Projecting Every Bowl Game Post Week 8

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

Projecting Every Bowl Game Post Week 8

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    With every passing week, we get closer and closer to bowl season. After another thrilling weekend of college football, the national title picture continues to clear up, as there are now only seven undefeated teams remaining.

    As always, a lot can change between now and the end of the season. But, at this point in the year, we can get a pretty good grasp of how the bowl picture is going to shake out.

    With just over a month remaining until the end of the regular season a lot can still change. 

    Here are predictions for every bowl game from the New Mexico Bowl to the BCS National Championship.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Washington vs. New Mexico

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1:00 p.m.

    There is nothing like playing in your own bowl, and that might be the case for New Mexico if it can win three of its final four games.

    With a strong possibility that will happen, the Lobos would take on a representative from the Pac-12

    Washington is the most likely participant, but with what the Huskies did to Oregon State and the talent they have, there is a chance they could win a few more games and move up as far as bowl positioning is concerned.

    This might be a huge mismatch if it did happen.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs. Louisiana Tech

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4:30 p.m.

    After a tough loss to Miami (OH) over the weekend, the Ohio Bobcats drop to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

    This bowl is generally reserved for the No. 3 team in the MAC. With Toledo and Kent State both looking strong, this could be where Ohio lands.

    Louisiana Tech is the WAC representative and it looks like there is a good shot it could run the table, finish 11-1 and win the WAC.

    If these two teams play, expect some points to be scored.

San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. Nevada

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8:00 p.m.

    BYU is a virtual shoe-in for this bowl game as long as it can get to six wins, and will take on an opponent from the Mountain West Conference.

    This could be a number of different teams, but with Boise State likely to have a shot at a BCS berth, that would bump everybody up, and Nevada would fall into that slot.

    Both teams have plenty of talent to have improved records from where they sit right now, and both certainly expected to be racking up more wins than they have so far, particularly BYU.

Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida vs. Pittsburgh

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    When: Friday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

    The Big East may not even have enough teams to fill this bowl game, but with the way Pittsburgh is playing lately, the Panthers should be able to get two more wins and qualify for a bowl bid.

    Central Florida is the Conference-USA representative and the Knights are one of the top teams in the league.

    The bid for this likely comes down to Central Florida or Tulsa, and there is a strong possibility that either of them could be here.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana-Monroe

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 22, at 12:00 p.m.

    What a matchup this would be as two very talented teams with Top 25 potential battle it out. This would be a chance for fans to learn a lot about these two universities.

    Northern Illinois only has one loss all season, and Louisiana-Monroe has been knocked off only twice.

    With the MAC and Sun Belt both much better than they have been in recent years, both conferences will get more bids than they are used to at the expense of other leagues.

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State vs. Fresno State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 22, at 3:30 p.m.

    If Boise State does not qualify for a BCS Bowl game, this is where it will end up, but if the Broncos win out, they will have a strong case for a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

    Fresno State is the next team in line and in this annual battle, the Mountain West Conference takes on a mid-level Pac-12 team.

    Arizona State is the choice here as the 5-3 Sun Devils have had plenty of ups and downs this season, but appear headed in the right direction.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: San Diego State vs. East Carolina

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    When: Monday, Dec. 24, at 8:00 p.m.

    Even though this is not a major bowl game, it has to be where plenty of teams would love to end up as the Christmas Eve encounter takes place in beautiful Hawaii.

    Conference-USA is not going to have enough teams with winning records to fill a lot of its bowl spots, but East Carolina only needs one more win to qualify.

    East Carolina is the third best team in the league right now and the other representative will be a team from the Mountain West Conference.

    San Diego State is third in the league with a shot to even move up to a better bowl game in the coming weeks.

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl: Minnesota vs. Kent State

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    When: Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

    It has been quite a while since Minnesota has qualified for a bowl game, but this could be the year that happens.

    With Penn State and Ohio State both ineligible, the Big Ten may struggle to fill its eight slots. The Gophers need just one more win, and chances are they will be able to get that and finish 6-6. 

    Their opponent will be the second-place team from the MAC, and Kent State is in prime position right now.

    The Golden Flashes are fresh off an upset win against nationally ranked Rutgers and have a good shot for a double-digit win season.

