By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State will be playing in bowl games with 5-7 records.
Championship Saturday began with 75 bowl-eligible teams and two more teams got there, three short of what was needed to fill a record 80 bowl games.
Kansas State took care of business by beating West Virginia 24-23 to finish 6-6. Georgia State, in its sixth season playing Division I football, beat Sun Belt Conference rival Georgia Southern 34-7 for its sixth victory.
South Alabama fell short of six, though, losing 34-27 to Appalachian State.
That makes 77 teams with at least six victories and a .500 record, the minimum to be eligible for a bowl bid.
The NCAA approved a plan earlier in the week to fill bowls in need with 5-7 teams based on their Academic Progress Ratings for 2013-14 school year, the most recent scores available. Nebraska (985) was tops among those teams and has said it will accept a bid.
Next up was Missouri (976), but it announced earlier in the week it would not accept a bid at 5-7 as it worked to replace retiring coach Gary Pinkel.
Kansas State was in a strange spot with a 976 APR and a 5-6 record entering Saturday. No matter what happened against West Virginia, the Wildcats were going to be in line for a bowl bid. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder had said he would let the team decide if it wanted to play a postseason game with a 5-7 record. Now, there will be no question.
Minnesota is next in line at 975, tied with San Jose State. Gophers coach Tracy Claeys has said his team wants to play and because the Big Ten won’t be able to fill all its bowl contracts with eligible teams, Minnesota’s season will continue.
San Jose State officials said the Spartans would accept a bid at 5-7, but had to sweat it out.
South Alabama wiped out a 24-7 halftime deficit and took a 27-24 lead in the fourth quarter before App State scored the game’s last 10 points.
Georgia State’s victory was bad news for Illinois (973) and Rice (973), which were next in line among the 5-7s. The season is now over for the Illini and Owls.