NCF Nation: 2010 bowl countdown

Bowls lack luster so far

December, 27, 2010
12/27/10
3:30
PM ET
We have all been told of the virtues of having a bowl system from the BCS proponents, but nothing about it seems virtuous after more than a week of games. Nearly all of them have been total stinkers. Granted, not every game is going to be close. Many people are not overly excited about watching Troy vs. Ohio, either. But is it too much to ask for games that are competitive for more than a half?

Of the eight games that have been played so far, only two have been decided by three points or less. The most exciting happened Sunday night in Detroit, when FIU kicker Jack Griffin nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Panthers a 34-32 win against Toledo. This one threatened to be a rout like most of the others after Toledo went up 24-7. But FIU showed a fight missing from many other teams this bowl season.

In the six other games, the average margin of victory has been 24.8 points a game. Last season, three of the first nine games were decided by four points or less, including Wyoming's double-overtime win against Fresno State. The average margin of victory in the others was 18.5 points. Not close games, but not as bad as this season.

The biggest disappointments so far in 2010: Utah in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against Boise State. People wanted this to be a good game because it featured two ranked teams. But the Utes did everything they could to give the game to the Broncos, failing to take advantage of seven Boise State turnovers. Instead, Utah ended up with eight first downs and 200 total yards. Granted, backup Terrance Cain started at quarterback, but the Utes looked totally inept.

Hawaii also laid an egg in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Tulsa. The Warriors earned a share of the WAC championship and won 10 games in the regular-season for the first time since their Sugar Bowl season of 2007. But the offensive showcase we thought we would see turned into a one-sided affair because Bryant Moniz kept throwing the ball to Tulsa. Moniz had a career-high four interceptions and Hawaii had six turnovers on its home field, closing what was a good season on a disappointing note.

Hopefully the rest of the bowl season gives us more games like FIU-Toledo and fewer like Troy-Ohio. Here are a few I am looking forward to watching, aside from the BCS national championship game:

Notre Dame vs. Miami, Hyundai Sun Bowl, Friday: I really hope this is a good game, but I just want to tune in for tradition's sake. Very few games rivaled the peak of this rivalry during the time of the Catholics vs. Convicts. It is just good to see the teams matched up again.

South Carolina vs. Florida State, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Friday: Whether you are from the South or not, the appeal of watching Steve Spurrier go against his former nemesis is always intriguing. Spurrier has said recently that he doesn't hate Florida State anymore, but you have to wonder how true that really is. When he played at Florida in the 1960s, he had a sticker on his helmet that read, "Never FSU, Never."

TCU vs. Wisconsin, Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, Saturday: You knew this one would go right on the list. The ultimate matchup between a smashmouth offense and the No. 1 defense in the nation. But more importantly, how TCU plays will have an impact on non-AQ teams everywhere. TCU really needs to win this game badly because of its position as an outsider. Non-AQs are always under so much more scrutiny. The Horned Frogs will be feeling that for the first time in a BCS game, since they played Boise State last season.

Non-AQ bowl breakdown

December, 6, 2010
12/06/10
3:30
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Hopefully you already have seen our quick breakdown of all 35 bowl games. Now here are some of my quick thoughts on the games involving non-AQ teams.

Granddaddy of ‘em all: Anybody out there who says Wisconsin is going to wipe the floor with TCU gets a "not so fast, my friend." The Horned Frogs are the best defense the Badgers will face this season -- the No. 1 defense in the nation for the third straight season. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall says what makes TCU so good at stopping the run is the Horned Frogs do not have to put extra guys in the box. TCU is physical and quick, but more importantly, excellent reactors to what the offense is doing. Much of that is because of safety Tejay Johnson. It is easy to look at the big-time points Wisconsin had dropped down the stretch, but take a look at the opponents before you start calling the Badgers an unstoppable juggernaut. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs know exactly what is on the line in this game. They voted to skip Christmas at home so they could spend extra time preparing in California, and asked coach Gary Patterson to enforce a stricter curfew than he did last season for the Fiesta Bowl. “I think for us to keep climbing the mountain we need to [win],” Patterson said. “We’re not going there just to play well.”

