BCS Bowl Projections: Who Will Play In Top 20 Bowl Games?
As we get closer to Bowl season with one week left, there are some virtual locks, some on-the-verge matchups, and some questionable outlooks.
This list is a projection of who will play in what, in my mind, will be the Top 20 Bowl games coming up.
Projected matchups will be previewed heading into Bowl season.
Get some chips and dip, your favorite beverage, and some friends: it's time for some playoff college football!
San Diego State (7-4, 4-3 MWC) has erased years of downright horrid college football in 2010, beating then-No. 23 Air Force in Week 6 and getting a great year from freshman running back Ronnie Hillman, who has rushed for 1,152 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Navy (8-3), despite not playing any ranked teams, has had a solid season. They are ranked fifth in the nation in rushing yards and QB Ricky Dobbs has passed for 1,194 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
San Diego State looks to prove they belong back in the "respectability" category.
Projected winner: San Diego State
Mayland (8-4, 5-3 ACC) just came off a big win against then-No. 23 North Carolina State. They are led by freshman QB Danny O'Brien, who has 1,840 yards passing and 17 touchdowns.
West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East) were picked by many in the Top 25 coming into the season. But, despite only losing by six points to LSU early in the season, their losses to Syracuse and Connecticut hurt them.
Projected winner: Maryland
What a lovely name for a Bowl huh? Just rolls off the tongue.
North Carolina State just came off a bad loss to Maryland. But they beat Florida State so they're not to be taken lightly.Junior QB Russell Wilson leads the Wolf Pack with 2,977 yards passing and 24 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh (6-5, 4-2 Big East) was picked by many to be in the Top 20 coming into the season. They've disappointed mightily. They lost to ranked Miami (FL) in Week 3, 31-3.
Projected winner: N.C. State
Utah (10-2, 7-1 MWC) beat then-No. 15 Pittsburgh 27-24 in OT in the first week of the season. They lost to TCU, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but lost to Notre Dame 28-3, which is indeed shameful. They are led by sophomore QB Jordan Wynn, with 2,135 yards passing and 16 touchdowns.
Toledo (8-4, 7-1 MAC) doesn't have the greatest defense, as evidenced by its 65-30 loss to Northern Illinois three weeks ago. But the team won their last two games of the season. Junior RB Adonis Thomas has run for 832 yards and six scores on just 132 attempts, good for 6.3 yards per carry.
Projected winner: Utah
Miami (FL), with a 7-5 overall record, is coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of South Florida to end the season. But they've beaten Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and Maryland, so they aren't half bad. They're 25th in the nation in rushing and junior QB Jacory Harris, despite a down year, has thrown for 1,646 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Temple (8-4, 5-3 MAC) is coming off two losses to end the season, despite beating Connecticut and Army early in the season. Sophomore RB Bernard Pierce has 10 touchdowns on the season, to go along with 728 rushing yards.
Projected winner: Miami (FL)
Miami (OH), owners of a 8-4 record (7-1 MAC), are winners of four straight going into their final matchup against Northern Illinois. They lost to the only ranked team they played, Florida, in the first week of the season. Sophomore QB Zac Dysert leads them with 2,406 yards passing and 13 touchdowns.
Troy (6-5, 5-2 Sun Belt) is ranked 13th in the nation in passing yards per game, at 284.9. They need to pass well, because their defense ain't that good, losing to South Carolina, 69-24, two weeks ago. Freshman Corey Robinson leads them with 2,711 yards passing and 19 TDs.
Projected winner: Miami (OH)
Michigan (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten), led by coach Rich Rodriguez, hasn't had the sunniest of seasons. Despite ranking 10th in rushing and 15th in scoring in college football, their record hasn't reflected this. People are already calling for Rodriguez' head after two blowout losses against Wisconsin and Ohio State to end the season. Sophomore QB Denard Robinson, however, has been exceptional, passing for over 2,200 yards with 16 TDs, and running for another 1,500 and 14 TDs.
