Post Week 1 - 2012 Bowl Projections

SPARTY YES.

What's changed since June 1st? Well, Penn State received a post-season ban, USC picked up Silas Redd and oh yeah: football actually started. Week one of the 2012 season didn't provide any shocking upsets...aside from those debacles in Pennsylvania. Penn State fell to Ohio at Beaver Stadium and Pittsburgh lost to Youngstown State at Heinz Field. But hey, at least Temple won. A few surprising observations from the national stage:

  • Oklahoma only beat UTEP 24-7 and needed a 14 point 4th quarter to make it look like it wasn't that close.
  • Stanford slipped past San Jose State, 20-17. Life post-Luck could be ugly for the Cardinal.
  • Who thought Oklahoma State would still be so efficient? 84-0 over Savannah State? Yikes.
  • Florida defeated Bowling Green 27-14 but went into the 4th quarter only leading 17-14.

Week one could have went better for the B1G. Sure, the conference went 10-2 and I'm not sure anyone seriously expected the Wolverines to defeated the Crimson Tide but I don't think anyone expected the Michigan to get absolutely dominated by Alabama. While Michigan State and Ohio State took care of business, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern all struggled with their opponents. Michigan going down answered some questions about the "progress" of Denard Robinson, or lack thereof, and the Spartans' offensive showing against Boise State proved that a great defense and a solid running game can keep you in any game.

The most difficult part of making these projections is that the upper/middle to middle tier of the Big Ten didn't prove anything. Nebraska played well but lost Rex Burkhead, Iowa needed a 4th quarter touchdown to beat a MAC team, Penn State lost to a MAC team, Northwestern needed another Cardiac Cats victory to beat Syracuse and Minnesota needed 3 OTs to beat a terrible MWC team. Purdue and Illinois definitely took care of business but Scheelhaase may sit this weekend and the Boilermaker triple headed monster at quarterback will fail eventually. Yes, that's a guarantee.

How does this uncertainty affect the projections? Hit the jump and find out.

First, remember the rules:

  • 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.
  • The order of BCS selection (and we're bringing the title game back to South Beach this season) is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
  • 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.
  • The Insight Bowl is now the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Here's a full breakdown of the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:

Pick

Bowl Game

Opponent

No. 1 Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California
Pac-12 No. 1 or BCS
No. 2 Capital One Bowl
Orlando, Florida
SEC No. 2
No. 3 Outback Bowl
Tampa, Florida
SEC No. 3
No. 4 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Tempe, Arizona
Big 12 No. 4
No. 5 Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, Florida
SEC No. 6
No. 6 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Houston, Texas
Big 12 No. 6
No. 7 TicketCity Bowl
Dallas, Texas
C-USA or MAC
No. 8 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Detroit, Michigan
MAC

Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, let's get to the projections.

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Alabama_mediumvs. Southern_california_medium

Why Alabama: Following their dominating win over the Michigan Wolverines I've got the Crimson Tide playing in the BCS National Championship. I'm still not sold on AJ McCarron (and probably never will be) but the Tide's ridiculous defense and stable of talented running backs will keep them in every game.

Why USC: I don't really have to justify this one, do I?

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Michigan_st_medium vs. Oregon_medium

Why Michigan State: Is it overreacting to put the Spartans in the Rose Bowl simply because the Wolverines and Badgers didn't impress on Saturday? Perhaps. Then again, the Spartans held a Top 25 team to 206 yards and Le'Veon Bell looked ridiculous. If the defense and Bell continue to play well the Spartans will have plenty of time to figure out their QB situation.

Why Oregon: If you saw that Oregon only defeated Arkansas State 57-34 you might say "hmmmmmmm." If you saw that the Ducks were leading 50-3 at one point before completely shutting down the offense you'd feel differently. Nothing changes for Oregon. They're still the second best team in the Pac-12 and one of the best teams in the nation.

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Oklahoma_medium vs. Wisconsin_medium

Why Oklahoma: Looks like Oklahoma is trying to play its way out of BCS National Championship contention early. Despite a disappointing showing against UTEP, the Sooners will continue to roll through their schedule (including Texas) before losing at West Virginia. Despite this, they'll still win the Big 12 and head to Glendale.

Why Wisconsin: The Badgers survived a major scare from UNI (the Panthers always scare teams) despite an efficient showing from their offense. Fortunately, they don't face a real test until the end of the month when they travel to Nebraska. I've got them beating MSU at home but ultimately losing to Sparty the Big 10 Championship game. They'll settle for the Fiesta Bowl.

