Bowl Projections - Post Week 5

I love conference play. Yes, it's nice to see Ohio State face off against a rising Miami squad, or see Penn State face the best that the SEC (and maybe the country) has to offer, but there is something special about seeing traditional opponents bang heads. The same colors facing off against each other that our fathers watched and their fathers watched. It's special.

It's also nice, because it gives us a sense of pecking order in the leagues. We can start making determinations about teams. For instance, this could be a very special year in East Lansing. The way the offense looks, it could also be a very rough one in Happy Valley. There are eight more weeks to nail this down, but some things are looking clearer.

Now remember, these are projections, not "if the season ended today" picks. I'm accounting for what I think will happen in the remaining weeks. Here are the Rules for 2010.

  1. The best teams don't always go to the best games.  In the end, butts in the seat and eyes to the television are the biggest factors.
  2. The order of BCS selection is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Sugar Bowl; 4) Orange Bowl; 5) Fiesta Bowl.
  3. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team qualifies for the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will be required to take a non-automatic qualifier.  This will only be required of the Rose Bowl the first time it occurs over the next four years. 
  4. The Gator Bowl picks its Big Ten team ahead of the Insight Bowl this year.  It will rotate the other way next year.

Got it?  Good.  Let's get on to the projections.

Bcs_championship_logo2010_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska has an interesting test at Kansas State on Thursday Night. Ohio State will have a suddenly less scary game in Madison in two weeks.
Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oregon_medium Boise_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

That was an impressive comeback from Oregon, but it did show that the Ohio State blueprint to beating them still holds. Grind it out and overpower them. 

Boise is not going away any time soon. Expect some ugly blowouts over really bad teams.

Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

It says here that Alabama falls next week against South Carolina. If they don't, there will be some big shake ups in the BCS projections. 

Michigan State could be having a special year. Could they go 11-1? If they can get past Michigan on Saturday, it's in the realm of possibility. And how much would State love to face Saban?

Orangebowl_2010_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Miami_fl_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Auburn_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

Miami has to be feeling better about itself. A win over Florida State would be a huge boost.

Auburn looks like the second best team in the SEC this year. The schedule sets up very favorably for an 11-1 season.

Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium West_virginia_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

I'll admit that I only saw the last two minutes of the Red River battle. Nothing that I saw (or read) makes me think that Oklahoma is as good as Nebraska this year. That said, I don't know if there is anyone else in the Big 12 who can beat them.

The good news for the Big East: UConn beat an SEC team. The bad news: Tulane beat Rutgers. In New Jersey. Ouch.

Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Iowa_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Florida_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

Iowa's game in Ann Arbor in two weeks will go a long way in determining if the Hawkeyes can rise above the Capital One Bowl. I still see it as a loss.

Florida is looking like a 10-3 East Division Champs to me. Their game against LSU on Saturday may decide who is third best in the SEC.

Outbackbowl_2008_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium South_carolina_old13_medium

If Michigan can get past Sparty on Saturday, all bets are off. By the way, is Rich Rod's hot seat down to tepid now?

South Carolina is going to have their shot at the East crown. I just don't know that they can get past Florida. And that win over Georgia doesn't seem so special any more.

Gatorbowl_2008_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Kentucky2_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Let me say this: the Big Ten better win the Gator Bowl. Simply put, the SEC doesn't have seven good teams. The Big Ten does have five good teams.
Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_state_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Missouri1_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

I'm looking at this as a likely destination for the Penn State/Northwestern winner. Neither team's performance left me thinking that they would be contending for the league crown this year.

JoePa gets to revisit the post-1969 Orange Bowl.

Texasbowl_non_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Northwestern_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Texas_am_medium Another bowl that the Big Ten should win. Texas Tech and Iowa State could also be considered here - if they can get to six wins.
Dallasclassic_2010_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Southern_methodist_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium I was impressed by Illinois. Yes, they lost to the Buckeyes, but they actually looked like a legitimate team. I'm guessing that they, not Indiana, get to six wins.
Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Troy_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Temple_old8_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

The Big Ten can't fill it's spot, and the Pizza Bowl is obligated to the second choice from the Sun Belt when that happens. 

Temple, NIU, and Toledo look like the early favorites in the MAC.

Images_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Indiana_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Purdue_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium
Minnesota_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

When you can't get to six wins, you know that you'll spend the bowl season On the Couch with the Queso Bowl (now sponsored by Ro*Tel).

Indiana still has a route to six wins, but beating Michigan would have been a huge help. Purdue seems too snakebit to get there this season.

Minnesota, oh Minnesota. It's like you want to experience every different kind of loss. At some point numbness over comes the pain, right?

 All helmet images are used in accordance with the The Helmet Project policy.

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