After losing one game on a Hail Mary, another in overtime and three more by a combined five points, Nebraska could make a case for itself as the unluckiest team of 2015 -- until it became bowl-eligible with a 5-7 record.
"We didn't necessarily deserve that opportunity, but because they needed people and that was the criteria, I'm not going to argue with that," coach Mike Riley said. "I'm just going to take it and run with it and be thankful for it."
"Do I think it's necessarily right? Probably not," he said. "I think you have to earn something to be bowl-eligible, but because of the circumstances with the numbers, they have to have some way to do it."
The question is which way the sport will do it in 2016.
Here's the dilemma: There were more bowls (40) than eligible teams last season. Simple math deems this a problem that is likely to continue, especially considering three cities (Austin, Charleston and Myrtle Beach) are hoping to add to the postseason party this fall.
Here's what can change by June: the standard for bowl eligibility and who certifies the bowls. Right now, the standard is 6-6, and the NCAA certifies bowls, but it's a process that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said "has eroded" and Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said "has gone dormant."
(Read: YOU get a bowl! And YOU get a bowl! And YOU get a bowl!)
A committee representing all 10 FBS conferences and comprised of commissioners, athletic directors and one student-athlete has been tasked with settling this debate: Who deserves to be bowl-eligible? Should the bar be raised to 7-5? Should it stay at 6-6? Should bowls go "dark" if there aren't enough qualified teams, or should 5-7 teams be allowed in if their academic scores merit it?
"The one thing I haven't heard any dissenting opinion on is we're not going to let a bowl go dark," said Barbour, who is part of the bowl-working group. "We're going to have to take teams under 6-6. How do you determine that? I think everybody was really satisfied with doing it based on academic merit."
Akron coach Terry Bowden said a 5-7 bowl team is "kind of queasy for everybody to stomach," but he wouldn't go so far as to nix the idea. After all, Bowden led the Zips to their first bowl win in program history in 2015.
"I've heard a lot of people say over the years, 'Who cares about this bowl?' and 'Who cares about that bowl?'" Bowden said. "I'll tell you who cares: All of the players who are playing in that bowl and all of those fans, they care about it.
"I've never seen a group of people more excited to go to Boise, Idaho, than Akron. It made our kids champions."
Good luck finding a coach who disagrees -- not to mention passes on the chance at extra practice.
Last season, three 5-7 teams were granted waivers to play in bowl games because of their APR scores, and all of them -- Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State -- won.
"If you don't dip into the ranks of the 5-7, we would've had three bowls that didn't play," said Bowlsby, the committee's chair. "The unfair aspect of that, of course, is that you end up with a team that has done everything they're supposed to do and a city that's done everything they're supposed to do, and all of a sudden, somebody on the other side of the contract doesn't qualify, so they can't have the game."
Don't worry, 5-7 is not the new 6-6. In fact, it might be more difficult to qualify for a bowl game in 2016.
"I'm not going to put a stake in the ground over 6-6 vs. 7-5," Barbour said, "but if we could build it today, which this committee is going to have some opportunity to do that, I would like to see it be 7-5."
"I'm not at this point, personally, of the mind that 5-7 is deserving, per se," said Arizona State athletic director and bowl working group member Ray Anderson. "I'm more inclined to say 6-6, at least, is an arguably deserving record, but I haven't made a final determination because I haven't heard all the final arguments."
"You can capably argue either side of it," Bowlsby said. "Coming up with an artful solution that's fair will be a challenge."
But not as challenging, apparently, as finding 80 teams that hit the six-win mark.