2010 Bowl Projections - Post Week 13

We'll remember this win, and we'll know that it mattered. Let's keep it that way. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Let me say it. I'm a fan of the bowl system. I do not want a playoff. I do not want a plus one. Friday afternoon showed why. Would you have watched Auburn-Alabama if we had a sixteen team playoff (as Dan Wetzel explains is the most viable possibility)? Really? You would have cared that an Auburn loss would sink them from the #2 to a #5 seed? You probably would have cared about as much as you do about the Duke-UNC game that ends the ACC college basketball season. It's a rivalry, and it can be great entertainment. But quick, who won the 2007 Duke-UNC game that ended the season? What impact did it have on the big picture? When people look back on 2010, they'll talk about Cam Newton's 24 point comeback and how it put Auburn on the cusp of the BCS Championship Game. It will be much in the same way that we can talk about the 2007 Pitt-West Virginia game and how Pitt prevented West Virginia from playing for a national title. It's easy to knock ESPN for many things, but their slogan for college football is dead on - "Every Game Matters." You won't be able to say that with a playoff. Long live the bowls.

We're looking at all 35 bowls this week. But before we do, Remember the Rules:

  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.
  5. For the record, I project 71 teams with at least 6 wins. 6-6 Western Michigan is the only eligible team that does not go bowling.

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

11championship_medium_medium Oregon_medium_medium_medium Auburn_medium_medium_medium It's win and you're in for Oregon and Auburn. TCU sits in the clubhouse, and they'll go if one should stumble. Should 2007 break out and both lose, it will be a complete mess as we look to find TCU's opponent.
Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium_medium Texas_christian_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin should remain as the highest ranked of the three Big Ten Champions. That sends them to Pasadena. TCU is going to the Rose Bowl...unless there is a slip up by Auburn or Oregon. 
Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Arkansas_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium_medium The Sugar Bowl is loving life. The entire state of Arkansas will converge on the Big Easy...if 50,000 Buckeyes don't take up the hotel rooms first. This could be the best game in the BCS.
Orange_medium_medium Virginia_tech_medium_medium_medium West_virginia_medium_medium_medium I like Virginia Tech to win the ACC Championship Game. The really interesting pick will be what the Orange Bowl does with it's at large selection. It looks like its choices will be 11-1 Stanford from 4500 miles away or 9-3 Big East Champ West Virginia (I'm projecting a USF win over UConn). The Mountaineers travel very well, and I'm putting them here. But, this is the mystery spot of the BCS.
Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium_medium Stanford_old8_medium_medium_medium

Stanford had a huge weekend.  Sure, they beat Oregon State, but almost as important were the losses by Boise and LSU. That should move the Cardinal into 4th Place in the BCS standings. And, that means an automatic berth. 

I can't decide if the top five teams in the Big 12 are all really good, or all really average and bolstered by a weak league. I'm sticking with OU to beat Nebraska and set up a rematch of last year's Sun Bowl.

Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium_medium Lsu_medium_medium_medium

Michigan State fans can book their parkhopper tickets in DisneyWorld.

Could the Cap One pick Alabama over LSU for a sexier storyline and a fanbase that wasn't in Orlando last year? Yes. Will they? I doubt it.

Outbackbowl_2008_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_st_medium_medium_medium South_carolina_old13_medium_medium_medium

Here starts the Big Ten craziness. With 4 (and maybe 5 after next weekend) 7-5 teams, there is a lot of uncertainty in these picks. I think that Penn State gets the top spot.

I don't think that 9 win South Carolina falls below the Outback, but it's possible that this could be Mississippi State.

Gator_medium_medium Michigan_medium_medium_medium Florida_medium_medium_medium Both teams are 7-5. Neither fan base is happy. Could the Michigan defense be the cure for Florida's offense, or vice versa?
Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium_medium Texas_am_medium_medium_medium

Unless Illinois loses to Fresno State next week, they'll be an attractive pick at 7-5. I think that they get the nod over a demoralaized Iowa fanbase and a Northwestern team that doesn't seem to be very good without their quarterback.

