Updated Bowl Predictions
Much has changed in the last two weeks since I last posted by bowl predictions. The SEC still looks to send two teams to the BCS, but as of now I project the SEC to only have 6 bowl eligible teams. D.J. Shockley's injury will hinder UGA's chance at an unbeaten season, but should not keep them out of the SEC championship. Notre Dame will be the first choice for a BCS at-large berth if they win out. UCLA still has a good shot to finish 10-1, but I project the Bruins to lose one other game besides USC. Texas and Virginia Tech are neck in neck for the Rose Bowl, but I still project the Longhorns to lose one game. Call it the Mack Brown syndrome, but until Texas gets it done, I project an 11-1 season.
The BCS Bowls
- Rose Bowl- Southern Cal vs Virginia Tech
- Fiesta Bowl- Texas vs Alabama
- Sugar Bowl- Georgia vs Penn State
- Orange Bowl- Notre Dame vs West Virginia
notes- I project Southern Cal and Virginia Tech as the only unbeatens. Since the Orange Bowl has choice to claim either the ACC or Big East as its "home" team, they will claim the ACC. Therefore, the Orange will be able to have the first at-large choice, a 9-2 Notre Dame. I would not be a surprise if Alabama was the first choice, moving Notre Dame to the Fiesta or Sugar. Since the Orange had the first at-large choice, they will be stuck with West Virginia as the opponent no matter what scenario pans out. Texas and Georgia automatically qualify for their home bowls as conference champions, and I project Penn State to go to the Sugar Bowl as the Big Ten champ. UCLA or Oregon could still finish 10-1 and be an attractive at-large team for the Fiesta Bowl, but at the expense of a one loss Alabama. I project Notre Dame to finish in the top 8 of the BCS standings earning the automatic bid. An Auburn, Colorado, or Florida State could screw everything up with an upset in their respective conference championship game.
- Cotton Bowl-Texas Tech vs LSU
- Capital One Bowl- Auburn vs Wisconsin
- Holiday Bowl- UCLA vs Colorado
- Gator Bowl- Louisville vs Miami
- Outback Bowl- Michigan vs Florida
- Peach Bowl- Tennessee vs Florida State
notes: I project the Michigan-Ohio State winner will go to the Outback, even though the loser might have the better overall record. UCLA or Oregon is a toss up for the Holiday, but with Kellen Clemons injury, UCLA is the more attractive pick.
Middle of the Road Bowls-
- Alamo Bowl- Ohio State vs Texas A&M
- Sun Bowl- Oregon vs Northwestern
- Liberty Bowl- Southern Miss vs Virginia
- Insight Bowl- Rutgers vs Stanford
- Champs Sports Bowl- Boston College vs Oklahoma
- Meineke Car Care Bowl- Clemson vs Minnesota
- Music City Bowl- Iowa vs Georgia Tech
- Independence Bowl- Missouri vs Indiana
notes: I project the Liberty Bowl to fill their at-large spot with a southern team. The ACC should have at least 8 bowl eligible teams, two more than their 6 bowl slots. Since I project the SEC to fall short of eligible teams, the Music City and Independence Bowls will have open slots. The Big East will fall short of meeting it bowl commitments, if Notre Dame is selected for the BCS, which I project. That will leave the Meineke open for an ACC or Big 10 team. I project the Big Ten to have 9 bowl eligible teams, with Indiana being a stretch. I project Stanford to get the edge over Oregon State and Cal for the Insight Bowl, since Oregon State and Cal played in Phoenix the last two years, respectively.
- Houston Bowl- Nebraska vs Fresno State
- Las Vegas Bowl- TCU vs Oregon State
- Emerald Bowl- BYU vs California
- MPC Computers Bowl- Boise State vs Maryland
- Motor City Bowl- Toledo vs Michigan State
- GMAC Bowl- Miami of Ohio vs UTEP
- Fort Worth Bowl- Tulsa vs Washington State
- Hawaii Bowl- Nevada vs Houston
- Poinsettia Bowl- Utah vs Navy
- New Orleans Bowl- Troy vs Memphis
notes: The Houston Bowl has an open spot because of the SEC, and I project that it will be filled by Fresno State. Houston made a similar deal last year with the WAC's UTEP. However, this time I project the Bowl will not have to go behind the conference's back. I project the Big 12 will have only 7 bowl eligible teams leaving the Forth Worth open. Washington State is projected as the 7th bowl eligible team from the Pac 10 and an attractive at-large pick. It is conceivable that the Poinsettia will pursue a Pac 10 team, if Navy decides to go bowling elsewhere.