Post Week 5 - 2011 Bowl Projections

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 01: Blake Countess #18 of the Michigan Wolverines strips Brandon Green #1 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the ball during the second quarter of the game at Michigan Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

We'll get to the projections here in a second, but first I'd like to say a few words about Michigan. Yes, Michigan.

Michigan is a flawed team. No one will confuse their defense with Alabama's. No one will compare their running backs to South Carolina's. No one, in a positive manner, has compared their quarterback's arm to Stanford's. And yet, they're 5-0. As I look at their remaining seven games, there isn't a team that they can't beat. Purdue should come easy. Iowa and Northwestern do not matchup well with Denard Robinson. Ohio State has a lot of work to even get to Michigan's level. Nebraska's defense may have just shown that it's a bit vulnerable when facing a quarterback who can run and pass. Michigan State and Illinois look like good, but not great, teams.

That's it. That's their slate. They don't have to face 2002 Ohio State. They won't line up against 1995 Nebraska. They won't even see 2011 Wisconsin (unless it's in a B1G Championship Game). Now, I don't think that they're going to run the table. Again, they're a flawed team. But even with their flaws, I don't think that it's out of the question that they go 5-2 down the stretch. And if they go into Thanksgiving weekend at 9-2, they'll be playing for a BCS Bowl berth (if they're not playing for a B1G Championship Game berth). Because if the Maize and Blue CAN be selected for a big bowl, they WILL be selected for a big bowl.  

As for the projections, let's remember that there are 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) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
  3. Until a team is officially bowl banned, we assume that they can and will go. So, no USC. Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina, Miami...you're in consideration until otherwise notified.
  4. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team qualifies for the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will NOT be required to take a non-automatic qualifier.  This was only required of the Rose Bowl the first time (2010 season) it occurred over the current four-year contract. 
  5. The Insight Bowl picks its Big Ten team ahead of the Gator Bowl this year.  It will rotate the other way next year.

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

Bcs_championship_logo2011_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium Stanford_old8_medium I'm looking at LSU @ Alabama as a play-in game. The winner has an inside track to New Orleans. As for their opponent, it comes down to which red team will remain undefeated: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, or Stanford. I'm betting that the Badgers and Sooners stumble once while the Cardinal runs the table.
Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium Oregon_medium

The Badgers look awesome right now, I'm just guessing that they drop one that they shouldn't. At Illinois? At Ohio State? Weirder things have happened...

This would be 10-2 Oregon getting the replacement bid for Stanford.

Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium Michigan_old4_medium

I think that Oklahoma has a loss in them. In fact, it might well be this Saturday...

10-2 Michigan, presuming that they don't win the Legends and get a 3rd loss to Wisconsin, will go to the BCS. Looking at the rest of their schedule, it's not as preposterous as you once thought.

Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Lsu_medium_medium Boise_st_medium_medium

LSU's defense is amazing. But can they move the ball on a good defense? That's what we've yet to see.

Could undefeated Boise get a BCS Championship bid over a 1 loss AQ conference champ? The better Georgia does, the more likely it is.

Orangebowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Clemson_medium_medium West_virginia_medium_medium

I don't know how to live in a world in which Clemson exceeds expectations. 

West Virginia, Pitt, Cincy, USF...they're all good. None are great. Same old same old for the Big East.

Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium Arkansas_medium_medium

I think that Nebraska finishes 10-2, but beats Michigan to get to Indy. After losing to Wisconsin a second time, the CapOne is happy to invite the Red to Orlando.

If Arkansas can stay healthy, they're the third best team in the SEC. Big if...

Outbackbowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium Georgia_medium_medium

Illinois is 5-0 with Purdue, Indiana, and Minnesota on their schedule. That's 8 wins. A 9th gets them a trip to Tampa.

Georgia, despite losing to South Carolina, is in the best position to make it to Atlanta. The SEC East title gets them a trip to Tampa, as well.

Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium Texas_am_medium Was Sparty's game half-full? The defense looked phenomenal. Or was it half-empty? The offense looked atrocious. That mix, with a brutal schedule still makes me see them as an 8 win team.
Fl61806logo_medium_medium_medium_medium Iowa_medium_medium South_carolina_old13_medium

Like Illinois, Iowa also sees the full compliment of the bottom three. That's the only reason that they finish with 8 wins.

