College Football Bowl Projections: Reshuffling the Deck on All 35 Bowl Games

Colin LobdellContributor INovember 28, 2010

College Football Bowl Projections: Reshuffling the Deck on All 35 Bowl Games

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    With Boise State's loss, things have opened up a little as far as the Bowl projections.  In terms of the BCS, one team's loss is another team's gain.  However, combined with Boise State's loss and some other unexpected finishes in Week 13, the trickle down could be felt throughout Bowl matchup scenarios.  Herewith is the updated projected Bowl deck.

New Mexico Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 18

    Location: Albuquerque, NM

    Matchup: MWC No. 4/5 vs. WAC

    Projection: BYU vs. Fresno State

    Soon to become a Mountain West vs. Pac-12 contractual game, this is the bowl's fifth season.  BYU started off 1-4, but through a soft bottom-half of the Mountain West were able to gain bowl-eligibility.  The Bulldogs have one remaining game against Illinois.

    Game Attractiveness: 7/10

    These teams appear to be evenly matched, but neither is anything spectacular.

    Pick: Fresno State

Humanitarian Bowl

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Date: Dec. 18

    Location: Boise, ID

    Matchup: MAC No. 3 vs. WAC

    Projection: Toledo vs. Nevada

    The MAC replaced the Mountain West after the International Bowl folded.  Toledo will get the first crack after finishing 7-1 in the conference.  Their first bowl bid since 2005.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Despite the Rockets largely unnoticed but solid season, the Wolfpack are heavy favorites and should be.

    Pick: Nevada

New Orleans Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 18

    Location: New Orleans, LA

    Matchup: Sun Belt No. 1 vs. C-USA

    Projection: FIU vs. UTEP

    After a 5-1 start, the Miners have lost five of their last six.  While, on the other hand, FIU lost their first four, and with a game to go, have won six of their last seven. 

    Game Attractiveness: 2/10

    Logically, FIU could be the choice for many, but, with some time off, the Miners should come together to defeat the Sun Belt Champions.

    Pick: UTEP

Beef O'Bradys Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 21

    Location: St. Petersburg, FL

    Matchup: Big East No. 5/6 vs. C-USA

    Projection: South Florida vs. East Carolina

    South Florida still has a chance to play in a better bowl if they can upset UConn.  East Carolina is next in line from C-USA for this bid.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    ECU should have a lot to play for as they have aspirations of getting into the Big East someday.  However, USF is stronger.

    Pick: South Florida

Maaco Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 22

    Location: Las Vegas, NV

    Matchup: MWC No. 1 vs. Pac-10 No. 5/6

    Projection: Utah vs. Ohio*

    Without enough bowl-eligible teams, Ohio could fall into this slot as a replacement team.  Other candidates such as Temple exist as possibilities.  The Bowl gets their first choice from non-BCS Mountain West teams and are likely to take Utah.

    Game Attractiveness: 3/10

    Utah never seemed to fully recover from being humiliated by TCU, but they are a better team than Ohio.

    Pick: Utah

Poinsetta Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 23

    Location: San Diego, CA

    Matchup: MWC No. 2 vs. Navy (if eligible)

    Projection: San Diego State vs. Navy

    The second-place or next in line Mountain West team is guaranteed a spot in this bowl, and Navy is also guaranteed a spot if they are bowl-eligible. 

    Game Attractiveness: 7/10

    San Diego State has been one of the most improved teams in the country, and Navy has had a solid season.

    Pick: San Diego State

Hawaii Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 24

    Location: Honolulu, HI

    Matchup: WAC (Hawaii, if eligible) vs. C-USA

    Projection: Hawaii vs. Tulsa

    Under the agreement with the WAC, the bowl must take Hawaii regardless of standing if they are bowl-eligible and aren't in a BCS Bowl.  Tulsa finishes third in C-USA but has to wonder what might have been after narrowly losing to ECU and SMU.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    Both teams have played very well down the stretch making this, from a competition standpoint, one of the most interesting games of the potential bowl slate.

    Pick: Hawaii

Little Caesars Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 26

    Location: Detroit, MI

    Matchup: MAC No. 1/2 vs. Big Ten No. 8

    Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Louisville*

    This bowl bid could trickle down to some other teams, but Louisville is a good bet.  The Big Ten and Sun Belt are first in line but do not have a bowl-eligible team to fill the slot.  Northern Illinois is the favorite to win the MAC, but the championship game matchup with Miami (OH) could change things.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    The MAC champion doesn't bring a lot of cachet, but this could still be interesting to see how they measure up.

