Take a deep breath. We've made it. It seems like every year the writers will make comments about "an ugly offseason" for college football. This really was one. But on the day after tomorrow, it's over. It's game time. The offseason guesses go away, and the in-season observations begin.
Until then, here are the last set of bowl picks for all 35 bowl games. I'm doing projections, not just an ordering of the current polling. That means that schedules and the craziness of a season are taken into account. I've also noted programs that I'm higher on that the general consensus. For example, I really like Virginia Tech this year. I'll also note a couple of teams that I'm down on - both in the B1G and across the country - such as, I'm not buying into Stanford.
First, let's remember that there are 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 is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
- Until a team is officially bowl banned, we assume that they can and will go. So, no USC. Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina, <ahem> Miami...you're in consideration until otherwise notified.
- 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 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.
First, the BCS and Big Ten bowl games...
And on to the rest of the bowls...