NCF Nation: bowl-look-102311

Michigan State's win against Wisconsin shook up the Big Ten race. And it also has caused some aftershocks in our bowl projections.

We would not be surprised to see the Spartans and Badgers meet again in Indianapolis for a Big Ten title game rematch. (And, frankly, after that instant classic, we'd very much enjoy that development). Given how impressive they've looked the past three games, we have to put Michigan State on top of our bowl projections and in the coveted Rose Bowl slot (the BCS title game option has been vaporized, naturally).

We also flip-flopped Iowa and Illinois from last week. The Hawkeyes should get their third straight win next week, against Minnesota, while Illinois has lost two straight and must go to State College in Week 9. Plus, Iowa's fan base is always attractive to bowls.

Finally, we kicked Northwestern out of the projections as the Wildcats lost their fifth straight game, falling to 2-5. We instead give the final conference tie-in to Purdue, which upset Illinois on Saturday. The Boilermakers still have to win two more games, but they do get to play Indiana and have a lot more momentum right now than Northwestern.

Without further ado:

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO: Michigan State vs. BCS team

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Wisconsin vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl: Nebraska vs. SEC team

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. SEC team

Insight Bowl: Penn State vs. Big 12 team Gator Bowl: Ohio State vs. SEC team

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Iowa vs. Big 12 team

TicketCity Bowl: Illinois vs. Big 12 team

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Purdue vs. MAC team

SEC bowl projections: Week 8

October, 23, 2011
Yes, we're making a change at the top this week.

Beating Alabama at home is a tall order. We understand that and are still not sold that it's going to happen on Nov. 5. But the fact remains that LSU has simply been too good and too dominant to ignore.

So until proven otherwise, we're going with LSU in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. Of course, given what happened Saturday with Oklahoma and Wisconsin both losing, it's possible we could see an all-SEC affair in the national title game.

Maybe the big showdown in two weeks will be the first of two between Alabama and LSU. The rest of the college football world would love that.

Heading into the final weekend of October, here's how we see the SEC bowl lineup shaking out:

Allstate BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 9: LSU

Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 3: Alabama

Capital One Bowl: Jan. 2: Arkansas

AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 6: South Carolina

Outback Bowl, Jan. 2: Georgia

Gator Bowl, Jan. 2: Auburn

Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: Florida

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30: Tennessee

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Mississippi State

BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 7: Vanderbilt

Pac-12 bowl projections: Week 8

October, 23, 2011
Projecting the bowls based on the eighth week of games.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Stanford vs. Alabama-LSU winner
Rose Bowl Game: Oregon vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo: Arizona State vs. Big 12
Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Washington vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun: California vs. ACC
MAACO Las Vegas: Utah vs. Mountain West
Kraft Fight Hunger: No team vs. ACC or Army
Gildan New Mexico: No team vs. Big 12

Big 12 bowl projections: Week 8

October, 23, 2011
Here's how I see the Big 12 bowl picture shaking out by season's end.

OSU slides into the title spot and controls its own fate. For now, I'll hang on to the Sooners as a second BCS spot for the Big 12. OU only dropped to No. 9 in the BCS standings, and if they keep winning and beating teams like Texas A&M and Kansas State, a second loss to Oklahoma State wouldn't drop them too far. It'll be close, but the Sooners strong history should work in their favor and slide them into the BCS as an at-large team.

Allstate BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma State vs. BCS

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. BCS

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

Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. Pac-12

Insight Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Big Ten

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. Pac-12

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Missouri vs. Big Ten

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Texas vs. Big East

ACC bowl projections: Week 9

October, 23, 2011
It's not easy doing these bowl projections when only three teams -- Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech -- are actually bowl eligible. Wake Forest and North Carolina are both one-game shy of the six-win mark, and they play each other next week. Everyone else is on the fringe right now, but some teams are closer than others. At No. 5 in the most recent BCS standings, Clemson has inched closer to playing for the national title, but the Tigers still need some help before you see that prediction here.

Here's a look at the latest bowl lineup for the ACC:

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech

Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech

Belk Bowl: North Carolina

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Miami

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Wake Forest

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: NC State

Big East bowl projections: Week 8

October, 23, 2011
The Big East is a free-for-all and well, my bowl projections have turned into a free-for-all, too. This is how I am projecting the season ending, but these projections are subject to change week to week. If any of you have figured out how this ride is going to end, I would love to hear what you think.

BCS, Discover Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. ACC. The Bearcats are in control of the league race as the only 2-0 team. Does that mean they are going to run the table and win out? I think there is going to be a slip up somewhere, but I also think every team in the league will have at least one conference loss. Cincinnati does get West Virginia at home, but also has three road games left, including at Syracuse on Nov. 26.

Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame. Still going with the Irish here. I had projected 9-3 for the Irish when the year started, but now I think they go 8-4 (loss to Stanford). Remember, the Champs Sports Bowl can take Notre Dame once in a four-year cycle provided it is 7-5 or better. I think it is going to be a tough break for Syracuse, which I would slot here if the Irish were a non-factor.

Belk Bowl: West Virginia vs. ACC. The Mountaineers were exposed in a loss to Syracuse, and must fix serious weaknesses on the offensive and defensive lines, and their inability to play a complete game. Two weeks ago, I boldly predicted they would run the table in conference. Now I think there is the very real possibility they drop one more in league play. I always urge caution when trying to project out the rest of the season because Syracuse was only one game. We have to try and remember what got West Virginia to No. 15 in the first place. But there are a few teams left on the schedule that traditionally cause the Mountaineers problems.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Big 12. The Scarlet Knights will eventually become bowl eligible, and this is the perfect fit -- especially since Syracuse played here last year. The bowl would not want a repeat team.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Syracuse vs. SEC. These bowl projections have made it hard to put Syracuse higher for a few reasons: Notre Dame and geographic factors. Though Syracuse beat West Virginia, I think the Belk Bowl would take the Mountaineers because they are closer and travel better; Pinstripe would go with Rutgers for the reason stated above. I think Syracuse is going to finish strong, but with Notre Dame still a factor my first opening for the Orange is right here. Remember, this is for this week. If Notre Dame goes 7-5, I think Champs goes with the best available Big East team. But an 8-4 Notre Dame team might be hard to pass up for the folks in Orlando.

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: USF vs. Conference USA. This one is a toss-up right now between the Bulls and the Panthers. Both are going to have a tough time becoming bowl eligible from here on out. USF has a very difficult schedule ahead; Pitt has played terribly. I think both do become bowl eligible, and USF lands here because it is next door to home.

At-large: Pitt. I still believe the Panthers will get to six wins, but they are going to have to win three of these five games: UConn, Cincinnati, at Louisville, at West Virginia and Syracuse.
  • Week 7
  • Week 6
  • Week 5
  • Week 4
  • Week 3
  • Week 2
  • Week 1
  • Preseason