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Home | Sports | College / NCAA |

Expert Analysis: College football bowl projections, third edition


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Mike Huguenin is the epitome of a Gamedayr. He has spent over 28 years in sports journalism, with notable stints at Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com, NY Times, The Sporting News, and Orlando Sentinel.  On Gamedayr, Mike provides expert analysis on Heisman updates, weekly game news, bowl projections and college basketball.

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Here are the third bowl projections for the season.

The prediction again is that the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC will have two teams apiece in the BCS, and it’s unfathomable to expect two teams from the Big East or Big Ten. The ACC could have two, depending on how Clemson and Florida State finish.

Don’t expect any non-Big Six school got get a BCS berth. Boise State’s hopes ended with a rare home loss, to San Diego State, on Saturday night.

[Gamedayr Latest: Heisman Trophy watch list from a fan’s perspective, Week 11]

The only Big Six leagues that seem to be in good shape to fill all their bowl slots are the Pac-12 and SEC.

A few notes about these projections: Once again, there are 35 bowls, though there have been some name changes from last season. And a bowl’s tie-in with a league doesn’t necessarily mean it will get the third- or fourth-, etc., place team from the league; instead, it means it gets the third or fourth, etc., selection from that league.

BCS MATCHUPS

Rose Bowl
Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 5 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Nebraska vs. Oregon State
Note: With Ohio State ineligible for the postseason, the Big Ten champ could have as many as three losses. This weekend’s Oregon State-Stanford game looms large when it comes to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon is in the national title game, the Rose will want another team from the Pac-12 as a replacement. Oregon State has lost once, Stanford twice – and both still have to play Oregon. A two-loss Pac-12 team would be palatable; a three-loss Pac-12 team would cause some angst.

Orange Bowl
Site: Miami
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS
Projection: Florida State vs. Louisville
Note: If the ACC champ is not in the BCS championship game, it is contractually obligated to go to the Orange Bowl. As for Louisville, no BCS bowl really wants anything to do with any Big East team.

Sugar Bowl
Site: New Orleans
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS
Projection: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Note: The Sugar will want another SEC team if Alabama is in the national title game. Florida, Georgia and LSU are in the mix. Georgia should win the SEC East and owns a win over Florida. But if Florida were to win out and finish 11-1, the Gators may be the choice over a Georgia team that would be coming off a loss in the SEC championship game. LSU already has lost twice. All bets are off if Alabama loses in the SEC title game; in that case, the Tide will be here. Oklahoma has to win out to get here.

Fiesta Bowl
Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Date: Jan. 3
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS
Projection: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
Note: The Big 12 champ is contractually obligated to the Fiesta if it is not in the national title game. But QB Collin Klein’s injury, whatever it is, could be a fatal blow to Kansas State. Unless the Irish lose out, they are a lock for a BCS bowl.

National championship game
Site: Miami
Date: Jan. 7
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2
Projection: Alabama vs. Oregon
Note: These are the two best teams, though both have some issues. Can Oregon get to No. 2 in the BCS standings? A tough closing schedule will help the Ducks’ computer rankings.

THE OTHER BOWLS

New Mexico Bowl
Site: Albuquerque
Date: Dec. 15
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West #5 vs. Pac-12 #7
Projection: Nevada vs. Arizona State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Site: Boise, Idaho
Date: Dec. 15
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American No. 3 vs. Western Athletic #1
Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Utah State
Note: Projection is that WAC champ Louisiana Tech will fill an open bowl slot more geographically suitable.

Poinsettia Bowl
Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BYU if bowl-eligible vs. Mountain West #2
Projection: BYU vs. San Diego State State
Note: BYU needs one more win to become bowl-eligible and plays hapless Idaho this weekend. This would be a home game for San Diego State.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Date: Dec. 21
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big East #6 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Kent State vs. East Carolina
Note: Projection is Big East will not be able to fill its slot, so Kent State – which still is legitimately in the hunt for the MAC title – is the pick to fill that slot.