Matchup I wanted to see: Boise State vs. Ohio State Fightin’ Orville Redenbachers. Yes, I know how the BCS system works and why Arkansas ended up in the Sugar Bowl. But how great would it have been to see Boise State take on Ohio State in a Little Sisters of the Poor vs. Big Bad Big Ten matchup?

Matchup we got instead: Boise State vs. Utah. Instead, the Broncos are paired up in a bowl game against another non-AQ school. Ho hum. This is really going to prove a lot if Boise State wins. I know Utah has an awesome bowl winning streak -- nine straight -- but it’s hard to see how competitive a game this is going to be for several reasons. 1. Utah starting QB Jordan Wynn is out. Yes, I know Terrance Cain is perfectly capable as the backup, but Wynn was outstanding in the Poinsettia Bowl last year. 2. TCU beat Utah 47-7. Here is Utah coach Kyle Whittingham’s evaluation of Boise State: the Broncos remind him of TCU. Oh, brother.

Non-AQ best bets: Six bowl games feature matchups between non-AQ teams and teams from automatic qualifying conferences. It is too early to make my picks, but of those six, my initial thought is that everyone but East Carolina (vs. Maryland) and UCF (vs. Georgia) will have an excellent chance to win. I think the Pirates' defense is going to have problems trying to slow down Maryland WR Torrey Smith, and UCF is going to have problems stopping Georgia WR A.J. Green.

Non-AQ worst bet: Three MAC-Sun Belt games are on tap. Nothing against those teams or those games, but the one that could draw the least interest is the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl between Troy and Ohio. The Trojans are not as good as they were in years' past, and Ohio just laid an egg with the MAC East on the line.

Favorite non-AQ matchups: In order of most intriguing: 1. TCU vs. Wisconsin, Rose Bowl. 2. Tulsa vs. Hawaii, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. 3. Navy vs. San Diego State, S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. 4. Boise State vs. Utah, MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. 5a. Nevada vs. Boston College, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. 5b. Air Force vs. Georgia Tech, AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.

Shafted: You have got to feel for the Temple Owls, who went 8-4 with a win over Connecticut, and missed out on a bowl game. Losing two in a row to bowl teams Ohio and Miami (Ohio) to close the season did them in. Coach Al Golden did everything he could to hide his anger in this statement:

“I'm disappointed for our student-athletes, especially for a remarkable group of seniors who are the first group since 1982 to graduate Temple with a winning record. It's unfortunate for everyone in the Temple community, because this is a team truly worthy of a bowl. We played seven postseason teams, including all four nonconference opponents. We finished 8-4, 3-1 out of conference and beat three postseason teams, including a BCS win over Big East champion UConn.”

MAC, Sun Belt bowl lineup set

December, 5, 2010
12/05/10
5:28
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The MAC and Sun Belt will face off in three bowl games, while Northern Illinois will play Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl as both conferences announced their lineups.

MAC champion Miami (Ohio) will play Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 6, while Toledo faces co-Sun Belt champ FIU in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit and Ohio plays co-Sun Belt champ Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18. The Humanitarian Bowl is also Dec. 18 on the blue turf in Boise, Idaho.

Temple (8-4) and Western Michigan (6-6) were bowl eligible MAC teams but failed to get bowl bids. The Owls, a popular preseason pick to play for the MAC championship, lost two straight to end the season and that essentially hurt their chances It was the final decision of the New Orleans Bowl, which decided to go with Ohio. The Bobcats beat Temple 31-23 in the second-to-last game of the season.

Still, this year marks the first time in conference history that the MAC will have at least four schools playing bowl games in three consecutive years. The MAC has sent four or more teams to bowl games in five of the last seven years.

Meanwhile, the Sun Belt has three teams in bowl games for the first time in league history.

Northern Illinois (10-3, 8-0 MAC) is making its third straight bowl appearance under coach Jerry Kill, but comes into the game after a heartbreaking loss to Miami in the MAC championship. Fresno State (8-4) closed out the season with a 25-23 win over Illinois, its 17th over a team from an AQ conference since 2000.

Ohio (8-4) is making its second consecutive bowl appearance, while Troy (7-5) will be making its third appearance in this game. Troy has won at least a share of the Sun Belt title for five straight seasons.

Toledo (8-4) is making its first bowl appearance since the 2005 season (GMAC Bowl), while FIU is making its first ever bowl appearance after clinching a share of its first conference title.

