NCF Nation: bowl look 101412
This is the net result when you have three dominant teams, each with the capability of winning 10-plus games.
BCS, Orange, Jan. 1 -- Louisville vs. ACC. The Cardinals look like the most complete team on offense, but have to work on shoring up the D.
Russell Athletic, Dec. 28 -- Rutgers vs. ACC. Rutgers is 6-0, and Kyle Flood is the only first-year coach who remains undefeated.
Belk, Dec. 27 -- Cincinnati vs. ACC. We will know more about Cincinnati once it resumes Big East play.
New Era Pinstripe, Dec. 29 -- Pitt vs. Big 12. I still see four winnable games on the schedule. The finale versus USF could determine bowl eligibility for both.
BBVA Compass, Jan. 5, 2013 -- No team eligible.
Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 21 -- No team eligible.
ASU and UCLA move up with the victories; Stanford drops with the loss.
We’re left with the same dilemma as we had last week with the last two spots. Utah’s chances took a huge hit with the loss at UCLA. Of its six remaining games, only one is against a ranked team (Oregon State), but going a minimum of 4-2 in the second half is going to be tough. Even last year, the Utes were still 3-3 at the turn before they went on their run.
Oct. 27 looks like a huge swing game for both the Utes and Cal -- their opponent. The Bears, winners of two straight, could get to .500 with a win in the Big Game next week. That would set up a very intriguing matchup with the Utes. And if they win that, they'll be at five wins with Washington, Oregon and Oregon State to close out the year.
The Huskies are through their seven-week meat grinder with a .500 record. Could have been worse. Oregon State is the only ranked team on the back end for the Huskies, so at least three wins are expected. But next week’s showdown with Arizona is interesting. The Wildcats, also 3-3, are coming off the bye. So Saturday’s meeting in Tucson is also a huge swing game for both teams.
BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7: Oregon vs. BCS 1 or 2
Rose Bowl Game, Jan. 1: Oregon State vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo, Dec. 29: USC vs. Big 12
Bridgepoint Education Holiday, Dec. 27: Arizona State vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun, Dec. 31: UCLA vs. ACC
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Dec. 22: Stanford vs. MWC
Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29: Washington vs. Navy
Gildan New Mexico, Dec. 15: Arizona vs. MWC
Oh, Gene Smith. If only Ohio State had self-imposed a bowl ban in 2011 before the NCAA did (for 2012), there's a good chance the unbeaten Buckeyes would be headed to some BCS game, perhaps the big one Jan. 7 in Miami.
As it stands, Ohio State is out of the mix (along with Penn State), and Michigan, despite two losses to top-10 teams, looks like the Big Ten's best bet to reach the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines have been dominant in their first two Big Ten games, and enter a crucial Legends stretch against Michigan State and Nebraska. Right now, Brady Hoke's squad clearly is the team to beat.
Wisconsin makes a nice move in the projections after dismantling Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium. Following back-to-back trips to Pasadena, the Badgers are pegged for a familiar bowl site -- Orlando, Fla. -- in the Capital One Bowl. Nebraska drops a spot in the projections, partly because of its struggles and partly because it visited the Capital One Bowl last season. Iowa, meanwhile, moves up after its road upset of Michigan State. Although Iowa and Northwestern could finish with similar records, Iowa's larger fan base gets it the nod to the Gator Bowl.
Michigan State, our preseason Rose Bowl pick, tumbles to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas following its third home loss of the season. The Spartans could be looking at more defeats, as their upcoming schedule (Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska) only gets tougher.
We're keeping both Minnesota and Purdue in the bowl projections for now, but both teams have some work to do. The Gophers certainly could get to six wins with MarQueis Gray, but the senior quarterback's health remains a question mark. Purdue is an absolute mess and could have a tough time winning three more times. Indiana isn't in the projections just yet but has shown impressive fight in Big Ten play and has some winnable games left.
Here's our latest way-too-early stab at projecting the postseason:
Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Northwestern
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Michigan State
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Minnesota
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Purdue
- Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 1: Florida State
- Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: Clemson
- Russell Athletic Bowl, Dec. 28: Virginia Tech
- Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31: NC State
- Belk Bowl, Dec. 27: Maryland
- Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 31: Miami
- Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 28: Duke
- Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Dec. 28: Wake Forest
Once again, I'll be placing nine Big 12 teams in bowls for now, until the math demands I cut one. It's going to be nearly impossible to get nine teams in bowls, but nine Big 12 teams are playing bowl-quality football. No doubt about it.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. BCS at-large
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. BCS at-large
AT&T Cotton Bowl: West Virginia vs. SEC No. 3/4
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Pac-12 No. 2
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Big Ten No. 4/5
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: TCU vs. Pac-12 No. 3
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Baylor vs. Big Ten No. 6
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Big East No. 4
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Iowa State vs. Big Ten
- Discover BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7: Alabama
- Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2: Florida
- Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: South Carolina
- AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 4: LSU
- Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Georgia
- Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: Mississippi State
- Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Texas A&M
- Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 31: Arkansas
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Tennessee
- BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 5: Ole Miss
- Advocare Independence Bowl, Dec. 28: Vanderbilt