Bowl Predictions 2012: Where Best Non-BCS Qualifying Teams Will Land

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVNovember 14, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quinton Patton #4 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs makes a one handed catch in the corner of the endzone as he beats D.J. Hayden #2 of the Houston Cougars on  the play at Robertson Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Officials ruled that Patton was out of bounds on the play. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defeated the Houston Cougars 56-49. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the college football season nearing its end, one of the most intriguing storylines heading into the bowl season is where the best non-automatic qualifying teams will land.

There's usually been room in BCS bowl games recently for teams like Boise State and Utah who go undefeated through their soft schedules. This year, however, there hasn't been a team of the sort and currently there's only two teams not in automatic qualifying conferences who are ranked at all.

While none of these teams will be crashing the BCS party, some will still be appearing in important bowl games. 

Let's take a look at those teams and where they're expected to go bowling at come late December and early January.

 

Louisiana Tech

Three years removed from the Derek Dooley era, Louisiana Tech has emerged as a very good team and has been ranked for much of the year.

The Bulldogs are 9-1 on the season and have tore through their regular season slate, with the lone exception being a 59-57 shootout loss to Texas A&M, of all teams. Yes, that's the same team that just slayed the giant Alabama Crimson Tide last week.

Louisiana Tech is for real and it should show that in the Independence Bowl, as the SEC has many teams that will surprisingly not be bowling and will need to fill it with solid non-AQ teams.

Prediction: Independence Bowl against Utah


Kent State

The undoubted heroes of the MAC, Kent State has scorched through its regular season slate as well and looks to be headed toward a solid bowl game.

The Golden Flashes are also 9-1 on the season and their only loss came against the SEC's Kentucky early in the season. They have two 1,000-yard rushers and boast the nation's 15th-best rushing attack with more than 235 yards per contest.

No. 25 in the AP rankings this week, Kent State will show its prowess through the rest of the regular season and the New Orleans Bowl will realize their body of work and put them up against Arkansas State.

Prediction: New Orleans Bowl against Arkansas State

 

Toledo

After dropping its first game of the season in an overtime contest against Arizona of the Pac-12, Toledo pulled it together to win eight straight games.

However, they lost a heartbreaker last week to Ball State, which destroyed their chances of finishing the season with just one loss. But they still remain one of the best teams in the MAC with a 5-1 conference record and should take care of business against Northern Illinois and Akron to finish the season 10-2.

The Rockets will also benefit from many surprising SEC teams who won't be going bowling, and will get a bid for the BBVA Compass Bowl to culminate one of the best seasons in the program's history.

Prediction: BBVA Compass Bowl against Troy

 

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