Miami (9-4) has recorded the best turnaround in college football with an eight win improvement over last season (1-11 in 2009). Miami will be making its first bowl appearance since the 2004 Independence Bowl. Middle Tennessee (6-6) became bowl eligible with its 28-27 win over FIU on Saturday and is making back-to-back.

Nevada to Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

December, 5, 2010
12/05/10
12:46
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Nevada will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against an opponent from the ACC, the game announced late Saturday night after the Wolf Pack beat Louisiana Tech for a share of the WAC title.

To cap the best season in school history, No. 17 Nevada (12-1) will play Jan. 9 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The game chose between Nevada and Boise State. The Wolf Pack beat Boise State 34-31 in overtime last week to knock the Broncos out of the BCS picture.

"With the No. 1 pick in the WAC, we were fortunate to have two very attractive options -- Nevada and Boise State," Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said in a statement. "These are two exciting, high scoring teams, both ranked in the top 15 in the country. But Nevada won it on the field, and they were clearly more excited about coming to San Francisco. We're looking forward to welcoming the Pack to San Francisco and having their fans fill the stands at AT&T Park."

The move clears the way for a potential matchup between Boise State and Utah in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, but nothing is certain.

The Broncos and Fresno State are the only two WAC teams that haven't announced their bowl destinations yet. The MAC and Sun Belt also haven't made any announcements, while the Mountain West and Conference USA have their bowl games set. Stay tuned for more Sunday.

C-USA bowl lineup set

December, 4, 2010
12/04/10
5:29
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The Conference USA bowl lineup is officially set: League champion UCF is headed to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Tulsa will play Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and SMU will play Army in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

UCF will be making it second appearance in the Liberty Bowl, against an SEC opponent. The Knights won their second C-USA conference title Saturday with a 17-7 win against SMU, but are 0-3 in bowl appearances. Their opponent for the Dec. 31 game is not scheduled to be announced until Sunday, and depends on how many teams the SEC gets into the BCS.

Tulsa and Hawaii should provide plenty of offensive fireworks. Both are ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in total offense: the Golden Hurricane at No. 5 and Hawaii at No. 10. Tulsa has won six straight games. The Golden Hurricane are making their first Hawaii Bowl appearance. The game is Dec. 24.

SMU will make its second straight bowl appearance after a 25-year absence. The Mustangs get to play in their home stadium Dec. 30, as the Armed Forces Bowl has been moved to their campus while renovations to nearby Amon G. Carter Stadium at TCU are completed.

The other C-USA bowl teams already have been announced: UTEP will play BYU in the New Mexico Bowl; Southern Miss will play a Big East team in the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, and East Carolina will play an ACC opponent in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman.

This marks the fifth time in the past six years that the league has sent six teams to postseason play.

UTEP to face BYU in New Mexico Bowl

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
5:27
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UTEP will face BYU in the New Mexico Bowl, the first bowl appearance for the Miners since 2005. The game will be played Dec. 18 to kick off the bowl season.

The two former WAC rivals will meet for the first time since 1998. BYU (6-6) has won 25 of the past 27 meetings between the two schools. This game generally features a matchup between the Mountain West and WAC, but the Miners' proximity to New Mexico helped in the decision.

"We're excited about renewing our long-standing rivalry with BYU in the New Mexico Bowl," UTEP coach Mike Price said in a statement. "It's a great opportunity for our fans to drive down for the game, enjoy postseason play and take in the great city of Albuquerque."

UTEP (6-6) has posted a 5-7 bowl record and is seeking its first postseason win since 1967. Both teams are making their first appearance in the game.
The Mountain West has its bowl lineup nearly set.

Utah is headed to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, while Air Force is going to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, BYU will play in the New Mexico Bowl and San Diego State will stay at home and play Navy in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

The schools and bowls made the announcements Wednesday night.

No. 3 TCU is the only team awaiting its bowl destination. If Oregon and Auburn win this weekend, the Horned Frogs will play in the Rose Bowl as the top automatic qualifier from the non-AQ teams. If one of those teams lose, it is possible the Horned Frogs would play for the BCS national championship.

No. 20 Utah (10-2) will play in Las Vegas on Dec. 22 against a team that will be announced this weekend. This is the Utes' first appearance in the game since 2001. Utah has won nine straight bowl games.

