These are my projections for where each team will be playing in this year’s college football bowl games. Bolded teams have officially accepted these bowl bids or are locked in to these bowls by winning their conference championship.
Bowl Championship Series
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Michigan
Michigan appears to be in line for the second of three at-large spots into this year’s Bowl Championship Series. The Wolverines need to make it into the top 14 (they are ranked 14th this week in my national rankings), but if they do that, expect them to be bound for the Fiesta Bowl.
Sugar Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech
With two SEC teams battling it out for the BCS National Championship, the Sugar Bowl will have no in-conference teams in its game and will have to choose two at-large teams.
With the first at-large choice, Stanford should be an easy selection as a Top Five national team, but assuming Michigan goes to the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl has a choice between Boise State, Virginia Tech and Kansas State.
Given that Virginia Tech has closer proximity and is likely to generate more revenue than the other two schools, they should get the selection here.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. West Virginia
West Virginia wins the BCS berth for the Big East conference as long as they remain ranked ahead of Cincinnati and Louisville in the BCS rankings, which should undoubtedly remain the case.
BCS National Championship Game: LSU vs. Alabama
While Oklahoma State certainly made its case for No. 2 with a big win over Oklahoma, Alabama deserves the spot against locked-in LSU when it comes down to results. Alabama’s only loss is to LSU, while Oklahoma State’s loss came against Iowa State.
Yes, Oklahoma State was coming off of extremely tough circumstances for their school on that day, and yes, a rematch is not an ideal national championship matchup, but Alabama is the team that deserves to play LSU in this game.
Remainder of Bowls
New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs. Illinois
The Big Ten does not have a tie to this bowl, but with the conferences using up its final bowl bids on Purdue and Northwestern, Illinois will have to go to any remaining bowl that it can find, and the New Mexico Bowl is the most likely destination.
Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. Utah State
Utah State has accepted a bid to this bowl.
New Orleans Bowl: Tulsa vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana-Lafayette has accepted a bid to this bowl.
St. Petersburg Bowl: Southern Methodist vs. Florida International
Florida International has accepted a bid to this bowl.
Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech has accepted a bid to this bowl.
Las Vegas Bowl: TCU vs. Arizona State
If TCU gets into the top 16 of the BCS standings, they will earn an automatic-qualifying berth as the highest-ranked non-AQ conference champion, which would knock Virginia Tech out of the Sugar Bowl and move them into that game.
However, I believe TCU will come up a spot or two short of achieving that status and play in Las Vegas.
Hawaii Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Nevada
Independence Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Air Force
Little Caesars Bowl: Northwestern vs. Northern Illinois
Belk Bowl: North Carolina State vs. Louisville
Military Bowl: Iowa State vs. Temple
Holiday Bowl: Texas vs. California
Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State vs. Notre Dame
Alamo Bowl: Baylor vs. Washington
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. BYU
BYU has accepted a bid to this bowl.
Pinstripe Bowl: Missouri vs. Rutgers
Music City Bowl: Virginia vs. Mississippi State
Insight Bowl: Kansas State vs. Penn State
Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Iowa
Sun Bowl: North Carolina vs. Utah
Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt
Due to an arrangement between the Big East and the SEC, Conference USA relinquished its usual berth in this bowl to the Big East, while the SEC will place Vanderbilt in this bowl.
Fight Hunger Bowl: UCLA vs. Wyoming
UCLA has been waived to be eligible for a bowl game, even though their record fell to 6-7 with a loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Mountain West Conference has no tie-in with this bowl game, but with the conference out of bowl bids, Wyoming gets in this game as the best team to fill a spot.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Auburn
TicketCity Bowl: Purdue vs. Marshall
Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs. Georgia
CapitalOne Bowl: Nebraska vs. South Carolina
Gator Bowl: Ohio State vs. Florida
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Arkansas
Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Western Kentucky
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Ohio vs. Arkansas State
Arkansas State has accepted a bid to this bowl.
Due to a lack of available bowl spots, Western Michigan and Ball State (both from MAC) were left out.
USC is ineligible for postseason play, while Miami withdrew itself from postseason consideration.