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Lsu_mediumvs. Westvirginiahelmet_medium

Why LSU: I didn't drop LSU out of the NCG because they lost the second/third best CB on their team and everyone's continuing to make a big deal about it. I dropped them because Alabama played so well against a highly ranked opponent over the weekend. LSU will lose to the Tide in Death Valley and take the SEC's spot in the Sugar Bowl.

Why West Virginia: The Big 12 is another conference that has a top-tier worthy of two BCS bids. I've got Oklahoma winning the division which leaves Texas, West Virginia or even Oklahoma State getting an at-large. Considering their schedule sets up for it, I'll go with the Mountaineers.

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Florida_st_medium vs. Louisville_medium

Why Florida State: Someone has to win the ACC.

Why Louisville: They started off the year by beating Kentucky and the Big East is nothing short of hilarious this year.

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Michiganhelmet_medium vs. Georgiahelmet_medium

Why Michigan: It's not that getting dominated by Alabama completely destroyed my opinion of you, Michigan...OK that's exactly what it was. I honestly believe the loser of the Michigan State v. Michigan game goes to the Capital One Bowl. As I believe the Wolverines will lose, they head to Orlando.

Why Georgia: The Bulldogs come out of the SEC East at with only two or three losses, one of them being to eventual SEC Champion Alabama.

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Nebraska_medium vs. Arkansas_medium

Why Nebraska: The Huskers will have another solid year with their only losses coming against teams who precede them in the bowl pecking order. While I originally thought they'd drop an inexplicable game at home I can't continue that thought with a straight face.

Why Arkansas: Arkansas has the unfortunate privilege of playing Bama, at A&M, at Auburn, at South Carolina and LSU. Call me crazy but I'm thinking they lose 4 out of 5 of those games.

Northwestern_mediumvs. Texas_christian_old18_medium

Why Northwestern: Let me put it this way: everyone in the middle of the Big Ten looks like they're going to go 7-5. I've got Northwestern going 7-5 with wins over other 7-5 teams and heading to Tempe.

Why TCU: OU, Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia and MAYBE Oklahoma State are all better than TCU. While I don't expect TCU to lose to every one of those teams, they'll probably lose to 4 of them.

Sm-gator_medium

Illinois_mediumvs. Florida_medium

Why Illinois: The Fighting Illini have to travel to Arizona State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State and Northwestern. I had them beating Arizona State until Scheelhaase went down with an injury last week. Regardless, every other game seems winnable.

Why Florida: Jeff Driskel? Really? For a minute there I thought they'd make a move to the Chick-fil-A Bowl...but nah.

Meineke_car_care_bowl_of_texas_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

Iowa_medium vs. Texas_tech_medium

Why Iowa: I kept saying Iowa was a 6-6 or 7-5 team with an 8-4 schedule. After last weeks lackluster performance I'm not optimistic about that whole 8 wins thing anymore. Now, I could see them going 7-5 and losing out to other 7-5 teams or even going 6-6.

Why Texas Tech: Still have the Red Raiders heading to the Car Care Bowl as they're the 6th best team in the Big 12.

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Purdue_mediumvs. Tulsa_medium

Why Purdue: Why hello there Purdue. A full game and you haven't blown any ACLs? Good for you! Considering Minnesota had to beat UNLV in 3OT, Penn State is a dumpster fire and Indiana is Indiana, why can't the Boilers win 6 games?

Why Tulsa: The Golden Hurricanes should finish at 7-5 or better in the C-USA and make their way to play Purdue in a high scoring TicketCity Bowl.

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Florida_international_mediumvs. Northern_illinois_medium_medium_medium

Why FIU: FIU didn't have their best showing against Duke and have yet to play UFC and Louisville but at least they get Arkansas State and ULM at home. They should go 7-5 and take the Big Ten's spot.

Why NIU: Initially I placed NIU in the Pizza Bowl as a joke because I ran out of helmet clip art. Now, after their showing at Solider Field, I've got them heading to the Pizza Pizza Bowl.

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Minnesota_mediumIndiana_medium

Ohio_st_mediumPenn_st_medium

Why Minnesota: Too soon to bail on Coach Kill and the Gophers? Doubt it. Needing 3OTs to beat one of the worst teams in college football isn't exactly inspiring for future performances. The Gophers have plenty of time to show they're a better football team than shown in week one but you shouldn't hold your breath.

Why Indiana: Um...

Why Ohio State: Yeah...

Why Penn State: Welp...


All helmet images credit to The Helmet Project.

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