Air Force (8-4) will play an ACC team in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 27. Its opponent will be announced on Sunday. The Falcons become the first service academy team to play in the Independence Bowl since Army in 1996.

BYU (6-6) rallied from a 1-4 start to make another bowl game. The Cougars will play in the game Dec. 18 against a yet to be determined opponent from the WAC. The Cougars had made five straight appearances in Las Vegas.

San Diego State (8-4) is making its first bowl appearance since 1998. The game is set for Dec. 23 at Qualcomm Stadium, where the Aztecs play their home games. Navy (8-3) has a tie-in to this game.

TCU's move to Big East tops mailbag

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
3:30
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Welcome to another Wednesday edition of the mailbag. Thanks to all for submitting your questions and comments. We had a lot of the same questions this week about TCU going to the Big East, Boise State's loss and bowl scenarios. A few things off the bat:

1. I have already written about the WAC stance on Kyle Brotzman’s missed 26-yard field goal at the end of regulation, and the kick-catch interference rule, so check that out for the answers to your questions.

2. Yes, the alleged fumble on BYU's Brandon Bradley was not a fumble. The replay booth failed to overturn the call, and that ended up leading to the game-winning score. Is it karma for what happened against San Diego State?

Now on to some questions:

Bob in Atlanta writes:Why is nobody talking about why the Big 12 didn't make a run at TCU? It's their historical home in the old SWC and would have been a much better fit geographically.

Andrea Adelson:Simple, Bob. TCU doesn't give the Big 12 an expanded footprint. What that means is TCU is in the same state as several other Big 12 schools, so the Big 12 would not be able to get anything from TV money with the addition of TCU. To put it bluntly: TCU adds no value to what the Big 12 already has.

Chris in Fullerton, Calif., writes:Another on thought on everyone's poor Boise now that TCU is going to the Big East. Boise will be the only non-AQ with any stature. They could become the first one-loss, non-AQ to play in a BCS bowl game due to the status they have earned. Also, what non-AQ conference champion will challenge the MWC champion for the highest ranking? I see the MWC being ranked high enough annually to earn the non-AQ bid into the BCS. Unless, of course, the haves change the rules for the have-nots.

Adelson writes:Excellent point, Chris. There is no other team out there in a non-AQ conference with the stature of the Broncos. This could be the last season we see two non-AQs jockeying for BCS position, and for a spot in the BCS national title game. Remember, that one-loss team still has to finish in the Top 12 of the final BCS standings to be the automatic qualifier, or Top 16 if it is ranked higher than a champion from an AQ conference. But I still think the overall strength of this conference took a hit, and it is no gimme it will become an automatic qualifier, even though TCU’s credentials will count during this evaluation period.

(Read full post)

East Carolina, Southern Miss go bowling

November, 30, 2010
11/30/10
12:57
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Let the bowl invites begin.

East Carolina, Southern Miss and Army joined Hawaii and Navy as the only schools in the nation to definitively know their bowl destinations. The Pirates accepted a bid to play in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and Southern Miss will head to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg. East Carolina will play an ACC team; Southern Miss will play a Big East team. Army also accepted its bid and is headed to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to play a Conference USA opponent on Dec. 30.

The Pirates (6-6) are headed to their fifth straight bowl, a good accomplishment under first-year coach Ruffin McNeill considering all the starters who were gone from the 2009 C-USA championship team. Still, this is a squad that is going to have to get much better on defense to get back to its perch atop the East.

Southern Miss (8-4) heads to its ninth straight bowl game, the longest active streak in the league, and has had to overcome plenty the last several weeks. Three players were shot after a fight at a club spilled outside to the parking lot. Linebacker Martez Smith suffered the most serious injury, and is paralyzed from the waist down. The Golden Eagles went 1-1 following the tragic events -- winning a shootout over Houston but losing a shootout to Tulsa.

Army (6-5) goes to a bowl game for the first time since 1996. Hawaii is headed to the Hawaii Bowl, while Navy is headed to the Poinsettia Bowl.

C-USA has six bowl eligible teams, enough to fill its guaranteed spots. The winner of the C-USA title game between UCF and SMU is likely headed to the Liberty Bowl. C-USA also has tie-ins to the Hawaii Bowl, Armed Forces Bowl and New Orleans Bowl. Tulsa and UTEP are the other two bowl-eligible teams.
The Big Ten's big three all won Saturday, so the projected selection order doesn't change.