Military Bowl: Air Force vs. Maryland

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27, at 3:00 p.m.

    This game is usually reserved for Army, but the Black Knights are not going to be bowl eligible, and Air Force is the next best choice.

    The Falcons will take on the No. 8 team from the ACC, and with North Carolina not bowl eligible, Maryland is the selection.

    Maryland has had quite a turnaround this season. The Terrapins need two more victories to become bowl eligible.

    This may not be one of the most anticipated games of the bowl season, but these two teams are both exceeding expectations this year.

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Miami

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27, at 6:30 p.m.

    The ACC and Big East will do battle in this annual both matchup, and the No. 3 team from the Big East is likely to be Cincinnati.

    The Bearcats are 5-2 with both their losses coming to very talented teams. 

    Miami needs two more wins to become bowl eligible, in a year most thought it would be ineligible.

    The Hurricanes right now are sitting in the middle of the ACC and it appears pretty set in stone where they are going to finish.

Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl: West Virginia vs. Stanford

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27, at 9:45 p.m.

    Two weeks ago, West Virginia was a national championship contender, and now the Mountaineers are a middle of the pack Big 12 team with no defense.

    Still, a battle against Stanford would be one of the better non-BCS games, at least as far as the talent level is concerned.

    Stanford is very solid on the defensive side of the ball. Watching the Cardinal try to slow down Geno Smith would be an interesting battle.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Tennessee vs. SMU

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28, at 2:00 p.m.

    The SEC has ties with 10 bowl games and the No. 10 team is invited to the Independence Bowl.

    Tennessee is only sitting at 3-5 and still has work to do to qualify for a bowl game, but with the remaining schedule, a 6-6 record is likely.

    With not enough ACC teams bowl eligible, SMU out of Conference-USA is the logical choice. The Mustangs sit 4-4 right now and just need two more wins to be bowl eligible.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina State

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

    Rutgers is fresh off a loss to Kent State, but still has a shot to win the Big East. With that being said, Louisville is the front-runner in the league and the second place team goes to the Russell Athletic Bowl.

    The opponent will be the third place team out of the ACC. North Carolina State has had its fair share of ups and downs. The Wolfpack have knocked off Florida State and then nearly lost to Maryland.

    The talented Rutgers defense would be tested against quarterback Mike Glennon and the North Carolina State offense.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Iowa

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28, at 9:00 p.m.

    There are five teams in the Big 12 all with two losses overall, and that pack is still very jumbled. Texas Tech is the choice here as the Red Raiders are sitting at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league play.

    Iowa still needs two more wins to become bowl eligible. The Hawkeyes are 4-4 and have struggled in recent weeks.

    This could be a blowout, as it does not look like Iowa has the offensive firepower to hang with a team like Texas Tech.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: San Jose State vs. Ball State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 11:45 a.m.

    This is not a matchup many would find interesting, as the 6-2 San Jose State Spartans from the WAC take on 6-3 Ball State out of the MAC.

    Typically this is reserved for a team from the Mountain West Conference, but with Boise State likely headed to a BCS Bowl game, Ball State will fill the open spot.

    At 6-3, Ball State is one of six teams in the MAC already bowl eligible.

    San Jose State is filling the void left by Conference USA, as there are not likely to be enough teams from the league to fill all the spots.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy vs. Arizona

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 3:15 p.m.

    This is a game that Navy is slated to play in every year against a team from the Pac-12. This year Arizona is the team.

    Rich Rodriguez has led Arizona to five wins already this season. The Wildcats only need one more win to become bowl eligible.

    They are certain to get that and stay close to home for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

    Navy is also 5-3, needing one more win to be bowl eligible.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: TCU vs. Syracuse

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 3:15 p.m.

    TCU has struggled in its first season in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs are 5-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play.

    One more win should not be a problem and a top seven finish in the conference will put the Horned Frogs in one of the few northern bowls.

    While Syracuse is sitting at 4-4 right now with some challenging games remaining, the Orange can win two of those and stay very close to home for this bowl game.

    With quite a challenging schedule, Syracuse would be more than prepared for this one.

Valero Alamo Bowl: USC vs. Oklahoma State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 6:45 p.m.

    Who would have expected USC to be playing in a bowl game like this when the season began. It is likely to be the case as the Trojans have struggled so far this season.

