NCF Nation: bowl-look-110611

The Big Ten isn't the nation's best conference this year, but it doesn't lack for excitement.

Week 10 brought two more upsets -- Iowa over Michigan and Northwestern over Nebraska -- and shook up the Legends Division race. As a result, the bowl projections also shuffle a bit. Iowa became bowl eligible with its sixth victory, and Northwestern's bowl hopes received a huge boost after the win in Lincoln.

These projections remain largely a crap-shoot as the final three weeks of the regular season are sure to bring more surprises. But as always, we'll give it our best shot.

We're projecting Michigan State (Legends) and Penn State (Leaders) to reach the inaugural Big Ten championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. Not sure if the Land Grant Trophy will make an appearance, but the Spartans and Nittany Lions certainly can get to Naptown. We're projecting Michigan State to win and earn the Big Ten's automatic BCS bowl berth, while Penn State, like many title game losers, won't get an at-large berth. We project Penn State to win its next two games but fall at Wisconsin, which will win out.

The Outback, Insight and Gator bowls will have some appealing choices as Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska will be in the mix for the spots. Nebraska has arguably the toughest remaining schedule of the three. Iowa and Illinois trade places on this week's projections, and Northwestern re-enters the mix as it faces a favorable schedule down the stretch. Purdue's recent road struggles combined with wins by both Iowa and Northwestern leave the Boilers on the outside looking in.

OK, enough chatter. Here are the projections:

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

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Wisconsin vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs. SEC team

Outback Bowl: Ohio State vs. SEC team

Insight Bowl: Michigan vs. Big 12 team Gator Bowl: Nebraska 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: Northwestern vs. MAC team

Big 12 bowl projections: Week 11

November, 6, 2011
Here's a glance at the bowl picture in the Big 12 with a few weeks left in the season.

It'll be close at the bottom of the league, but for now, I'll give Missouri the benefit of the doubt. Texas Tech will need to play well, too, with two wins needed for a trip to a bowl.

Allstate BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma State vs. BCS

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. BCS

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas vs. SEC

Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. Pac-12

Insight Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Big Ten

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. Pac-12

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

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Missouri vs. Big East

Pac-12 bowl projections: Week 11

November, 6, 2011
Projecting the bowls based on the 10 weeks of games.

Allstate BCS National Championship Game: Stanford vs. BCS team

Rose Bowl Game: Oregon vs. Big Ten

Valero Alamo: Arizona State vs. Big 12

Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Washington vs. Big 12

Hyundai Sun: Utah vs. ACC

MAACO Las Vegas: UCLA vs. Mountain West

Kraft Fight Hunger: California vs. ACC or Army

Gildan New Mexico: No team vs. Mountain West

SEC bowl projections: Week 11

November, 6, 2011
We'd moved LSU to the top of the SEC's bowl pecking order a few weeks ago and caught a little flack.

Well, after LSU's 9-6 victory over Alabama in overtime Saturday, the Tigers are clearly the team to beat in the SEC, although Arkansas might have something to say about that Nov. 25.

The Hogs could potentially make it a three-way tie if they can win out and take down the Tigers in Baton Rouge to end the regular season.

In the meantime, we still have LSU and Alabama in the top two bowl spots, both playing in New Orleans:

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: Mississippi State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Tennessee

BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 7: Vanderbilt

ACC bowl projections: Week 11

November, 6, 2011
Welcome to the club, Virginia and Florida State. For the Hoos, it will be their first trip to the postseason since 2007. For the Seminoles, it will be their 30th consecutive bowl game, the nation's longest active streak. Boston College and Maryland will be home for the holidays. Wake Forest, NC State and Miami are all one win away from bowl eligibility. Here's the latest lineup, with a few slight changes from last week, starting in Charlotte:

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia Tech

Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech

Belk Bowl: NC State

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Virginia

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Miami

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: North Carolina

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Wake Forest

Big East bowl projections: Week 10

November, 6, 2011
Welcome back, Louisville.

BCS, Discover Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. ACC. The Bearcats are now 3-0 in league play after coming from behind yet again in a win over Pitt. They have the easiest road to making it to the BCS game because Louisville is the only team with one conference loss, and that came against the Bearcats.

Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame. The Irish are 6-3, and I still think would be the most attractive option for this game in Orlando. Remember, the Champs Sports Bowl can take Notre Dame once in a four-year cycle provided it is 7-5 or better.

Belk Bowl: West Virginia vs. ACC. The Mountaineers have dropped two Big East games, but they are a good geographic fit here and I think would be a good match.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Big 12. The Scarlet Knights are bowl eligible after missing out last season and are a perfect option for the New York bowl.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Louisville vs. SEC. The Cardinals have won three straight, and it is quite possible that they win out. Their final three games: home to Pitt, then at UConn and at USF. None of those teams have winning records. They definitely win at least one of those to become bowl eligible.

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: Syracuse vs. Conference USA. This one is a toss-up right now between Syracuse and USF. The Orange will become bowl eligible with one more win. But USF has dropped four straight and needs to win two of its final four at Syracuse, then home to Miami, Louisville and West Virginia. That could happen, but I do not have a lot of confidence that it does right now.
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