Is it fair to Michigan State? Absolutely not. But the bowl system never claimed to be fair. The Spartans have a strong case for BCS selection based on what happened between the lines, but these decisions typically are based on outside factors. Maybe the big bowls surprise us this year, but Michigan State almost certainly will be on the outside looking in.

Saturday wasn't good for the Big Ten's other bowl eligible teams, aside from Illinois, which didn't play. Northwestern and Michigan both ended the regular season with back-to-back blowout losses, while Iowa ended on a three-game slide. While Penn State showed more fire in its game against Michigan State, the Lions clearly aren't an elite squad this year.

The most interesting decision rests with the Outback Bowl, which likely will decide between Penn State and Iowa.

Illinois' regular-season finale on Friday at Fresno State could impact things, although I don't think it will.

My projections are exactly the same as they were a week ago:

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. BCS team

Sugar or Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl: Michigan State vs. SEC team

Outback Bowl: Penn State vs. SEC team

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. SEC team

Insight Bowl: Michigan vs. Big 12 team

Texas Bowl: Illinois vs. Big 12 team

TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern vs. Big 12 team

The Big Ten won't fill its slot in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota aren't bowl eligible.

Week 13 bowl predictions

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:30
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The results of this past weekend coupled with the firing of former Miami coach Randy Shannon opened up the possibilities for the ACC’s nine bowl-eligible teams, but the beginning and the end of the selection process are unlikely to change. Virginia Tech and Florida State, the two division winners, will be the first two chosen, and Boston College will probably still be the last team taken.

The Champs Sports Bowl is the one that will determine how the rest of the selection process unfolds this year. If it doesn’t take Maryland – a deserving, eight-win team, it’s quite possible the Terps still fall as far as the Military Bowl. While an uneventful “home game” in a lower-tier bowl isn’t fair to Ralph Friedgen’s team considering the turnaround it has had this year, ticket sales still remain a driving factor in the selection process, and attendance in Byrd Stadium has been lacking. Again.

How bowls view Miami’s status with interim head coach Jeff Stoutland will also be a factor, but odds are the program’s national brand will still make the Canes an attractive pick.

Here’s a look at this week’s bowl projections:

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. BCS

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Florida State vs. SEC

Champs Sports Bowl: NC State vs. Big East

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami vs. Pac-10

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Clemson vs. Big East

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: North Carolina vs. SEC

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Maryland vs. Mountain West

Military Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Conference USA

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College vs. WAC

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:30
PM ET
Some changes in the bowl projections this week, with Stanford and Washington leading the charge.

We continue to project Oregon in the national title game, only we have replaced the Ducks' opponent. It is now Auburn. That matchup will be great fun.

If Auburn wins the SEC title game, that means TCU is going to the Rose Bowl, because of a clause in the BCS contract. But we are also projecting Stanford will climb into the No. 4 position in the BCS standings, which will earn the Cardinal a guaranteed spot in a BCS bowl, because of a clause in the BCS contract.

See: Sometimes clauses work for you.

The machination of bowl games are often hard to figure, but I am now projecting that Stanford ends up in the Fiesta Bowl. Why? Why not. It makes the most regional sense, and while the Cardinal doesn't have a huge fan base, it will drive TV ratings, with lots of folks tuning in to see quarterback Andrew Luck. And maybe some fans who have Jim Harbaugh on their coaching wish list this Christmas will be interested.

If you want to see an excellent breakdown of Stanford scenarios, go here.

The other big change is Washington to the Holiday Bowl, which means we believe the Huskies will win at Washington State on Saturday and improve to 6-6.

Finally, there's the Territorial Cup: Arizona State at Arizona.

The Sun Devils (5-6) bowl hopes are over. With 70 bowl-eligible teams, there is no need for the Pac-10 to apply for an NCAA waiver for the Sun Devils, who played two FCS teams and therefore, by NCAA rules, need seven wins to earn bowl eligibility.

Arizona State, however, might be able to make the Alamo Bowl think twice about taking the Wildcats. If the Sun Devils win Thursday, Arizona will finish the season with a four-game losing streak. Bowls don't like that.