Texas A&M (9-3, 6-2 Big 12) has been quite the opposite, winning their last six games, including against Oklahoma and the Nebraska game in which Bo Pelini went medieval on poor Taylor Martinez. Junior Cyrus Gray (what a great name) led the team with 1,033 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Projected winner: Texas A&M
If only this was Ohio STATE versus the Broncos. But...I dream.
Ohio (8-4, 6-2 MAC) just came off an embarrassment against Kent State, losing 28-6. Before that, however, the team had won seven straight. Senior QB Boo Jackson had 1,555 yards passing on the year and 15 TDs.But he probably won't be scaring Boise State too much (Boo!).
We all know what just happened to Boise State (10-1, 6-1 WAC). They lost. For the first time in two years. But Nevada is no slouch either. Junior QB Kellen Moore led this team once again this season, with almost 3,000 yards passing and 28 touchdowns. He is, to put it simply, good.
Projected winner: Boise State
"Holiday boooowwwwllll, holiday bowl."
Except sing it like they sing "Holiday Road" in National Lampoon's Vacation....Nevermind, don't mind me.
Washington (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) is a lot better than their record. The Huskies just played a plethora of ranked opponents. Losses to Arizona, Stanford, Oregon, and Nebraska can be forgiven after wins against USC and Oregon State. Kinda. Senior QB Jake Locker has 1,746 yards passing and 14 TDs.
Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) lost to Missouri and Texas A&M. Not bad but some had them ranked higher than these two teams before the year. They just killed Baylor 53-24 to kinda make up for it though. They are ranked fourth in the nation in passing, behind Landry Jones, and 16th in points scored, helped out by DeMarco Murray.
Projected winner: Oklahoma
Florida State (9-3, 6-2 ACC) is giving up just 18.8 points per game, good for 14th in the nation. They're coming off four straight wins. Senior QB Christian Ponder has 1,817 yards passing and 17 touchdowns to his name.
Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) lost to four of the five ranked teams it played, but beat Florida, 10-7. Junior RB Vick Ballard has had one heck of a season, rushing for 849 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Projected winner: Florida State
This should be a fun game to watch.
Arizona (7-4, 4-4 SEC) is not an elite team, but against Missouri I could see them having a fighting chance if they play like they did against Iowa (a 34-27 win) and not Stanford (a 42-17 loss). And c'mon, we all knew they would lose to Oregon. Junior QB Nick Foles has a been a solid player for the Wildcats this year, and their running game ain't bad either.
Missouri (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) beat Oklahoma earlier in the year, but lost to Nebraska. But Missouri has a solid team. Junior QB Blaine Gabbert has had a solid year, passing for over 2,500 yards and 15 TDs.
Projected winner: Missouri
"Outback...Steakhouse." God, I hate those commercials.
Iowa (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) just lost its last game to Minnesota (ugh). But they lost by a combined 11 points to Arizona, Wisconsin, and Ohio State (alright, alright). And they beat Michigan State 37-6 (yay!). Senior QB Ricky Stanzi is for real, with 2,677 yards passing and 23 TDs on the year.
South Carolina (9-3, 5-3 SEC) has lost to Auburn and Arkansas (understandable), but beaten Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. They have a chance to get revenge against Auburn in both teams final game of the season on Dec. 4.
Projected winner: Iowa
"What's in your wallet?" Bet you could go a full 24 hours without hearing that didn't you?
You can't be ranked No.1 at the beginning of the season, lose a couple times, and not be a disappointing team. But Alabama (9-3, 5-3 SEC) is still a very, very good one. Their loss to South Carolina was a head-scratcher, but they lost to LSU by three points and to Auburn last week by one point. Senior QB Greg McElroy has had a strong season, passing for almost 2,400 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Michigan State (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) is ranked in the Top 50 in the nation in passing yards, rushing yards, points for, and points against. Their lone loss to Iowa in Week 9 will haunt them. Junior QB Kirk Cousins and sophomore running back Edwin Baker both had very good seasons for the Spartans.