New Orleans Bowl
Site: New Orleans
Date: Dec. 22
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt #1
Projection: Houston vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Note: ULM is at Arkansas State on Thursday and can basically lock up the Sun Belt title with a win. But an Arkansas State victory would open things up.

Las Vegas Bowl
Site: Las Vegas
Date: Dec. 22
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West #1 vs. Pac-12 #5
Projection: Boise State vs. Arizona

Hawaii Bowl
Site: Honolulu
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West #4
Projection: Tulsa vs. Fresno State

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Site: Detroit
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #8 vs. Mid-American #1
Projection: Middle Tennessee State vs. Ohio
Note: Projection is Big Ten won’t be able to fill its slot, and MTSU, which currently is tied for the Sun Belt lead, is the pick to fill that slot.

Military Bowl
Site: Washington, D.C.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 3 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #8 vs. Army if bowl-eligible
Projection: Arkansas State vs. Miami (Ohio)
Note: Projection is both slots will be filled by at-large teams.

Belk Bowl
Site: Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #5 vs. Big East #3
Projection: Duke vs. Cincinnati

Holiday Bowl
Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 9:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #5 vs. Pac-12 #3
Projection: TCU vs. USC

Independence Bowl
Site: Shreveport, La.
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #7 vs. SEC #10
Projection: Bowling Green vs. Vanderbilt
Note: Projection is ACC won’t be able to fill its slot.

Russell Athletic Bowl
Site: Orlando
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #3 vs. Big East #2
Projection: Miami vs. Rutgers
Note: This had been known as the Champs Sports Bowl

Texas Bowl
Site: Houston
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #6 vs. Big 12 #6
Projection: Minnesota vs. Iowa State

Armed Forces Bowl
Site: Fort Worth, Texas
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 11:45 a.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West #3
Projection: SMU vs. Air Force

Pinstripe Bowl
Site: New York
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 3:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big East #4 vs. Big 12 #7
Projection: Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Site: San Francisco
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN2
Matchup: Pac-12 #6 vs. Navy if bowl-eligible
Projection: Washington vs. Navy
Note: Navy is bowl-eligible and has locked up its spot.

Alamo Bowl
Site: San Antonio
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #3 vs. Pac-12 #2
Projection: Texas Tech vs. Stanford

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Site: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #5 vs. Big 12 #4
Projection: Northwestern vs. Oklahoma State
Note: This previously was known as the Insight Bowl.

Music City Bowl
Site: Nashville
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: ACC #6 vs. SEC #7
Projection: NC State vs. Ole Miss

Sun Bowl
Site: El Paso, Texas
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 2 p.m., CBS
Matchup: ACC #4 vs. Pac-12 #4
Projection: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA

Liberty Bowl
Site: Memphis
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA #1 vs. Big East #5 or SEC #8
Projection: UCF vs. Tennessee

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Site: Atlanta
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #2 vs. SEC #5
Projection: Clemson vs. Texas A&M

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Site: Dallas
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPNU
Matchup: Big Ten #7 vs. Big 12 #8
Projection: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Jose State
Note: Projection is neither conference will be able to fill its slot; thus, the projection is a Sun Belt-WAC matchup (and nothing says “New Year’s Day” like a Sun Belt-WAC matchup). This contest formerly was known as the TicketCity Bowl.

Gator Bowl
Site: Jacksonville
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN2
Matchup: Big Ten #4 vs. SEC #6
Projection: Michigan State vs. Mississippi State

Capital One Bowl
Site: Orlando
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Big Ten #2 vs. SEC #2
Projection: Michigan vs. Florida

Outback Bowl
Site: Tampa
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #3
Projection: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina

Cotton Bowl
Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 4
Time/TV: 8 p.m., Fox
Matchup: Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #4
Projection: Texas vs. LSU

BBVA Compass Bowl
Site: Birmingham, Ala.
Date: Jan. 5
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big East #5/6 vs. SEC #9
Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri
Note: Projection is Big East won’t be able to fill its slot.

GoDaddy.com Bowl
Site: Mobile, Ala.
Date: Jan. 6
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American #2 vs. Sun Belt #2
Projection: Toledo vs. Western Kentucky

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