    The game is typically reserved for the second-place Pac-12 team, but with Oregon and Oregon State both having a shot at BCS bowls, USC could land here.

    Oklahoma State continues to surprise and has a great chance to finish in the top three in the Big 12. The Cowboys have done it with a brand new quarterback and a lot of younger players at the skill positions.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Texas vs. Michigan State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 10:15 p.m.

    After knocking off Wisconsin over the weekend, it is looking more and more like Michigan State is going to qualify for a bowl game.

    The Spartans are 5-4 with only one more win necessary. Even though there is not much talent outside of Le'Veon Bell on the offensive side of the ball, the Spartans are still getting it done.

    Texas, on the other hand is still struggling. The Longhorns barely squeaked by Kansas on Saturday and have not yet righted the ship. Still, the Longhorns have a good shot at finishing fourth in the Big 12.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Virginia Tech

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31, at 3:30 p.m.

    Vanderbilt  has finally hit its stride. The Commodores are sitting 4-4 with only two more wins necessary to qualify for a bowl game.

    After a very slow start to the season with one of the most challenging schedules in the country, Vanderbilt has recovered nicely in recent weeks.

    Virginia Tech on the other hand has been one of the biggest disappointments so far this year. The Hokies are 4-4 and have struggled for most of the season.

    Still, though it is hard to imagine the Hokies not qualifying for a bowl game.

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Duke vs. UCLA

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31, at 2:00 p.m.

    This seems like a Final Four matchup in March, not a bowl game in late December. Duke is having its best season in recent memory and UCLA has also turned things around.

    The Blue Devils are 6-3 with a chance to rack up a few more wins before the season is over.

    UCLA has quickly forgotten about that awful finish at the end of last season. The Bruins are sitting at 6-2 overall, led by talented running back Johnathan Franklin.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Ole Miss

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31, at 3:30 p.m.

    The win by Ole Miss on Saturday over Arkansas vaulted the Rebels into this bowl game and likely knocked Arkansas from bowl contention.

    What a turnaround it has been for an Ole Miss team who did not win a conference game in 2011.

    Tulsa on the other hand is the class of Conference-USA and is a loss at Iowa State away from being undefeated.

    This could be a quality New Year's Eve game.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs. Mississippi State

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31, at 7:30 p.m.

    Clemson may be the best team in the country not playing on New Year's Day or later and the Tigers will battle the No. 6 team from the SEC.

    Mississippi State was demolished in its first real test of the season against Alabama. With a very favorable schedule, the Bulldogs should be able to finish in the top half of the conference.

    The offense of Clemson would likely have way too much for Mississippi State in this one.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Iowa State vs. Bowling Green

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 12:00 p.m.

    Iowa State is the eighth Big 12 team to qualify for a bowl game and typically the Cyclones would be taking on a team from the Big Ten.

    That will not be the case, and filling the void could be the No. 6 team from the MAC, Bowling Green.

    The Falcons have six wins already and hung with Florida on the road until the very end. The bowl season could be a chance for teams from the MAC to show what they are made of. Gator Bowl: Northwestern vs. Texas A&M

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    When: Tuesday, Jan 1, at 12:00 p.m.

    Texas A&M has fared very well in its first season as a member of the SEC. The Aggies are 6-2 overall with its only losses coming by a combined eight points to Florida and LSU.

    Northwestern is also having quite a year, as the Wildcats are 7-2 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play.

    This could be the best finish Northwestern has had in a long time and a New Year's Day bowl game would be a big deal for the school.

    A rematch of last year's Meineke Car Care Bowl may be in order.

CapitalOne Bowl: Michigan vs. LSU

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    When: Tuesday, Jan 1, at 1:00 p.m.

    The annual SEC-Big Ten bowl games continue as Michigan and LSU do battle. The Wolverines have struggled all season against talented defenses, and this game might be much of the same. 

    LSU has struggled to put points on the board in nearly every game it has played. This game would likely be no different.

    If these two teams do meet, expect a very low-scoring game between two teams who have not lived up to expectations so far this season.

Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Georgia

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    When: Tuesday, Jan 1, at 1:00 p.m.

