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 Kraft Bowl, in which the Pac-10 appears unlikely to produce a candidate to face the powerful Nevada Wolfpack.
If this dilemma comes about, word may be sent to the Mid-American Conference. Toledo qualifies for a postseason invitation but it could be squeezed out of the selection process.
The Rockets could then arrive to take the place of the depleted Pac-10 entry.
The Armed Forces Bowl is slated to have a Mountain West Conference representative against a Conference-USA squad. Army can qualify as a replacement team for the C-USA and accepted a bid to play in this bowl game.
SMU may step in as a replacement for the MWC. The bowl game will be played at SMU due to renovations to the usual Fort Worth site.
The New Orleans Bowl features the Sun Belt champion against a Conference-USA representative. The Florida International Panthers appear to be in the best position to capture the Sun Belt title.
In the C-USA pecking order, the Hawaii Bowl has a high priority and could choose powerful Tulsa as an opponent for hometown Hawaii.
The C-USA opening in the Crescent City game could be filled by Texas El Paso, which has already qualified with six wins.
Bowl Name Date Venue Payout Conf. Tie-Ins Projected Matchup
No. 35: New Orleans Dec. 18 New Orleans $325,000 Sun Belt, CUSA Fla. Int'l vs. UTEP
No. 34: Texas Dec. 29 Houston $612,500 Big Ten, Big 12 Illinois vs. Texas Tech
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 Army* vs. SMU
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. Toledo**
No. 28: GoDaddy.Com Jan. 6 Mobile $750,000 MAC, Sun Belt Miami (O) vs. Troy
No. 27: Humanitarian Dec. 18 Boise $750,000 WAC, MAC Boise St.. vs. Ohio U.
No. 26: Little Caesars Dec. 26 Detroit $750,000 MAC, Big Ten N. Ill. vs. Louisville***
The selection process is unclear concerning the Kraft Bowl, in which Nevada of the WAC is anxious to travel over to San Francisco to face a Pac-10 foe.
It seems unreasonable to expect Nevada to go to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. They would run into an angry group of locals bent on destruction of the Wolfpack due to the upset loss Boise State suffered at the hands of Nevada.
This is the first year of the WAC tie-in, which had previously belonged to the ACC.
Without an eligible Pac-10 opponent to face the Wolfpack, Toledo of the Mid-American Conference could be summoned as the replacement selection.
The Poinsettia appears set with San Diego State and Navy.
The New Mexico Bowl has the opportunity to match Fresno State against BYU in the opening event of the postseason.
The Humanitarian should extend an invitation to hometown Boise State of the WAC. The Broncos could benefit from the support of their loyal fans in this time of despair. The MAC selection may go to coach Frank Solich and his Ohio Bobcats.
The Little Caesar's Bowl invites the MAC champion, and that should be Northern Illinois. The Big Ten appears to have no qualified candidate so the Big East could be asked to supply Louisville as a replacement team.
The Texas Bowl seems to have an excellent contest with Illinois and Texas Tech.
GoDaddy.com (old GMAC bowl) needs Troy to continue to win in order to qualify as the Sun Belt entry, simply from the fan-attendance angle.
Miami of Ohio of the Mid-American Conference seems to be the likely opponent for Troy.