College Football Bowl Projections for Week 7: Boise St. Vs. TCU for BCS Title?

Puppet MasterCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2010

College Football Bowl Projections for Week 7: Boise St. Vs. TCU for BCS Title?

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    Welcome to the seventh installment of the weekly Bleacher Report Bowl Projection series.

    Summary and analysis is presented for all 35 BCS bowl games.

    In  the following pages you will find specific articles regarding the 20 highest-paying BCS bowls, each detailing how the teams were chosen and who will be the most likely contenders for these contests.

    The remaining 15 bowls reward participants with payouts of less than $1 million. These contests are listed as a group on page two of this article.

    The choices presented here are updated on a weekly basis. They include the outcome of past games and a team's upcoming schedule.

    Reader participation is strongly encouraged each and every week. All followers should feel free to leave comments regarding their impressions of bowl matchups and how these games may develop over the course of the season.

    Participants that leave comments will make a difference in what schools are selected for the bowl games. Final analysis and predictions will be a combination of the readers' suggestions and the writer's personal opinions. 

    The bowl presentation order reflects the amount of money paid to schools for playing in the game.

    Information concerning conference affiliations to specific bowl games is part of each analysis.

    We kindly ask all readers to provide their ideas and predictions of which teams go to these contests. Only with your assistance may we gather a consensus regarding the continuing developments and provide the most accurate predictions possible.

    Now that we've covered the bases, let us take a look at how the events of last Saturday affected your team and its postseason destination.

The 15 Bowls Paying $1 Million Or Less To Participating Schools

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    In the traditional order of bowl projections, the games would be listed in order from first-played to the last-played. Unfortunately, this sort of method removes the element of money paid to the schools and ignores the success of teams during the season.

    The 35 bowl games listed here are in order of the amount of money paid to the participants.

    By using this system, we do not "devalue" the Sugar Bowl or increase the prestige of the Birmingham Bowl simply based upon what date the bowl game take place.

    We begin with the following 15 bowls who pay out $1 million or less to the schools invited.



    Bowl                          Date      Place              Payout       Conf. Tie-Ins       Projected Matchup

    No.35: Birmingham     Jan. 8    Birmingham    $900,000  SEC, Big East    Kentucky vs. Rutgers

    No.34: New Mexico    Dec. 18   Albuquerque  $750,000  MWC, WAC        BYU vs. Fresno State

    No.33: Armed Forces  Dec. 30  Dallas           $750,000   CUSA, MWC      Tulsa vs. Army*

    No.32: Hawaii             Dec. 24  Honolulu        $750,000   CUSA, WAC      Houston vs. Hawaii

    No.31: Poinsettia        Dec. 23  San Diego     $750,000   MWC, Navy        San Diego St. vs. Navy

    No.30: Kraft                Jan. 9    San Fran.      $750,000    WAC, Pac-10     Nevada vs. Washington

    No.29: GMAC             Jan. 6    Mobile           $750,000    MAC, Sun Belt   Temple vs. Troy

    No.28: Humanitarian   Dec. 18  Boise            $750,000    WAC, MAC         Idaho vs. Ohio U.

    No.27: Little Caesars   Dec. 26  Detroit           $750,000   MAC, Big Ten     N. Illinois vs. Indiana

    No. 26: Texas             Dec. 29  Houston        $612,500   Big Ten, Big 12   Illinois vs. Texas A&M

    No. 25: New Orleans  Dec. 18  New Orleans  $325,000   Sun Belt, CUSA   M. Tenn St. vs. Sou. Miss.

    No. 24: MAACO         Dec. 22  Las Vegas    $1,000,000  MWC, Pac-10    TCU vs. Arizona State

    No. 23: St. Pete        Dec. 21  St. Pete        $1,000,000    Big East, CUSA Sou. Fla. vs. Central Fla.

