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2010 Bowl Projections - Post Week 4

If you're playing ten games against non-BCS conference teams, you should get ten wins. That's what makes the Big Ten's 8-2 yesterday so disappointing.  But more than that, the two losses may have sealed the post-season fates of Purdue and Minnesota - before conference play even began. Purdue's loss, dropping them to 2-2, requires a 4-4 season in the league. That would be tough enough as it is, but absent their starting QB, RB, and WR, it seems impossible. And Minnesota...oh, Minnesota. While I still expect that the Gophers will rise up and catch someone napping in conference play, 1 Big Ten win seems to be the ceiling for the worst team in the Big Ten.

But where teams fall, teams also rise. A weakened Purdue on the schedule brings an increased likelihood of a bowl to Indiana and Illinois. My guess is that the winner of that game will go to Dallas.

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.

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We won't have a full measure of Ohio State until they go to Wisconsin in Week 7.

We'll have Nebraska figured out the same day when they get done hosting Texas.

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Could Oregon run the table? I think that it's still a fair question at this point. Stanford, Arizona, and USC should challenge them, and there is that pesky Civil War, but 12-0 Ducks is a distinct possibility. 

Boise gets to smell Roses after going 12-0, but finishing 4th or 5th in the final BCS polls. In the end, it looks like the best things that Boise will have on their resume will be wins over two mid-level teams. TCU had a better case last year.

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So Alabama made it through Week 1 of their three week gauntlet. It may be the toughest of the three weeks. If the win the next two, I'll be moving them to the BCS Title game.

So Wisconsin found their offense. Their game against Michigan State could be the most interesting on the schedule next week.

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Still Miami, but you could pick just about any ACC team to fill the spot.

Assuming that the SEC champ is not in the title game, look for the second team to find its way to Miami. This could be a one-loss Auburn team, but if that loss is in their season ender at Alabama, that may be one loss too many to win the SEC West.

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I think that the Hawkeyes lose at Michigan and to Ohio State. 9-3 gets them here.

LSU loses at Auburn and to Alabama. 10-2, and third place in the SEC West gets them a second Capital One Bowl matchup with the Hawkeyes.

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This spot assumes that Dernard stays healthy and the Michigan can get to 8 wins. That may be assuming way too much.

I'm guessing that this is a three loss Florida team (but still the best in the SEC East).

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Penn State has issues that they haven't been able to fix - namely, a second straight year of poor offensive line play. I watched Temple - TEMPLE - push the Lions' O-Line backwards on a 4th and 1. Now I know, the Owls are a good MAC team this year. But they don't have the power to push around a capable Big Ten line. Maybe Penn State shocks Iowa and has been playing too close to the vest in the non-con. But I don't see it yet.

With the 7th pick from the SEC, this looks like either Kentucky or Mississippi State.

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A tip of the hat to Michigan State for having a season without a non-conference loss. Let's keep an eye on the Green. Things may be aligning for a special season in East Lansing.

Could MIzzou be the second best team in the Big XII? Considering how pedestrian Texas and Oklahoma have looked, I'm, not ruling it out yet.

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A tip of the hat to Northwestern for having a season without a bad non-conference loss. Let's keep an eye on the Purple. Things may be aligning for a special season in Evanston.

Expect a 6 win team from the Big 12 in this game. Sounds like Okie State to a T.

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For the Illini to get to Dallas, here's what they need: win their last game at Fresno State, win at home against Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana. It's definitely the easiest route of the bottom four Big Ten teams.

A C-USA team will fill the slot when the Big 12 can't. Look for a Texas team, and a rejuvenated SMU makes sense.

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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.

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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 can get to six wins with wins over ailing Purdue and a win at Illinois. I'm calling the Illini in that one. An upset would be a big help. Purdue is snakebit this year. Minnesota is the worst team in the Big Ten, and the worst that the conference has seen since the 2007 Gophers.

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