In the traditional order of bowl projections, the games would be listed in order from the 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 takes 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: New Orleans Dec. 18 New Orleans $325,000 Sun Belt, CUSA Troy vs. SMU
No.34: Texas Dec. 29 Houston $612,500 Big Ten, Big 12 Indiana vs. Kansas St.
No.33: New Mexico Dec. 18 Albuquerque $750,000 MWC, WAC BYU vs. Fresno State
No.32: Armed Forces Dec. 30 Dallas $750,000 CUSA, MWC Tulsa vs. Army*
No.31: Hawaii Dec. 24 Honolulu $750,000 CUSA, WAC Houston vs. Hawaii
No.30: Poinsettia Dec. 23 San Diego $750,000 MWC, Navy San Diego St. vs. Navy
No.29: Kraft Jan. 9 San Fran. $750,000 WAC, Pac-10 Nevada vs. Washington
No.28: GMAC Jan. 6 Mobile $750,000 MAC, Sun Belt Temple vs. M. Tenn. St.
No.27: Humanitarian Dec. 18 Boise $750,000 WAC, MAC Idaho vs. Ohio U.
No.26: Little Caesars Dec. 26 Detroit $750,000 MAC, Big Ten N. Illinois vs. N'western
No.25: Birmingham Jan. 8 Birmingham $900,000 SEC, Big East Kentucky vs. South Fla.
No.24: Meineke Dec. 31 Charlotte $1,000,000 ACC, Big East UNC vs. Louisville
No.23: Eagle Dec. 29 Washington $1,000,000 ACC, CUSA Maryland vs. E. Carolina
No.22: St. Pete Dec. 21 St. Pete $1,000,000 Big East, CUSA Syracuse vs. Sou. Miss.
No.21: MAACO Dec. 22 Las Vegas $1,000,000 MWC, Pac-10 TCU vs. California
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 its home contest with TCU, the Utes will be placed in this spot for the MWC.
In either case, California will make a highly desirable opponent in the MAACO.
The St. Petersburg Bowl may attract the surprising Orange of Syracuse to tangle with traditionally strong Southern Mississippi of Conference USA in one of the more intriguing clashes of "North versus South" in the Bowl picture.
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.
Troy will win the Sun Belt Conference and opt for the bright lights and night life of New Orleans. The Trojans may face a strong opponent in Coach June Jones and his SMU Mustangs.
The GMAC features a nice location for the up-and-coming Temple Owls to demonstrate their balanced attack against Sun Belt-entry Middle Tennessee State.
The Eagle Bank, Hawaii, Poinsettia, New Orleans, Humanitarian, Little Caesars and Meineke Bowls are examples of choices purely of more local interest to fill seats.
The Texas Bowl may sound more like a basketball game with the Hoosiers and Wildcats.
In the following pages you will find the 20 bowl games paying out more than $1 million to those fortunate enough to receive invitations.