    No. 22: Eagle            Dec. 29  Washington  $1,000,000   ACC, CUSA        Maryland vs. E. Carolina

    No. 21: Meineke        Dec. 31  Charlotte      $1,000,000   ACC, Big East     UNC vs. UConn 


    The choice for the MAACO is TCU based upon the analysis that Utah will defeat TCU in a battle of unbeatens for the Mountain West crown.

    Void of their high BCS ranking, the Horned Frogs could tumble down the ladder in the manner outlined. Likewise, if Utah loses their home contest with TCU, the Utes will be placed in this spot for the MWC.  

     In either case, Arizona State will make a highly desirable opponent in the MAACO.

    The St. Petersburg Bowl may latch on to the most intense contest of the early bowl season with Central Florida and South Florida squaring off. It should fill the seats needed by this bowl event.

    The Kraft Hunger Bowl in San Francisco could find itself with one of the most interesting of the lesser-paying bowl games with Jake Locker and Washington going up against "The Pistol" offense of Nevada.

    The Birmingham Bowl sets up another unique challenge for the SEC against a Big East opponent while the New Mexico Bowl continues to labor under the pressure that comes from being the first of all postseason contests each year.

    The Armed Forces Bowl may turn to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point if no viable Mountain West opponent is available for nearby Tulsa of Conference USA.

    The  Eagle Bank, Hawaii, Poinsettia, GMAC, New Orleans, Humanitarian, The Texas, Little Caesars and Meineke Bowls are examples of choices purely of more local interest to fill seats.

    In the following pages you will find the 20 bowl games paying out more than $1 Million to those fortunate enough to receive invitations.

No. 20: The Independence Bowl

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    Date: December 27, 2010

    Place: Shreveport, Louisiana

    Payout: $1,100,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Mountain West No.3 vs. ACC No.7

    Projected Matchup: Air Force vs. Ga Tech

    The Yellow Jackets provide the name recognition under the new ACC contract with the Independence Bowl.

    Air Force is recognized nationally as well, and provides an outstanding representative under the new contract the Mountain West Conference secured with the Independence Bowl.

    If Tech can pull off the upset of Clemson, they could switch places in the ACC-bowl scenario. 

No.19: The Dallas Football Classic

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Dallas, Texas

    Payout: $1,200,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Big 10 No. 7 vs. Big 12 No. 8

    Projected Matchup: Penn State vs. Baylor

    The Bears from Waco are enjoying a fine turnaround season and should be rewarded as the host team in the new Dallas Football Classic, played at the site of the old Cotton Bowl stadium.

    Penn State provides the national interest element, and coach Joe Paterno is just the man to put the stamp of approval on a new bowl game.

No.18: The Music City Bowl

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    Date: December 30, 2010

    Place: Nashville, Tennessee

    Payout: $1,600,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 7 vs. ACC No.6

    Projected Matchup: Mississippi vs. N.C. State

    In the strange world of the two premier southern football conferences, the interesting location of Nashville provides a rare postseason opportunity to see how the middle-of-the-road schools compare.

    Ole Miss has an exciting offensive attack that will meet an even more formidable offense in the Wolfpack of N.C. State.

    Expect this game to go down to the wire.

No.17: The Liberty Bowl

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    Date: December 31, 2010

    Place: Memphis, Tennessee

    Payout: $1,700,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 8 vs. Conference USA No. 1

    Projected Matchup: Arkansas vs. SMU

    In the land of Elvis, the storied Liberty Bowl usually provides a measurement for the Conference USA champion to match strength with the SEC.

    SMU has work to do before securing the CUSA title. If they can pull it off, Arkansas fans will fill the stadium, and the Razorbacks should provide a most-nasty afternoon for Coach June Jones' Mustangs.

No.16: The Sun Bowl

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    Date: December 31, 2010

    Place: El Paso, Texas

    Payout: $1,900,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-10 No. 4

    Projected Matchup: Clemson vs. Arizona

    In the first year of the ACC contract with the venerable Sun Bowl, the Tigers of Clemson should be chosen due to their traveling fan base and exciting brand of football.

    Arizona will provide an extraordinary opponent with a regional flavor.