Just when I was wondering if things were different in South Carolina, they pull a Gamecock...

Meineke_car_care_bowl_of_texas_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium Missouri1_medium

Ohio State is...I don't know. At least with Terrelle Pryor back this week, they should have a semblance of an offense. Right? 

7 win Mizzou team? That sounds right.

Ticketcity_bowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_st_medium_medium Southern_methodist_medium

When you have two quarterbacks, you have none. That's the tagline to the 2011 Nittany Lion team film.

June Jones can coach. If he didn't prove it in Hawaii, he's doing it now.

Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Northwestern_medium_medium Toledo_medium

We'll have the Cats figured out after the next three Saturday nights. Hosting Michigan. At Iowa. Hosting Penn State. If they want to get 8 wins (and out of Detroit), they need to take 2 of 3.

Toledo is the best of the MAC - when they're not getting jobbed by officials.

Dg_easy_meals_2011_rotelqueso_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Minnesota_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

Indiana_old18_medium

Purdue_medium

When you can't get to six wins, you find yourself On the Couch with the Queso Bowl.

It is unfair that we don't get to see Minnesota and Indiana play. Don't you want to know which team is worse? I feel like Purdue is still a cut above the other two, although I don't know that there is evidence supporting that.

And now on to the rest...with some quick notes.

Godaddybowl_medium Temple_medium Florida_international_medium
Compassbowl_small_medium Cincinnati_medium Vanderbilt_old13_medium Shocker, but Vandy has a legitimate route to 6 wins and Birmingham.
Cottonbowl_2007_sm_medium Auburn_medium Oklahoma_st_medium I think that OSU finishes 10-2. Defense has to matter at some point, right?
Chickfila_bowl_sm_medium Florida_medium Virginia_tech_medium If Brantley is out for the season, this bowl may be optimistic for Florida.
Fighthungerbowl_small_medium Ucla_old_medium Army_old6_medium Army goes here with six wins.
Libertybowl_2004_medium Tennessee_medium Houston_old8_medium Houston wins C-USA.
Sunbowl_2010_small_medium Georgia_tech_medium California_medium
Musiccitybowl_2010_small_medium Mississippi_st_medium Maryland_b_medium That's Maryland, in case you haven't seen that ugly helmet before.
Pinstripebowl_2010_sm_medium Pittsburgh_medium Baylor_old14_medium
Armedforcesbowl_logo_medium Byu_medium Southern_mississippi_medium BYU goes here with 6 wins.
Alamobowl_2007sm_medium Texas_medium Arizona_st_medium
Champssportsbowl_2004_medium Notre_dame_medium Florida_st_medium If Notre Dame finishes with 7-9 wins, we'll see them here as the Big East representative. If they run the table and get to 10, you better believe that they'll get brought up to a BCS bid.
Holidaybowl_2010_small_medium Kansas_st_medium Washington_medium
Militarybowl_2010_small_medium Virginia_old5_medium Navy_medium Navy will go here with 6 wins.
Belkbowl_2011_small_medium North_carolina_medium South_florida_w_medium That crash was the USF bandwagon - right on schedule.
Independencebowl_2009_sm_medium Miami_fl_medium Texas_christian_d_medium
Hawaiibowl_2003_medium Hawaii_medium Utep_medium
Lasvegasbowl_maaco_2009_sm_medium Utah_medium San_diego_st_medium
Poinsettiabowl_small_2006_medium Fresno_st_medium Air_force_old2_medium
Stpetersburgbowl_2010_small_medium East_carolina_old8_medium Rutgers_medium
Neworleansbowl_2010_small_medium Louisiana-lafayette_medium Central_florida_medium
Idahopotato_bowl_medium Utah_st_medium Western_michigan_medium Utah State may play the worst 2 minute defense in the history of college football. But, I think they can get to six wins...
Newmexicobowl_2011_small_medium Nevada_medium Colorado_st_medium Nevada fills in when the Pac-12 can't fill its slot.

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