NCF Nation: bowl-look-110710

Big East bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
The Big East bowl picture changes pretty rapidly.

Last Sunday, I had red-hot Syracuse taking the league's No. 2 spot in the Champs Sports Bowl. After the home loss to Louisville over the weekend, I have the Orange staying much closer to home and helping usher in the first postseason football game at new Yankees Stadium. The Cardinals move up a spot in the pecking order, while Rutgers falls out after a tough loss to South Florida dropped the Scarlet Knights to 4-4.

I've got West Virginia in the Champs Sports largely because of the Mountaineers' solid reputation for bringing fans. USF, winner of two straight, jumps up to Birmingham. Cincinnati has to win three of its last four just to qualify for the postseason, so I've got Connecticut going to St. Pete.

That's my story this week, at least.

BCS (Fiesta): Pittsburgh

Champs Sports: West Virginia

Meineke Car Care: Louisville

BBVA Compass (formerly Birmingham): South Florida

Beef 'O' Brady's: Connecticut

New Era Pinstripe: Syracuse

Home for the holidays: Rutgers, Cincinnati

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
There's some happy in this week's bowl projections: Two BCS teams!

And there's some grumpy: Contract bowls with no eligible Pac-10 teams.

First, after watching Boise State and TCU this weekend, I've decided to roll the dice that one or the other will play Oregon for the national title.

That opens the door for Stanford to play in the Rose Bowl. That's my makeup gift for nagging Stanford fans about all those empty seats Saturday.

That's the good news. The bad news is I'm now projecting just five bowl-eligible teams. Which means the Las Vegas Bowl and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl make have to look elsewhere for a Pac-10 team.

The way I see things playing out, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington all finish 5-7.

Of course, what that also means is a one-game swing would create a bowl-eligible team (though ASU needs to be 7-5 to guarantee bowl eligibility). On the other hand, Washington's visit to California on Nov. 27 is a swing game. I've got it being Cal's sixth win (Bears at home!) and the Huskies seventh loss. And if UCLA keeps rolling and wins at Washington on Nov. 18th ... well, you get the point.

Still, as I keep typing: Lots of football to be played. These are for entertainment purposes. I don't want to be seen as a travel agent. Don't book anything yet.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team [a non-AQ]
  • Rose Bowl Game: Stanford vs. Big Ten
  • Valero Alamo: Arizona vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Oregon State vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: California vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: No team
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: No team.

Big Ten bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
Iowa was lucky to get out of Bloomington with a victory. The Hawkeyes aren't so fortunate in this round of Big Ten bowl projections.

I'm now projecting Iowa to lose to Ohio State on Nov. 20. I could change my mind based on the results of Nov. 13, but Ohio State's November record under Jim Tressel combined with an Iowa team that lacks the consistency I'd like to see has led to the switch.

The other new element I'm projecting is a Penn State victory against Michigan State on Nov. 27. This isn't a knock on the Spartans as much as it is what I'm seeing from Penn State in recent weeks. The Nittany Lions are growing up, gaining confidence and starting to show their talent. Michigan State didn't handle a raucous environment in Iowa City, and Penn State will have all the intangibles on its side for the regular-season finale at Beaver Stadium.

Right now, I'm projecting both Wisconsin and Ohio State to win out, which would result in a first-place tie at 7-1 in league play. Wisconsin wins the tiebreaker because of its head-to-head win Oct. 16.

Penn State and Michigan also move up in this week's projections, while Illinois drops.

Here they are:

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. BCS team

Fiesta/Sugar/Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl: Michigan State vs. SEC team

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. SEC team

Gator Bowl: Penn State vs. SEC Team

Insight Bowl: Michigan vs. Big 12 team

Texas Bowl: Illinois vs. Big 12 team

Dallas Football Classic: Northwestern vs. Big 12 team

The Big Ten won't fill its slot in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Minnesota can't get bowl eligible, and neither Purdue nor Indiana is projected to do so.

SEC bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
LSU's bowl options just got a lot more inviting thanks to its 24-21 victory over Alabama on Saturday.

The Tigers (8-1, 5-1) played their way back into the periphery of the national championship picture, but they're in great shape as far as securing an at-large berth in a BCS bowl. An 11-1 LSU team would just about be a lock for a BCS bowl. The only scenario that would probably keep the Tigers out of a BCS bowl, if they do indeed win out, would be Auburn winning out and then getting upset in the SEC championship game.

In that case, the SEC champion (Florida or South Carolina) would be the SEC's automatic invitee to a BCS bowl, and a one-loss Auburn team would likely grab the at-large spot.

Of course, Auburn (10-0, 6-0) has bigger plans.