    Pick: Louisville

Independence Bowl

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Date: Dec. 27

    Location: Shreveport, LA

    Matchup: MWC No. 3 vs. ACC No. 7

    Projection: Air Force vs. Clemson

    This bowl has changed its conference tie-ins numerous times since its inaugural game in 1976.  TCU is in a BCS bowl so the Mountain West's bid falls to Air Force.  Clemson is pat at seventh in the ACC.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Air Force has been consistently good but not great.  Clemson had a disappointing season, and this bowl could add to their woes.

    Pick: Air Force

Champs Sports Bowl

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Date: Dec. 28

    Location: Orlando, FL

    Matchup: ACC No. 3 vs. Big East No. 2/Notre Dame

    Projection: Maryland vs. Notre Dame*

    In the latest agreement with the Big East, the bowl was given the option of selecting Notre Dame once every four years.  Maryland could take this spot after a big turnaround from the year before but is not guaranteed.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Making it to a bowl game is a big haul for the Terrapins after winning two games a year ago, but they haven't been battle-tested as much as Notre Dame.

    Pick: Notre Dame

Insight Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 28

    Location: Tempe, AZ

    Matchup: Big Ten No. 4/5 vs. Big 12 No. 4

    Projection: Michigan vs. Oklahoma State

    The Wolverines are bowling again after a two-year absence.  The Cowboys, who finished in a three-way tie in the Big 12, are likely to fit in here but could still play in the Alamo Bowl or the Holiday Bowl.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    Two teams with offensive weapons could provide an interesting matchup, but the Cowboys are a better all-around team.

    Pick: Oklahoma State

Texas Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 29

    Location: Houston, TX

    Matchup: Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 No. 6

    Projection: Illinois vs. Baylor

    Speaking of teams that haven't been to a bowl game in awhile, how about the Bears making their first appearance in the bowl picture since 1994.  Illinois was looked on as a potential sleeper before the season, but they failed to make the big gains they were striving for.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    It will be refreshing to see Baylor in a bowl again in what they are hoping will be a turning point in Waco.  They will be even more excited when the Bears bring a trophy home.

    Pick: Baylor

Alamo Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 29

    Location: San Antonio, TX

    Matchup: Pac-10 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3

    Projection: Arizona vs. Missouri

    After being snubbed by bigger bowls the last three years, it isn't out of the question that it will happen again to the Tigers with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M also being attractive options, but we'll put them here for now.  Although, the Tigers actually still believe they have a chance at the Orange Bowl.  Arizona has had a solid season and moves up with Oregon likely playing in the National Championship.

    Game Attractiveness: 7/10

    Both teams feature solid quarterback play and solid supporting cast.  On paper, this looks like one of the more attractive non-BCS pairings.

    Pick: Missouri

Military Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 29

    Location: Washington D.C.

    Matchup: ACC No. 8 vs. C-USA

    Projection: Boston College vs. Southern Miss

    A high-powered offensive team, Southern Miss lost two one-point games this year.  BC may lose this spot to Georgia Tech, but we'll fit them in here for now.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    It will be interesting to see how Southern Miss stacks up against an ACC foe. 

    Pick: Southern Miss

Pinstripe Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 30

    Location: New York, NY

    Matchup: Big East No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 7

    Projection: Syracuse vs. Kansas State

    Between 1993-2003, Kansas State went to a Bowl game every season.  Between 1987-2001, Syracuse had a winning record every season.  Now Kansas State is making their first bowl appearance since 2006, and Syracuse is making their first since 2004.  Ironically, these two programs also faced off in the 2001 Insight Bowl and the 1997 Fiesta Bowl.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Set in new Yankee Stadium, it's easy to say the Orange will have more of a home-field advantage.  Neither team has closed the season well which hurts the game's appeal.  The game also features a weak Syracuse offense and poor Kansas State defense.  This looks like a toss-up, but I'll go with my alma mater because of Daniel Thomas.

    Pick: Kansas State

Music City Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 30

    Location: Glendale, AZ

    Matchup: ACC No. 6 vs. SEC No. 7

    Projection: North Carolina vs. Tennessee

    After their loss to LSU, I foolishly picked Tennessee as the team from the SEC having the worst season.  They rebounded to gain bowl-eligibility.  The Tar Heels have had a disappointing season, but all things considered can finish on a high note.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Despite Tennessee's finish, the Tar Heels are the better team.

    Pick: North Carolina

Armed Forces Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 30

    Location: Fort Worth, TX

    Matchup: MWC No. 4/5 vs. C-USA

    Projection: SMU vs. Army*

    Even though they are something of a replacement team, Army fits in perfectly.  The Mountain West was unable to fill this slot allowing them to slide in.  SMU won't have to travel far from their campus for this one, but are still alive for the C-USA title.

    Game Attractiveness: 7/10

    I admit, since having interest in the conference expansion dominoes, to having a greater interest in this game.  There are many who think that if TCU heads east, SMU will just as soon head west.  Winning back-to-back bowl games could help their cause.  On the other hand, Army has had a solid season.