Projected winner: Alabama
Nevada (11-1, 6-1 WAC) was supposed to lose to Boise State. Boise State was supposed to go undefeated. But Nevada wasn't alerted of this rule. The only team to beat Boise State in two years: Nevada. That in itself should be applauded. Senior QB Colin Kaepernick had over 2,400 yards passing and 19 touchdowns.
Georgia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC), despite being ranked first in the nation in rushing, can't seem to do much else right this season. But their two-headed attack of Anthony Allen and Joshua Nesbitt is to be commended.
Projected winner: Nevada
Nebraska (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) has had a very solid season, with its losses to Texas and Texas A&M its only blemishes (that, and the incessant screaming by Bo Pelini). QB Taylor Martinez and upstart Roy Helu Jr. were the stars for the Cornhuskers this year.
LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC) just had two losses to Auburn and Arkansas. Nothing to hang your head about. A borderline great season for LSU. Junior RB Stevan Ridley led the team with 12 TDs.
Projected winner: LSU
Wisconsin (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) had one loss to Michigan State, and dominated the rest of the year. Their 70-23 win over Northwestern to end the regular season was just not fair. A scary running game featuring John Clay and a solid QB in Scott Tolzien.
TCU (12-0, 8-0 MWC) is undefeated. That speaks for itself. Against their only big-time ranked opponent, they beat Utah 47-7. They're ranked ninth in rushing, sixth in scoring, and first in points against (10.9 per game). Senior QB Andy Dalton had a heck of a year.
Projected winner: TCU
Oklahoma State (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) only lost to Nebraska all year. Third in scoring and second in passing. Junior QB Brandon Weeden (3,780 yards, 30 TDs) was a big reason why.
Stanford (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10) only lost to Oregon all season. Junior QB Andrew Luck is primed to enter the NFL.
Projected winner: Stanford
Virginia Tech (10-2, 8-0 ACC) lost their first two games of the season (one a three-point loss to Boise State), and then went on to win 10 games in a row to finish off the season. They are where I thought they might end up before the season. Senior QB Tyrod Taylor has had a very solid year, passing for over 2,000 yards and 19 TDs.
Connecticut (7-4, 4-2 Big East) have had a solid year, but don't compare in the slightest to Virginia Tech. Junior RB Jordan Todman had a great year, rushing for 1,306 yards and 11 TDs.
Projected winner: Virginia Tech
What a great game this should be.
Arkansas (10-2, 6-2 SEC) just beat LSU and only lost to Alabama and Auburn this year. Junior QB Ryan Mallett made everything look so easy this season, passing for 27 touchdowns.
Ohio State (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) only lost to Wisconsin and had one heck of a season. Junior QB Terrelle Pryor, no surprise, was the Buckeyes' leader, passing for 23 touchdowns.
Projected winner: Ohio State
I was really rooting for Boise State to somehow make it to the championship game, but you can't deny this game is going to be well worth the watch.
Oregon (11-0, 8-0 Pac-10), ranked sixth in rushing and first in scoring (50.7 points per game), has exceeded everyone's expectations coming into the season. Despite having Heisman contended LaMichael James (1,422 yards rushing, 17 TDs), QB Darren Thomas and receiver Jeff Maehl have had great seasons.
Auburn (12-0, 8-0 SEC) is the surprise of the season. Ranked 22nd coming into the season, they have swept their competition away. Heisman leading candidate Cameron Newton is largely responsible and has been sensational, with over 2,000 yards passing and 21 passing touchdowns, along with over 1,200 yards rushing and 17 rushing touchdowns. What he did against Alabama's defense, leading the Tigers back from a 24-0 deficit last week, is almost incomprehensible.
Projected winner: Auburn
Cam Newton can't be stopped!