We begin the process by turning to the 10 lowest-paying bowls.
Because some conferences will not produce enough teams to be available for selection, several tie-ins may need to be filled with qualifying schools from other leagues.
An example would be the New Mexico Bowl where the WAC is not likely to produce a candidate but may fill the void with a six-win Iowa State who could be ignored in the Big 12 selection process.
The Texas Bowl in Houston could be in a similar situation. Counting on the Big Ten to deliver a qualifier in Purdue or Indiana seems risky at best. This may lead to a call being sent out for the qualified Miners of Texas-El Paso to travel across the state to fill in.
The Armed Forces Bowl is slated to have a Mountain West Conference representative as well. The word may go out to send in a qualified squad from West Point to face the local Mustangs of SMU.
Bowl Name Date Venue Payout Conf. Tie-Ins Projected Matchup
No.35: New Orleans Dec. 18 New Orleans $325,000 Sun Belt, CUSA Troy vs. Houston
No.34: Texas Dec. 29 Houston $612,500 Big Ten, Big 12 UTEP* vs. Texas Tech
No.33: New Mexico Dec. 18 Albuquerque $750,000 MWC, WAC BYU vs. Iowa St.**
No.32: Armed Forces Dec. 30 Dallas $750,000 CUSA, MWC SMU vs. Army***
No.31: Hawaii Dec. 24 Honolulu $750,000 CUSA, WAC Tulsa 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. UCLA
No.28: GoDaddy.Com Jan. 6 Mobile $750,000 MAC, Sun Belt Temple vs. Ark. State
No.27: Humanitarian Dec. 18 Boise $750,000 WAC, MAC Fresno St.. vs. Ohio U.
No.26: Little Caesars Dec. 26 Detroit $750,000 MAC, Big Ten N. Ill. vs. Northwestern
Conference USA should be able to support the openings against Sun Belt Conference champion Troy and has a powerful unit in Tulsa to send to the Hawaii Bowl to face the Warriors of the WAC.
The Poinsettia appears set with San Diego State and Navy while Texas Tech and BYU fill out their conference tie in responsibilities.
The selection process is more clear in the Kraft Bowl where Nevada of the WAC is anxious to travel over to San Francisco to face a PAC-10 foe. With a late upswing in performance, the UCLA Bruins may be in position to provide the competition.
The Humanitarian should extend an invitation to Fresno State to represent the WAC as they are very familiar with the circumstances in Boise, making the journey to face the hometown Broncos every other season.
The MAC selection for the Humanitarian appears to be a contest between Ohio U. and the Rockets of Toledo. Let's go with Coach Frank Solich's Bobcats.
The Little Caesar's Bowl invites the MAC champion, and that should be Northern Illinois. The apparent Big Ten opponent appears to be Northwestern according to the conference selection order.
The GoDaddy.Com (old GMAC bowl) needs Sun Belt-entry Arkansas State to continue to win in order to qualify, but it seems a good possibility.
The Temple Owls will head to the GoDaddy.Com if they do not end up in the Little Caesar's Bowl.