No.15: The Pinstripe Bowl

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    Date: December 30, 2010

    Place: The Bronx in New York City

    Payout: $2,000,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Big East No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 7

    Projected Matchup: Notre Dame vs. Texas Tech 

    Yankee Stadium.

    New York has all of the support systems in place for the new Pinstripe Bowl, and the location is sure to become one of the most-popular postseason destinations.

    The Pinstripe will pay $2 million to its participants, chosen from two BCS conferences as a tie-in.

    Notre Dame is also eligible for Big East bowl connections because of contracts in place. The Irish are also listed as a backup team from the Big 12 in case the conference cannot produce a qualifying team.

    New Yorkers expect two big names to be responsible for entertaining residents of the Big Apple.

    Notre Dame and Texas Tech may be the teams that fill the bill for a casting call off Broadway.

No.14: The Champs Sports Bowl

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    Date: December 28, 2010

    Place: Orlando, Florida

    Payout: $2,130,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: ACC No. 3 vs. Big East No. 2

    Projected Matchup: Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh

    The new Champs Sports Bowl contract brings in the No. 2 team from the Big East to face a highly-regarded ACC opponent.

    Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt has the talent to overhaul any school in the Big East and should finish no lower than second.

    Virginia Tech is capable of winning the ACC and going to the Orange Bowl. If they do not qualify for the Orange Bowl, expect the Gobblers to head for Orlando as a consolation prize.

No.13: The Holiday Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 30, 2010

    Place: San Diego, California

    Payout: $2,200,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Pac-10 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5

    Projected Matchup: Oregon State vs. Oklahoma State

    The Cowboys are a dangerous opponent because of their powerful offense. Defense is always a point of emphasis in the rugged Big 12 conference, but even casual followers of the sport notice Okie State can attack from any point of the field, often making a shambles of opponents. 

    Coach Mike Riley of Oregon State has played one of the toughest schedules in the country to this point of the season. The Beavers presently have injury problems that may result in a three-way struggle with Arizona and Washington for the preferred San Diego event.

    With these two schools, the Holiday would have an interesting match with teams that can attract a televised audience and fill the stands.

No.12 The Alamo Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 29, 2010

    Place: San Antonio, Texas

    Payout: $2,225,00

    Conference Tie-Ins: Pac-10 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3

    Projected Matchup: Stanford vs. Missouri 

    The Alamo Bowl has a new contract that provides the San Antonio classic with the second-place team from the Pac-10.

    Stanford looks like the most likely candidate from the West.

    Missouri is a powerful team, one who can and will put points on the board. The Tiger defense has been surprisingly surly this season, leading to a newfound respect for ol' Mizzou.

    Both teams are dangerous and could wreck the best laid plans of future opponents.

    These two potential BCS squads should make for a very attractive Alamo Bowl.

No.11: The Gator Bowl

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Jacksonville, Florida

    Payout: $2,750,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 6 vs. Big Ten No. 4

    Projected Matchup: Florida vs. Northwestern

    This is the first year of the Big Ten and SEC tie-in Gator Bowl. A top quality matchup will be a necessity for officials, sponsors and local businesses.

    Florida can sell out the Jacksonville stadium as long as it can remain the obvious first choice SEC school under the new conference arrangements. 

    Northwestern can bring huge Chicago-area media exposure and still has an outstanding team that will put on a great show for the nation's viewers.

    The clash between these two excellent coaches and their teams should make for one of the most interesting contests of New Year's Day.

No.10 The Outback Bowl

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Tampa, Florida

    Payout: $3,100,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 4 vs. Big Ten No. 3

    Projected Matchup: South Carolina vs. Wisconsin

    The Badgers can make a strong case as the Big Ten representative.

    If Wisconsin continues to improve from week to week they will end up in a BCS location.

    If the men from Madison fall short at any point during the rest of the season, Tampa is a nice reward for the powerful team who knocked off top-ranked Ohio State.

    If Florida does not defeat Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks in the race for the SEC Eastern division championship, the Gamecocks will be an attractive choice for Outback officials.

