For some teams, a bowl game is a given at the start of the season. The Ohio States, Floridas, and USCs of this world only have to care about which bowl and for how much.
For others, there are no guarantees. The prospect of a bowl game is won or lost, dimmed or illuminated, by the way the team plays every Saturday.
These 12 teams are caught precariously between two worlds—the world where football ends during the regular season, and where it continues on in the glorious tradition of the bowl game.
Some of them have surprised us with close victories and are right on the verge of a sixth win.
Some have deeply disappointed us by starting out strong and regressing as the year wears on, and have a lot of work still to do.
Either way, I've examined their schedules and assessed the chances they have of seeing more playing time come December.
Take a look.