We won't have a repeat of the season opener, so Texas A&M jumps Mizzou. If the Insight goes with the Tigers, expect to see Iowa taken here.

 

Texasbowl_non_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Iowa_medium_medium_medium Baylor_medium_medium_medium

 

Houston was never on Iowa's radar at the start of the season. Or even three weeks ago. At somepoint, we'll need a breakdown of 2010 among the greatest flops in Iowa history (1961, 1988, 1997 & 2005 are all in the discussion), but it will likely dampen the number of fans that the Hawks bring.

Baylor over Texas Tech and Kansas State among the 7 win teams? They're likely the most excited fan base.

Ticketcity-150x137_medium_medium Northwestern_medium_medium_medium Texas_tech_old9_medium_medium_medium

Northwestern can wonder what would have happened the last two weeks if Dan Persa had not been hurt. I played that game last year. Have fun with it.

Texas Tech fills the last Big 12 bowl berth.

Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium East_carolina_medium Northern_illinois_medium_medium_medium

A tip of the hat to 10-2 NIU, who is playing some inspired football. I wouldn't be surprised if the MAC tries to send them to Boise to play a better team from the WAC. But, that still sounds like a punishment.

Because the Big Ten can't fill this slot (something that won't be said after the league has 12 members), the third pick from the Sun Belt gets to go. Problem is, the Sun Bowl only has two bowl eligible teams. That's why I'm guessing that the Pirates step in here.

Images_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_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_medium_medium_medium_medium
Indiana_medium_medium_medium_medium_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_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 (sponsored by Ro*Tel).

It's a great time to look to the likelihood of success in 2011 for these three. Purdue should be in the best position to succeed...if they can keep players healthy. Indiana should be in the best position to succeed...if they hire Mike Leach to turn those giant wide receivers into even scarier weapons. Minnesota should be in the best position to succeed...if they bring the passion that they found in their last two games.

And now, everybody else...

Fighthunger_bowl_sm_medium_medium_medium Temple_old8_medium Fresno_st_medium_medium_medium The Pac-10 couldn't fill this slot. Temple may have squandered a chance at the MAC title, but they still get to go bowling. Fresno stays relatively close to home for this one.
Bbvacompassbowl_medium_medium Kentucky2_medium_medium_medium Pittsburgh_medium Kentucky gets the last SEC spot, and will ring in the New Year in Birmingham. They'll face PItt in the "Pittsburgh of the South."
Cotton_ann_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium_medium

Alabama will not fall past the Cotton Bowl...unless Auburn loses to South Carolina. Then they'll be in the Outback.

Nebraska versus Alabama? That just sounds like a great bowl game. My guess is the wins over Mizzouri and Okie State give the Huskers this slot. If Nebraska beats the Sooners, put OU here.

2304e465-bbf8-4789-a6e7-724fabd68a81_medium_medium_medium Miami_oh_medium Troy_medium_medium_medium Sun Belt runner-up Troy goes to Mobile. They should bring some fans. It's hard to imagine a large number from Ohio making the trip.
Chickfila_bowl_sm_medium_medium_medium Mississippi_st_medium_medium_medium Florida_st_medium_medium_medium What a great year for Mississippi State. There will be a ton of cowbells in the Georgia Dome as they face the loser of the ACC Championship Game.
Libertybowl_2004_medium_medium_medium Central_florida_medium_medium_medium Georgia_medium

I like UCF to beat June Jones's SMU squad and get the berth in the Liberty Bowl. 

My guess is that the Liberty Bowl takes Georgia over Kentucky.

Sun_medium_medium_medium Louisville_medium Miami_fl_medium_medium_medium

The lack of a Pac-10 opponent makes it even more important for CBS to have a name ACC team. Hence, Miami jumps NC State for this one.

This is the best of the at large bowl berths. The Pac-10's inability to get more than five eligible teams leaves this spot open. Louisville gets it.

