NCF Nation: bowl-look-112711

Big East bowl projections: Week 14

November, 27, 2011
The Big East will not know its BCS representative until the games end on Saturday, which is fitting for a conference that has prided itself on competitiveness from top to bottom. Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati all have a chance to get into the BCS game. Louisville needs Cincinnati to lose to UConn; Cincinnati needs to win AND for West Virginia to lose to South Florida; and West Virginia needs to win AND have Cincinnati win, then finish as the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings.

That is about as simple as I can paint the picture.

As for the rest of the bowl outlook, either Pitt or Syracuse will be bowl eligible after Saturday. Both teams, at 5-6, play each other so only one gets to six wins. USF (5-6) needs a win over West Virginia, and UConn (5-6) needs a win over Cincinnati to become bowl eligible, too. So the Big East could have seven teams with six wins or more, and would have more eligible teams than tie-ins. If that happens, the Big East would have to work to find an open bowl game to place an at-large team.

Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 4: West Virginia

Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 29: Notre Dame

Belk Bowl, Dec. 27: Louisville

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30: Rutgers

BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 7: Cincinnati

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Dec. 20: Pitt

ACC bowl projections: Week 14

November, 27, 2011
NC State didn't just become bowl eligible this past weekend, the Wolfpack did it with the biggest comeback in school history against Maryland. With that win, the ACC has nine bowl-eligible teams this year, and with the exception of Miami, all of them plan to participate in the postseason. Finally, there were no changes in the lineup this week:

Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 4: Virginia Tech

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

Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 29: Florida State

Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31: Georgia Tech

Belk Bowl, Dec. 27: NC State

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

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 26: Wake Forest

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Dec. 28: North Carolina

SEC bowl projections: Week 14

November, 27, 2011
Should Georgia upset LSU and win the SEC championship game on Saturday, there will be some serious last-minute jockeying among the bowls.

That’s because the Bulldogs would go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl as the SEC champions, and Alabama and LSU would still likely be No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS standings and square off in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

That would also mean just about everybody else in the SEC eligible to go to a bowl would move up a spot.

If Georgia loses to LSU in the SEC championship game, the Capital One Bowl is going to have a decision to make among three 10-win teams -- Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina.

Historically, the Capital One Bowl has taken the highest-ranked available team, which would likely be Arkansas, but could opt to go with South Carolina this season, which would send Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl.

Here’s the way we see it all shaking out, although there are still a lot of different scenarios out there:

Allstate BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 9: LSU vs. Alabama

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 2: South Carolina

Outback Bowl, Jan. 2: Georgia

AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 6: Arkansas

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

Gator Bowl, Jan. 2: Florida

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30: Mississippi State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Vanderbilt

Big 12 bowl projections: Week 14

November, 27, 2011
With only three games left in the Big 12 season, the bowl picture is clearing up a bit. We know the Big 12 will have exactly eight bowl-eligible teams.

For the second consecutive week this year, I still only project the Big 12 to have one BCS bid. Thank Iowa State and Baylor two weekends ago for that. Regardless of Saturday's Bedlam result, the Big 12 would have two teams if Oklahoma had beaten Baylor. Now, if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, the Cowboys could probably still have a good shot at a BCS game, but there are no guarantees for teams that lose two of their final three games.

Also, I think a three-loss Oklahoma team is still more attractive than two-loss Kansas State, which took a beating from the Sooners in Manhattan. It's certainly a debatable point that will be close, but that's reflected in my projections, which we'll finally get to see here.

Iowa State will likely be the team that's not in a Big 12 bowl tie-in, and it'll be interesting to see where the Cyclones land. It could be in the Military Bowl or the Kraft Fight Hunter Bowl, but I'm going with the TicketCity Bowl, which had a Big 12 tie-in last season and is played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Games in Texas are always welcoming for Big 12 teams.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. BCS

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. SEC

Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. Pac-12

Insight Bowl: Baylor vs. Big Ten

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Texas vs. Pac-12

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas A&M vs. Big Ten

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Missouri vs. Big East

TicketCity Bowl: Iowa State vs. Big Ten
The Big Ten bowl picture cleared up a bit after the final weekend of the regular season.

Wisconsin or Michigan State will ring in the new year in California before playing in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. The Badgers earned a rematch with Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten championship game this Saturday in Indianapolis. We're projecting a Wisconsin victory at Lucas Oil Stadium and a return trip to Pasadena.

Michigan, meanwhile, likely secured a BCS at-large berth by beating archrival Ohio State for the first time since 2003 and finishing the regular season at 10-2. It would be hard to see all the BCS bowls passing up the Wolverines, who haven't been to a BCS bowl in five years.

We're also basing these predictions on what we're hearing within the bowl circles. The Florida bowls want 9-3 Nebraska, and there's no way the Huskers fall below the Outback Bowl. The question is whether Nebraska heads to Capital One or Outback. Since Michigan State has been a regular guest in the Capital One Bowl, we have Nebraska going there. We also hear Ohio State, despite its 6-6 mark and its uncertain coaching situation, appeals to the folks in Jacksonville.

Penn State's loss in Madison drops the Nittany Lions several spots in the bowl pecking order. Some bowls will be reluctant to invite Penn State because of the negative publicity surrounding the program. We think the Lions will find a postseason home in Houston.

Although bowls sometimes shy away from inviting the same team in consecutive seasons, we project two teams, Iowa and Northwestern, to return to their postseason destinations from last season.

Purdue became the 10th Big Ten team to become bowl-eligible after reclaiming the Old Oaken Bucket. The Boilers will go bowling for the first time since 2007. We believe they're more attractive than Illinois, which completed its second-half collapse with a putrid performance at Minnesota.

Projection time ...

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, Jan. 2: Wisconsin vs. BCS team

Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 3: Michigan vs. BCS team

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 2: Nebraska vs. SEC team

Outback Bowl, Jan. 2: Michigan State vs. SEC team

Insight Bowl, Dec. 30: Iowa vs. Big 12 team Gator Bowl, Jan. 2: Ohio State vs. SEC team

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 31: Penn State vs. Big 12 team

TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 2: Northwestern vs. Big 12 team

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 27: Purdue vs. MAC team

At-large: Illinois vs. TBA

Pac-12 bowl projections: Week 14

November, 27, 2011
It now appears that the Pac-12 will produce two BCS bowl teams and two empty bowl contracts.

I don't expect UCLA to ask the Pac-12 to apply for a bowl waiver if the Bruins finish 6-7 after a loss Friday at Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. The Bruins are almost certain to be looking for a new coach. It would be extremely awkward to deal with that during bowl preparations. Further, a likely trip to the Bay Area for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl would be expensive. Probably not worth the, er, glory.

And I'm not sure the waiver would get rubber stamped, anyway. There will be more deserving teams available for the Kraft and New Mexico bowls. Heck, 10 Big Ten teams are bowl eligible.

By the way, expect some tough matchups. If Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State this weekend, the Sooners are a likely foe for Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Arizona State, with or without Dennis Erickson, probably would get TCU in Las Vegas.

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