    Pick: SMU

Holiday Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 30

    Location: San Diego, CA

    Matchup: Pac-10 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5

    Projection: Washington (if eligible) vs. Texas A&M

    Washington is still not bowl-eligible but needs to surpass Washington State in the Apple Cup.  Due to Oregon's projection in the BCS title game and USC being ineligible for a Bowl bid, the Huskies will make a big jump if they beat the Cougars.

    Game Attractiveness: 3/10

    Texas A&M has won their last six games to finish in a three-way tie for the Big 12 South.  However, they will not overcome the tie-breaker rule of the highest finisher in the BCS Standings to play in the Championship game.  They will, however, be heavily favored in this game.

    Pick: Texas A&M

Meineke Car Care Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 31

    Location: Charlotte, NC

    Matchup: ACC No. 5 vs. Big East No. 3

    Projection: NC State vs. West Virginia

    NC State hadn't won seven games in one season since Tom O'Brien arrived in 2007 until this year.  They could end up somewhere else but is more likely to end up here.  West Virginia is still alive for a BCS bid should UConn fall.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    The game has some intrigue as an important game for the Big East.  NC State is trying to cap off their best season in years.

    Pick: West Virginia 

Liberty Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 31

    Location: Memphis, TN

    Matchup: C-USA No. 1 vs. SEC No. 8/9

    Projection: Central Florida vs. Georgia

    The Bulldogs line up eighth in the SEC standings to take this spot.  Central Florida is favored to win C-USA but could be replaced by SMU in the Championship game.

    Game Attractiveness: 5/10

    Always good to see the little guys get a shot at the BCS Conference teams.  UCF could have a very bright future.

    Pick: Central Florida

Sun Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 31

    Location: El Paso, TX

    Matchup: ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-10 No. 4

    Projection: Miami (FL) vs. Temple*

    The Hurricanes had a disappointing season culminating with Randy Shannon losing his job but will still reach a bowl.  Temple is one possibility to come in here as a replacement team, but Ohio could also be a possibility.

    Game Attractiveness: 4/10

    A lot of Hurricane fans have already turned their attention to the coaching search.  Temple is an interesting team but not a huge splash.  The Canes are better, but given the circumstances, it's a toss-up. 

    Pick: Temple

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

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    Date: Dec. 31

    Location: Atlanta, GA

    Matchup: ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5

    Projection: Florida State vs. Mississippi State

    Florida State could easily win the ACC Championship and get in the BCS, but should they fall, they will land here.  Mississippi State is a much improved squad.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    If this season is any indication, both teams have bright futures making this potentially one of the most appealing non-BCS games.  The winner will feel much better this offseason.

    Pick: Florida State

Capital One Bowl

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Orlando, FL

    Matchup: SEC No. 2 vs. Big Ten No. 2

    Projection: Alabama vs. Michigan State

    With Auburn and Arkansas projected to be in BCS bowls, Alabama is next in line to move up.  The Spartans are in a three-way tie at the top of the Big Ten and are unlikely to be chosen ahead of the Buckeyes for a BCS bowl.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    A matchup of two teams that are good enough to the play in the BCS can be seen in this one.  I'll take the depth of the SEC which is sure to spark debate from Big Ten fans.

    Pick: Alabama

Outback Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Tampa, FL

    Matchup: Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC

    Projection: Iowa vs. South Carolina

    The Hawkeyes had a disappointing season but still manage a nice bowl bid thanks to two Big Ten teams going to the BCS.  South Carolina has a shot at No. 1 Auburn coming up.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    Is a better matchup than what it looks like on paper, but Iowa's season-closing loss to Minnesota hurt this game.

    Pick: South Carolina

TicketCity Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Dallas, TX

    Matchup: Big Ten No. 7 vs. Big 12/C-USA

    Projection: Northwestern vs. Texas Tech

    Northwestern is in line for this bid to face Texas Tech from the Big 12.  The Big 12 and C-USA actually alternate this bid every year.

    Game Attractiveness: 3/10

    Dan Persa's injury and Northwestern's 70-23 loss to Wisconsin buried their postseason intrigue.  The Red Raiders haven't had a great season but should overtake the short-handed Wildcats handily.

    Pick: Texas Tech

Gator Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Jacksonville, FL

    Matchup: Big Ten No. 4/5 vs. SEC No. 6

    Projection: Penn State vs. Florida

    The Bowl declined to continue its relationship with the Big 12 and now seeds a Big Ten team.  Penn State finished in line for this bowl, and Florida is a natural fit.

    Game Attractiveness: 6/10

    Both teams haven't had the seasons they hoped for, but there is still plenty of talent on the field as well as two highly regarded coaches.