 

Meinekecarcarebowl_sm_2005_medium_medium_medium North_carolina_st_medium_medium_medium South_florida_old3_medium Car Care Bowl is very happy to have an in state team. USF may be the quietest 8 win team in the country (if it gets the win over UConn).
Holiday_medium_medium_medium Washington_medium Missouri1_medium_medium_medium

Washington? That's right. With their win over Cal, the Huskies are an Apple Cup victory away from being the Pac-10's fourth (and last) bowl team.

Mizzou is the fifth choice of the Big 12's five good teams. That yearly disrespect is why they lobbied so hard to get into the Big Ten.

Musiccity_medium_medium_medium North_carolina_medium_medium_medium Tennessee_medium You have to think that Tennessee will be chosen first by a bowl in Nashville from among the three 6-6 SEC teams. Having neighboring North Carolina is a bonus.
Pinstripebowl_2010_sm_medium_medium_medium Kansas_st_medium_medium_medium Syracuse_medium

Kansas State stays North and is chosen over Texas Tech.

Could go with UConn or Pitt, but an excited Syracuse team on the rise will be a good fit in Yankee Stadium.

Armedforcesbowl_logo_medium_medium_medium Army_old6_medium_medium_medium Toledo_medium

Army is locked into this spot.

Toledo is able to take its 8 wins on the market, and it lands them in Fort Worth.

Alamobowl_2007sm_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_st_medium_medium_medium Arizona_medium_medium_medium

With two BCS teams, the lack of depth in the Pac-10 becomes very apparent. This is their first, post-BCS slot.

10-2 Okie State gets the nod over 10-2 Mizzou and 9-3 Texas A&M.

Military_medium_medium_medium Georgia_tech_medium_medium_medium Southern_mississippi_medium Georgia Tech gets picked over BC. Don't sleep on the Southern Miss offense. Especially against the Georgia Tech defense.
Champssportsbowl_2004_medium_medium_medium Notre_dame_medium Maryland_medium_medium_medium

Maryland's win over NC State should give it the number three slot in the ACC order.

Notre Dame's seventh win ensures that they'll head to the best non-BCS bowl that the Big East can offer. That's the Champs.

Independencebowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium Clemson_medium_medium_medium Air_force_old2_medium_medium_medium Clemson gets the nod over Boston College and Georgia Tech. Their experience with the Jackets should give them a head start in preparing for Air Force.
Hawaiibowl_2003_medium_medium_medium Hawaii_medium_medium_medium Tulsa_medium_medium_medium Hawai'i always stays home when it can. It'sTulsa's turn to fly over the ocean.
Poinsettiabowl_small_2006_medium_medium_medium San_diego_st_medium_medium Navy_medium_medium_medium

Navy has already accepted this spot.

As for SDSU, if you have to stay home for bowl season, San Diego isn't a bad place to do it.

Lasvegasbowl_maaco_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium Utah_medium_medium_medium Boston_college_medium

It's tough for Utah. Win 10 games, go to a low-level bowl, where the Pac-10 can't even field an opponent.

BC is one of two BCS league teams on the market, and I project that they slide in here.

Peters_medium_medium_medium Southern_methodist_medium_medium Connecticut_medium

UConn goes from the Fiesta to St. Pete with their loss next week.

SMU gets a good matchup after dropping the C-USA Championship game.

Neworleans_new_medium_medium Florida_international_medium Utep_medium_medium_medium Congrats to the Golden Panthers on winning the Sun Belt. They'll face a 6-6 team from C-USA. I'm guessing the Miners over ECU.
Humanitarian_medium_medium_medium Ohio_old11_medium_medium Boise_st_medium_medium_medium Ohio goes to Boise as the MAC's number three pick. Unless there is some wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes, Boise and Nevada are going to face far outmatched opponents.
Newmexico_medium_medium Byu_medium_medium_medium Nevada_medium_medium_medium 6-6 BYU slips off to New Mexico. They'll still travel well. Nevada should outclass whichever Mountain West opponent lands here. 

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