No.9: The Chick-Fil-A Bowl

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    Date: December 31, 2010

    Place: Atlanta, Georgia

    Payout: $3,250,000 for the ACC and $2,400,000 for the SEC

    Conference Tie-Ins: ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5

    Projected Matchup: Miami vs. Georgia

    If the Hurricanes fail to win the ACC, they should end up in Atlanta to face the nearby Bulldogs of Athens.

    Bulldog head coach Mark Richt played quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes in college.

    Georgia has turned their season around and looks to finish with a flourish.

    The words of former Texas headman Darrell Royal concerning this possible contest seem appropriate to reiterate.

    Royal, when questioned about what it was like to coach against his alma mater (Oklahoma) replied: "You like to beat the people who don't like you, but you absolutely have to beat your friends."

No.8: The Insight Bowl

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    Date: December 28, 2010

    Place: Tempe, Arizona

    Payout: $3,325,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Big Ten No. 5 vs. Big 12 No. 4

    Projected Matchup:  Michigan vs. Texas

    Since the Insight has become a big-money player in the bowl-selection process, it will not be surprising to find teams with a national following going into the desert to reap the rewards.

    When big money is mentioned, Texas is always interested.

    The Wolverines are an attractive choice for any postseason event.

    The Longhorns put down the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the road and brought renewed respect to the Austin program.

    With the big money contract in their back pocket, this battle in the desert would be a contest as intriguing as any postseason affair.

No.7: The Cotton Bowl

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    Date: January 7, 2011

    Place: Arlington, Texas

    Payout: $3,575,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 2

    Projected Matchup: Nebraska vs. Mississippi State

    The Cotton Bowl, with its storied legacy and incomparable new surroundings, is on the verge of becoming a BCS bowl.

    On the first Friday night in January, the Cotton Bowl will be the only game on the television and sponsors should expect some of the highest ratings in the postseason.

    The maroon Bulldogs from Starkville are demonstrating what can be accomplished when the right coach is in place.

    Mississippi State is surprising team after team this season and should be rewarded with a great bowl game invitation. The Cotton is just what the Doctor ordered.

    Nebraska reached for the stars and came up just a bit short, resulting in a hard-to-swallow 20-13 loss to Texas in Lincoln.

    The Cornhuskers, with their massive following and national fan base, are a highly desirable choice for the Cotton Bowl. 

No.6: The Capital One Bowl

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Orlando, Florida

    Payout: $4,250,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 2 vs. Big Ten No. 2

    Projected Matchup: Alabama vs. Ohio State

    It is the game everyone has wanted to see all year, so let's see it.

    If the Buckeyes lose again, they will not receive a BCS invitation. If Alabama loses another game, they will not receive a BCS invitation.

    Both teams have incredibly difficult schedules remaining, which could lead to a showdown in Orlando.

    What a battle it would be.

No.5 The Fiesta Bowl

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Glendale, Arizona

    Payout: $17,000,000

    Conference Tie-In: Big 12 No. 1 (see note below) vs. BCS At-Large Selection

    Projected Matchup: Michigan State vs. West Virginia

    If the Big 12 champion is plucked for the BCS title game, the Fiesta moves up in the "pecking order" and has the choice of many candidates as replacements.

    Provided Utah defeats TCU, the Utes could be such an attractive selection the Fiesta cannot pass them by.

    However, the Fiesta is known to covet Big Ten schools.

    If the surprising Spartans of Michigan State can finish with at least 11 victories, they will get the at-large invitation from the Fiesta Bowl.

    West Virginia should become Big East champion and receive an automatic-BCS bid to face the Spartans.

No.4: The Sugar Bowl

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    Date: January 4, 2011

    Place: New Orleans, Louisiana

    Payout: $17,000,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: SEC No. 1 vs. BCS At-Large

    Projected Matchup: LSU vs. Utah

    In a year where the SEC looks to be shut out of the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl takes on a renewed position of importance among conference members.