With Arkansas winning at South Carolina and Alabama losing to LSU and dropping its second game of the season, there's going to be a scramble among the Western Division teams for the SEC's marquee bowl spots. Don't forget about Mississippi State, either. The Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) have won six in a row and could really become a hot commodity if they win two of their last three games. They travel to Alabama this Saturday, then face Arkansas at home on Nov. 20 and end the regular season at Ole Miss on Nov. 27.

Tennessee's a new addition this week. The Vols (3-6, 0-5) need to win out to be bowl eligible, but they're off to a good start after crushing Memphis.

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, here's the way I see the bowl lineup falling in the SEC:
  • 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): LSU vs. BCS team
  • Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): Alabama vs. Big Ten team
  • AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET): Arkansas vs. Big 12 team
  • Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): Florida 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): South Carolina vs. Big Ten team
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Dec. 30, 6:40 p.m. ET): Georgia vs. ACC team
  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET): Kentucky vs. Conference USA team
  • BBVA Compass Bowl (Jan. 8, noon ET): Tennessee vs. Big East team

Big 12 bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
I've had the Big 12 with a pair of BCS berths since we started doing conference bowl projections a few weeks back, but that's coming to an end this week. Nebraska and Oklahoma State are the only teams left with just one loss, guaranteeing the Big 12 can have just one one-loss team at season's end, and that's a best-case scenario.

Nebraska still has to play at Texas A&M. Oklahoma State still must win at Texas and beat Oklahoma in Stillwater. Maybe all of those things happen, but this week's losses to teams at the top of the Big 12 tell us not to take anything for granted. That said, even if it does happen, the Big 12 title game loser more than likely won't end up in with a BCS slot.

Also, you'll notice a certain team is missing from this week's projections, as I've trimmed the Big 12's likely bowl eligible teams from 10 to nine.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska vs. BCS at-large

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. SEC

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Pac-10

Insight Bowl: Missouri vs. Big Ten

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Kansas State vs. Pac-10

Texas Bowl: Baylor vs. Big Ten

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Big East

Dallas Football Classic: Texas Tech vs. Big Ten

New Mexico Bowl: Iowa State vs. WAC

ACC bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
Six ACC teams are now bowl eligible, and one – Wake Forest – is mathematically out of the postseason picture. Heading into Week 11, Georgia Tech and Clemson are both one win shy of bowl eligibility. Duke and Virginia have to win out, and Boston College has to win two of its remaining three.

With Clemson’s surprise win against NC State, the Tigers’ bowl hopes look a lot more promising this week. It looks like the ACC could have nine bowl eligible teams this year. The ACC has a conditional agreement with the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl as long as the Pac-10 or WAC can’t fill its slot. It doesn’t look good for the Pac-10. It does, however, look like déjà vu for the Eagles.

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: Georgia Tech vs. Mountain West

Eagle Bank Bowl: Maryland vs. Conference USA

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College vs. WAC

Non-AQ bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
Not much has changed in my non-AQ bowl projections for this week. I still have a non-AQ team in the BCS national championship game. I have TCU in there for the second straight week, based on my projection that the Horned Frogs will finish ranked ahead of Boise State at the end of the season. Moving in front in the human polls is a huge plus for TCU as it jockeys with the Broncos for that top spot among the non-AQs.

I still have Boise State in as an at-large BCS team, now playing Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. As for my conference champions, I am still projecting UCF to win Conference USA, Northern Illinois to win the MAC and Troy to win the Sun Belt.

I am still looking for a place to put Toledo. I know Rockets fans must think I am crazy for not having them in here. The problem is there are not that many at-large spots open because so many of the power conferences are going to have teams that end up being bowl eligible at 7-5 or 6-6. Lots of parity this year. I am still going with Ohio to get the No. 3 MAC nod ahead of Toledo.

Here are all of the non-AQ picks:

BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. TCU

Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Boise State

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College* vs. Nevada Bowl: Temple vs. Troy

Liberty Bowl: UCF vs. Kentucky

Armed Forces Bowl: SMU vs. Army

Military Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. East Carolina

Independence Bowl: Clemson vs. Air Force

Little Caesars Bowl: Iowa State* vs. Northern Illinois

Hawaii Bowl: Tulsa vs. Hawaii**

Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State vs. Navy

Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs. Texas A&M*

St. Petersburg Bowl: ULM vs. Southern Miss

New Orleans Bowl: Houston vs. Middle Tennessee

Humanitarian Bowl: Ohio vs. UTEP*

New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. Fresno State

*at large selection because conference couldn't fill allotment.

**Hawaii already accepted bid to bowl.