While Washington lost big at Arizona, and would have a worse overall record, the Huskies would be 5-4 in Pac-10 play, the Wildcats 4-5. That might be enough for the Alamo Bowl to pick Jake Locker -- a big name for the game -- over the Wildcats.

Not sure the Holiday Bowl would be thrilled from a repeat visit from Arizona, but in that scenario it wouldn't have much of a choice.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. Auburn
  • Rose Bowl Game: TCU vs. Big Ten
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Big 12 champion
  • Valero Alamo: Arizona vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Washington vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: No team.
  • MAACO Las Vegas: No team
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: No team.

Big East bowl projections

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:30
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The good news for the Big East bowl picture from over the weekend is that the league has exactly six bowl eligible teams for six spots. The bad news is that Notre Dame won at USC to get its seventh win, making it eligible to take the Big East's No. 2 slot in the Champs Sports Bowl.

I think the Orlando game will snatch up the Irish, who are on a three-game winning streak, leaving one Big East team searching for an at-large spot. And that team will be 6-6 Louisville, which I'm projecting to take the vacant Big Ten spot in the Little Caesars Bowl (Hello, December in Detroit!).

You can tell by the rest of my projections who I expect to win this week's big matchups.

BCS (Fiesta): West Virginia

Meineke Car Care: Connecticut

BBVA Compass: South Florida

New Era Pinstripe: Syracuse

Beef O'Brady's: Pittsburgh

Little Caesars (at-large): Louisville

Eliminated from postseason: Rutgers, Cincinnati

SEC bowl projections

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:30
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For the fifth straight year, it looks like the SEC will get two teams in BCS bowl games.

The big winner this past weekend was Arkansas, which is headed to the Sugar Bowl if Auburn can beat South Carolina this coming Saturday in the SEC championship game and secure a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

The Hogs, who beat LSU 31-23 on Saturday to run their winning streak to six straight games, last played in the Sugar Bowl in 1980. An Arkansas-Ohio State matchup looks like a strong possibility in New Orleans, but only if Auburn wins this coming weekend in Atlanta.

If South Carolina upsets Auburn, then the Gamecocks would play in the Sugar Bowl and Auburn likely in the Orange Bowl.

Georgia and Tennessee both won their games over the weekend to get to six wins and gain bowl eligibility. This will be the 14th straight season that Georgia has gone to a bowl game.

The Vols, who were winless during the month of October, won their last four games to qualify for a bowl. They will likely stay in-state and play in the Music City Bowl against an ACC team.

The bowl matchups will be finalized later this week and following the SEC championship game, but here’s the way I see things shaking out now that the regular season has concluded.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET): Auburn vs. BCS team
  • Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. ET): Arkansas vs. BCS team
  • Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): LSU vs. Big Ten team
  • AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET): Alabama vs. Big 12 team
  • Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): South Carolina vs. Big Ten team
  • Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET): Mississippi State vs. ACC team
  • Gator Bowl (Jan. 1, 1:30 p.m. ET): Florida vs. Big Ten team
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Dec. 30, 6:40 p.m. ET): Tennessee vs. ACC team
  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET): Georgia vs. Conference USA team
  • BBVA Compass Bowl (Jan. 8, noon ET): Kentucky vs. Big East team

Big 12 bowl projections: Week 13

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:30
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The top is mostly settled. The Big 12 champion will go to the Fiesta Bowl, of course, and the Big 12 also has a chance -- albeit a very, very slim one -- to nab a second BCS bid.

The bottom of the bowl projections are mostly settled after Texas Tech and Kansas State took care of business in nonconference games to close the season.

But, oh, that dastardly muddled middle. The loser of the Big 12 title game won't be headed back to Cowboys Stadium five weeks later, but the manner in which it loses will probably have at least some effect on how far it falls. Texas A&M will almost certainly land in the Cotton Bowl, but no order of the next three bowls would surprise me. Very little is settled, and some is dependent on what happens in Dallas next weekend.

And to close matters, there are 70 bowl-eligible teams, so Texas is in the clear to clean out its lockers. No 5-7 teams will be bowling this year.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. BCS

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. SEC

Valero Alamo Bowl: Nebraska vs. Pac-10

Insight Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Big Ten

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Missouri vs. Pac-10

Texas Bowl: Baylor vs. Big Ten

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State vs. Big East

TicketCity Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Big Ten

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