    LSU has won the BCS championship under coach Les Miles. That could give the Tigers the edge they need to defeat Auburn in the Western division of the SEC.

    Utah is the one team who can defeat TCU and win the Mountain West Conference championship. If the Utes finish with an undefeated record, they can make the Sugar Bowl for the second time in three years.

    The Sugar could have an undefeated LSU versus an undefeated Utah.

    These circumstances may provide the Sugar Bowl with the premier matchup prior to the BCS championship game.

No.3: The Orange Bowl

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    Date: January 3, 2011

    Place: Miami, Florida

    Payout: $17,000,000

    Conference Tie-In: ACC No. 1 vs. At-Large BCS Selection

    Projected Matchup: Florida State vs. Auburn

    The Florida State Seminoles appear to have the edge on Virginia Tech in terms of being the most complete team in the ACC.

    Put FSU in the Orange Bowl with the conference tie-in invitation.

    The Tigers of Auburn have the potential of going undefeated and playing for the BCS title. In addition, superstar quarterback Cam Newton (see picture) could stomp his way to the Heisman Trophy.

    It should not surprise anyone if Auburn and LSU switch places in the BCS bowl hierarchy, depending upon who wins the SEC West showdown this weekend. 

No.2: The Rose Bowl

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    Date: January 1, 2011

    Place: Pasadena, California

    Payout: $17,000,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: Pac-10 No. 1 vs. Big Ten No. 1 

    Projected Matchup: Oregon vs. Iowa 

    If there is a BCS title-game participant who must vacate its automatic invitation to the Rose Bowl, then the most qualified and highest-ranked team from a non-BCS conference is allowed to step in.

    Based upon the final rankings, several at-large teams may qualify for the invitation to Pasadena.

    Oregon could ride into November as an undefeated squad worthy of consideration for the BCS title game.

    The Ducks have a tough schedule the rest of the season and could be marked for destruction by USC coach Lane Kiffin, who needs a signature win to convince Trojan followers he is the man for the job.

    Maybe just enough competition remains to keep the Ducks in the Rose Bowl instead of Glendale.

    The Big Ten is a conference of four squads deserving BCS consideration at this time.

    If the Hawkeyes can calm the Wisconsin Badgers, catch Michigan State at just the right time and parlay their home-field advantage against Ohio State, they will be in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

No.1: The BCS Title Game

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    The Date: January 10, 2011

    The Place: Glendale, Arizona

    Payout: $17,000,000

    Conference Tie-Ins: None. No. 1 against No. 2 in the final regular season BCS Poll.

    Projected Matchup: Boise State vs. Oklahoma

    These two teams could end the season undefeated and ranked No. 1 and 2 in the final poll.

    If that is the case, they will play for the BCS title regardless of what anyone else accomplishes during the 2010 season.

    Oklahoma has to face undefeated Missouri before even qualifying for the Big 12 conference championship game.

    The Tigers are quite capable of bringing the dream season of the Sooners to an end.

    Boise State continues to defeat everyone they play. If teams around them begin losing, the Broncos should end the season in one of the top two positions in the final BCS regular season poll.

    In a rematch of one of the greatest college football bowl games of all time, let's set the table for Oklahoma vs. Boise State in what promises to be a thrilling contest.

    For this week at least.

The Cool Down Lap: The Readers Take Over

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    Thanks to David Hedlind, Carl Stine, Tim Croley, Brandon Hamblen, Dan Boone, Ravenous Ute, Alex, Sparty, Zodiac and many others for all of the information they have provided concerning the Bleacher Report Bowl Projection series.

    A tally of the "Big Six" bowl games is in order. From the past week we find the consensus of readers who left comments as follows:

    BCS National Championship: Oregon vs. Ohio State (That one will be changed this week) 

    Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Boise State (Looks sharp at this point)

    Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. West Virginia

    Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Auburn

    Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. TCU

    Capital Bowl: LSU vs. Iowa

    Cotton Bowl: Nebraska vs. Arkansas (The readers knew best concerning the Huskers)