    Georgia looked very impressive over the weekend against Florida, but getting to a BCS game means knocking off Alabama in the SEC title game and that is not likely to happen.

    The Bulldogs will have to settle for the Outback Bowl and a date with the Wisconsin Badgers.

    Wisconsin looked like it was hitting its stride, but after stumbling at home against Michigan State, there are a lot of questions the Badgers must answer the rest of the way.

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

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    When: Friday, Jan 4, at 8:00 p.m.

    Oklahoma had a chance to jump back into the national title conversation, but fell flat on its face once again in a loss to Notre Dame over the weekend.

    The Sooners now have two losses and if they can win the remaining games on their schedule, the Cotton Bowl is likely where they are headed.

    South Carolina will have to do without Marcus Lattimore, as he will be out for a while. The Gamecocks have not fared too well when Lattimore goes down, but have enough talent to get to the Cotton Bowl.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Utah State vs. Arkansas State

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    When: Saturday, Jan. 5, at 1:00 p.m.

    The BBVA Compass Bowl typically pits teams from either Conference USA, the Big East or the SEC, but this year will be two non-BCS schools as Utah State and Arkansas State will do battle.

    These are two of the best non-BCS schools in the country and both have shown the ability to be able to hang with the big boys.

    While some people may not be too interested in this game, it could be one of the most entertaining to watch if it does take place.

    Check out Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Bowl: Toledo vs. Western Kentucky

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    When: Sunday, Jan 6, at 9:00 p.m.

    Toledo has been one of the more impressive teams in the country so far this season, and if it wins the MAC will participate in the Bowl.

    Western Kentucky on the other hand has had a season equally impressive.The Hilltoppers have only lost to Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe.

    For those who like points, this could be one of the best bowl games to watch.

Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs. Oregon State

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    When: Tuesday, Jan 1, at 5:00 p.m.

    After dominating Michigan on Saturday, Nebraska becomes the favorite to win the Big Ten and represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

    The Cornhuskers are 6-2 overall and 3-1 in league play. While there is still a long way to go, Nebraska is in the drivers seat to play Wisconsin in the league title game.

    Even though Oregon State lost to Washington over the weekend, if the Beavers can win four of its remaining five games, they will likely find themselves in the Rose Bowl.

    There is still a long way to go and a huge game at Stanford looms on Nov. 10.

Discover Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Louisville

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    When: Tuesday, Jan 1, at 8:30 p.m.

    Louisville is one of seven remaining undefeated teams and is the front-runner to win the Big East.

    Both of these teams still have slim national title aspirations, but of all the BCS Bowl games, this is the most likely to happen.

    What a homecoming it would be for Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Miami native is having a remarkable season, and returning home to the Orange Bowl would be quite a treat.

    Florida State has as much talent as almost anybody in the country and would likely be a heavy favorite in this one.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Boise State

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    When: Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 8:30 p.m.

    Even with the loss over the weekend to Georgia, Florida is still in excellent position to play in the Sugar Bowl, pending the Gators can win all of their remaining games.

    Boise State still has a long way to go, but if the Broncos can win out and finish 11-1, there is a great chance they will finish in BCS Bowl contention.

    The Broncos are No. 19 in the latest rankings, but a lot of teams in front of them are going to lose and Boise State is likely to continue to climb.

    Stay tuned on this one as there is a long way to go.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame

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    When: Thursday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m.

    Of all the bowl matchups, with the exception of the national championship, this is going to be the most anticipated.

    If all of the top four teams win out, this will likely be No. 3 vs. No. 4. This would be the biggest test Collin Klain has faced all season as this Notre Dame defense is for real.

    The Fighting Irish proved themselves on Saturday against Oklahoma, and now are a legitimate threat for a national championship.

    What a game this would be as a sampler for the national championship.

BCS National Championship: Oregon vs. Alabama

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    When: Monday, Jan. 7, at 8:30 p.m.

    Of all the potential national championship possibilities, this is certainly the most highly anticipated as Oregon and Alabama have a lot to offer.

    How would the offense of the Ducks put points on the board against an Alabama defense that simply does not give up any? 

    The Alabama offense would also be tested against an Oregon defense that is certainly no pushover.

    Could the speed of the Oregon offense be the difference in the game? Only time will tell if these two teams will meet for all the marbles in Miami on January 7.