    Pick: Penn State

GoDaddy.com Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 6

    Location: Mobile, AL

    Matchup: MAC No. 1/2 vs. Sun Belt No. 2

    Projection: Miami (OH) vs. Troy

    Miami (OH) will play for the MAC Championship which could influence matters.  The second and only other bowl-eligible team from the Sun Belt is Troy.

    Game Attractiveness: 2/10

    Hard to see this game drawing much interest.  Sometimes those turn out to be the best bowl games though.

    Pick: Miami (OH)

Cotton Bowl

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 7

    Location: Arlington, TX

    Matchup: Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC

    Projection: Nebraska vs. LSU

    Sure to hear it from Nebraska fans who think they'll take the Big 12 title, I'll put the Huskers here.  The Huskers could fall into a different bowl, but I have a hard time seeing the Cotton Bowl passing on them.  LSU is natural fit as the third SEC team or first one out the BCS.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    Another game featuring two BCS caliber opponents.  If Taylor Martinez is healthy, I'll take the Huskers in their last game as a Big 12 member.  If not, I'll lean towards LSU.

    Pick: Nebraska

BBVA Compass Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 8

    Location: Birmingham, AL

    Matchup: Big East No. 5/6 vs. SEC No. 8/9

    Projection: Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky

    The Big East has yet to be decided so this is hardly set in stone.  Right now, Pitt looks like the team that will fit here.  Kentucky fell after losing to Tennessee this past Saturday.

    Game Attractiveness: 4/10

    This could be an interesting game but for the wrong reasons in that neither team is overly impressive.  Pitt is the better team, but Kentucky has, for the most part, competed well in the SEC.

    Pick: Pittsburgh

Fight Hunger Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 9

    Location: San Francisco, CA

    Matchup: WAC vs. Pac-10 No. 5/6

    Projection: Boise State vs. Georgia Tech*

    There are other possibilities including a MAC team that could play here as a replacement.  Boise State is out of the BCS picture after losing to Nevada.

    Game Attractiveness: 4/10

    It's a cruel blow for the Broncos who will unquestionably be big favorites to fall this far.

    Pick: Boise State

Rose Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Pasadena, CA

    Matchup: Pac-10 vs. Big Ten

    Projection: Wisconsin vs. TCU*

    With Oregon headed to the title game, the Rose Bowl is forced to take TCU.  In another effort to make things as fair as possible, BCS rules state that for the years 2011-14 the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the National Championship they must take the first non-AQ qualifying team (assuming there is one).  Wisconsin wins the tie-breaker at the top of the Big Ten by having the top BCS Standing.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    It will be nice to see TCU get a shot at a BCS Conference team.  Although the Horned Frogs are still crossing their fingers for an Oregon or Auburn loss.

    Pick: TCU

Fiesta Bowl

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 1

    Location: Glendale, AZ

    Matchup: Big 12 vs. At-Large

    Projection: Oklahoma vs. Stanford

    The Fiesta Bowl is all smiles to see the Cardinal fall to them over UConn.  Oklahoma will face Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship which could change things.

    Game Attractiveness: 7/10

    The Big 12 is a conference with a glut of good but not great teams even at the top and Stanford is a top five team.

    Pick: Stanford

Orange Bowl

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 3

    Location: Miami, FL

    Matchup: ACC vs. At-Large

    Projection: Virginia Tech vs. UConn

    Despite picking over the Fiesta Bowl, it is said that the Orange Bowl would favor UConn over Stanford due to a better geographical fit.  UConn still has South Florida on the schedule, and Virginia Tech needs to defeat Florida State in the ACC Championship.

    Game Attractiveness: 4/10

    Dud.  UConn is playing well as of late which could make this a good game, but I'm not sure how much interest the game will draw.

    Pick: Virginia Tech

Sugar Bowl

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    Date: Jan. 4

    Location: New Orleans, LA

    Matchup: SEC vs. At-Large

    Projection: Arkansas vs. Ohio State

    With their win over LSU, Arkansas is in the driver's seat for this bid due to the fact the Sugar Bowl would like to take an SEC team.  Auburn is currently in the title game so the Hawgs move up.  The Sugar Bowl has the first at-large pick and is likely to take Big Ten co-champ Ohio State.

    Game Attractiveness: 8/10

    From a competition standpoint, this looks like a good matchup.

    Pick: Arkansas

BCS National Championship

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 10

    Location: Glendale, AZ

    Matchup: BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2

    Projection: Oregon vs. Auburn

    No change here.  The top teams in the BCS Standings are Oregon and Auburn.  Auburn will have to beat South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, and Oregon must beat in-state rival Oregon State.

    Game Attractiveness: 10/10

    Despite the controversy, Cam Newton has become a star, and Oregon's offensive attack has caught the nation's fancy.

    Pick: Oregon