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Post Week 11 - 2011 Bowl Projections

Remember when people were doing their annual freak out because there were going to be too many undefeated teams? As it stands, I think we'll end up with two, but one of them is Houston. Boise's field goal kicking killed their undefeated dreams for a second straight year. Stanford couldn't withstand Oregon's second-half onslaught for a second straight year. And the power of the every-week playoff rolls on.

In the B1G, things have officially been turned up to 10. Barring an uprising by Indiana or Minnesota, the Big Ten will have ten bowl eligible teams for the first time ever. That's great, except the Big Ten only has seven post-BCS tie-ins. And, the Pac 12, ACC, and SEC look like they're having years in which they will fill all of their bowl slots. I hope that I'm wrong on this, but it's looking likely that someone eligible will be left out. The league hasn't faced that since 2007.

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, <ahem>'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_medium Lsu_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium_medium When the scene of the one-loss teams is surveyed, I suspect that voters will elevate Oklahoma over Oregon and Alabama simply to avoid a rematch in the title game.
Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium_medium
Seriously, how hard is Jim Delany pulling for Wisconsin to win the Leaders? Do you think that he wants Penn State or Ohio State in his first title game? With those story lines?
Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_st_medium_medium Stanford_old8_medium_medium Could the Fiesta choose the 10-2 Michigan/Nebraska winner over either of these teams? Yes, and the B1G will be lobbying hard for it. More likely, though, the bowl goes with these two one-loss squads.
Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium_medium Houston_old8_medium_medium

I suspect that undefeated Houston will finish above one-loss Boise in the polls. As long as that's in the Top 14 (and it will be), they'll go to New Orleans.  

We probably need Boise and Houston to each lose once more for this spot to be open for picking a 10-2 B1G team.

Orangebowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Virginia_tech_medium_medium Cincinnati_medium_medium I think that Virginia Tech will win the rematch over Clemson to get here. Cincy wins the Big East, but as of today, six of the eight teams are still in the race.
Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium_medium Arkansas_medium_medium_medium This looks to be 10-2 Nebraska/Michigan winner versus 10-2 Arkansas. Should Arkansas upset LSU on Black Friday, then this could be the Tigers or Tide, depending on how the BCS standings play out.
Outbackbowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium_medium Georgia_medium_medium_medium 10-3 Legends champ Sparty versus 10-3 SEC East Champ Georgia Great matchup.
Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_old4_medium_medium Baylor_old14_medium_medium 9-3 Michigan might get picked over Sparty for the Outback Bowl. As I have it, Denard vs. RG3 makes for a great game.
Fl61806logo_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_st_medium_medium_medium Florida_medium_medium

Here's where we find out just how radioactive Penn State is. At 9-3 (or even 8-4) they'll have a better record than anyone else on the board. But, will a bowl want them now?

This is likely to be either a 7 win Vanderbilt team or a 6 win SEC team.

Meineke_car_care_bowl_of_texas_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Iowa_medium_medium_medium Texas_am_medium_medium Here starts the parade of the mediocre B1G teams. The Iowa-Purdue winner finishes at 7-5. I think that sends them to Houston to play one of three 6-win Big 12 schools.
Ticketcity_bowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium_medium Tulsa_medium

I have Ohio State losing to Penn State and Michigan to end the season at 6-6. They could just as easily finish at 8-4 and go to the Insight Bowl.

Look for the Tulsa-Houston loser to go here.

Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium_medium Northern_illinois_medium The Pizza Bowl looks to increase interest by staging an in-state matchup. Illinois should get its 7th win over Minnesota in the finale (and yes, a 6 win team can be selected before a 7 win team). 
Pinstripebowl_2010_sm_medium_medium Pittsburgh_medium Purdue_medium_medium Jim Delany should be in phone communication with this game by now. It's the best available landing spot for an at large team. I would think that he might want it in his next round of bowl tie-ins as well. We're counting on the Big 12 not getting eight teams bowl eligible to fill this. 

Armani-tuxedo-64x64_medium Northwestern_medium_medium_medium It's a new entry here, and one the B1G hasn't filled since 2007. When you get to six wins, but there are no open games for you, you find yourself in the All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Bowl game. Northwestern should get its sixth win with a victory over Minnesota. However, I don't currently project any additional openings for an at large team. The ACC, MAC and Sun Belt have done a sneaky-good job as signing up as the backup choice for bowls that might otherwise not fill their slots. If you want rooting interests, root against Miami, Wake Forest and NC State. They each have two games to win one to get to six. They each have a game against BC or Maryland. It doesn't look good. If one of them fails, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco might be in play.




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