it will be nice to hit the “rebuild” button before this season is even over.