Complete College Football Bowl Projections
Well, the regular season has been decided.
Every team has stated their case for which bowl game they belong in, and now tonight the bowl matchups will be determined. The major question left for most fans: will it be Alabama or Oklahoma State facing off against No. 1 LSU?
Here now is a complete list of projections for every bowl game in college football, including the BCS games. I also will give a very brief look at each game.
New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs Temple
The Aztecs get into this bowl as the fourth team out of the MWC with an 8-4 record. Temple on the other hand comes out of the MAC with a similar 8-4 record. This would be a very good game between two strong teams out of non-power conferences.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs Utah State
Ohio fell short in the MAC Championship Game against Northern Illinois, but ultimately had a very good season posting a 9-4 record. Utah State went 7-5 out of the WAC and ended up in second place as well. Should be an interesting game between two teams that average over 30 points per game.
New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs Marshall
Louisiana-Lafayette had an 8-4 season out of the Sun Belt Conference, while Marshall just barely gets into a bowl game with a 6-6 record out of C-USA. Lafayette averages over 30 points per game, while Marshall can struggle at times both offensively and defensively.
Beef O'Brady'S Bowl: Pittsburgh vs FIU
The Pittsburgh Panthers got into a bowl game by beating Syracuse yesterday. Their opponent, the Florida International Golden Panthers are 8-4 and have already accepted a bid to this bowl game. This will be more of a defensive minded football game.
Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs Louisiana Tech
The TCU Horned Frogs will likely fall just short of a BCS birth, and will tumble all the way down to the Poinsettia Bowl. On the other hand, the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech will be fired up to be at their first bowl game since 2008.
Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs Arizona State
Although the MWC champion usually plays in this game, I think Boise State will get the nod over TCU due to their high ranking in the BCS. The Sun Devils of Arizona State were hot and the beginning of the year, but have struggled since. Should be quite a scene as Boise State quaterback Kellen Moore plays his final game as a Bronco.
Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs Southern Methodist
The Hawaii Bowl is always an offensive football game, and there will be no exception this year. Both Nevada and Southern Methodist can put points on the board in bunches. Should be fun to watch this game.
Independence Bowl: Air Force vs Wake Forest
It is always interesting to watch when a team runs the triple option like Air Force does. The 2nd best rushing attack in the country will try to run down the Demon Deacon defense. Can Wake Forest hold up against the onslaught?
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Toledo vs Iowa
One of the big questions when bowl games roll around every year; can a strong non power conference team beat a mediocre power conference team? The Toledo Rockets average over 40 points per game, and could very well just light up the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Belk Bowl: Louisville vs North Carolina State
Louisville was so close to a BCS bowl game, but fell short due to tiebreaking procedures. The Cardinals will have to settle for the Belk Bowl against North Carolina State from the ACC. Both teams have seven wins, and should put on an outstanding football game.
Military Bowl: North Carolina vs Illinois
This match-up may look odd, but the Illini could very well find themselves playing North Carolina in the Military Bowl. The Big Ten is sending ten teams to bowl games this season, and Illinois needs somewhere to go, so I expect them to take this bowl spot.
Holiday Bowl: California vs Missouri
Missouri will play in their final game as a Big 12 team in the Holiday Bowl. The Tigers are extremely talented and played a very difficult schedule. California also had a daunting schedule this year. Both teams are underrated in my opinion, and this should make for a great bowl game.
Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State vs Notre Dame
This should be a great game. The Seminoles and Irish were expected to do big things this year, but both fell short of their lofty expectations. Still, both teams are 8-4, and are both very good football teams.
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs Washington
Oklahoma was a favorite to win the National Championship this year, but ultimately fell way short. They still have an opportunity for a ten win season though, and I do not expect them to have much trouble with Washington. The Huskies have really struggled against quality opponents this year.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: BYU vs Tulsa
Both of these teams have put together very good years, but have struggled to win the big games. The Cougars have a chance to make it a ten win season for them, while Tulsa looks for win number nine. The offenses will strike early and often in this game.
Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa State vs Rutgers
Iowa State's miracle upset over No. 2 Oklahoma State, has not only cost the Cowboys a title shot, but it has put the Iowa State Cyclones into a bowl game. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights won eight games this season and were very competitive in a mediocre Big East Conference. We will see how good the Big 12 really is when they put one of their lesser teams up against a Big East team that was contending for a BCS bid.
Music City Bowl: Virginia vs Vanderbilt
The Virginia Cavaliers were one win away from playing for an Orange Bowl bid. Instead the Cavs slip to the Music City Bowl where they face a mediocre Vanderbilt team that struggled in the SEC all season. Will one of the SEC mediocre teams be able to beat a premier ACC team?
Insight Bowl: Texas vs Penn State
Penn State had a good year, but could slip all the way down to the Insight Bowl because frankly many bowl games will not want them due to their off the field issues. The Longhorns of Texas are back in a bowl game after falling short last year. This should be a decent game to watch.
Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs Northwestern
Many projections have Texas in this bowl game, but I think the Texas A&M Aggies will go instead. Both these teams are 6-6 and will be trying to cap of their seasons with a win, and get a wining record. Incentive is high in this game.
Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs Utah
Utah has really turned things up at the end of the season, but cost themselves a chance to face Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game for a Rose Bowl birth, by slipping up to Colorado in their final game. Georgia Tech has played well also this season, including a signature win over Orange Bowl bound Clemson. The Sun Bowl is a New Year's Eve tradition, and should be a lot of fun to watch this year as well.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: UCLA vs Wyoming
UCLA lost the Pac-12 Championship Game to Oregon and fell to 6-7 on the season, but remain bowl eligible since they won their division. Wyoming went 8-4 this year, but could not get any big wins. This is a great game to see how the MWC stacks up in regards to which conferences are the most elite in college football.
Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs Mississippi State
The Cincinnati Bearcats will fall just short of a BCS bowl bid as West Virginia will win the Big East Title, and the Orange Bowl bid. The Bearcats will now look to get their tenth win of the year in the Liberty Bowl. The Mississippi State Bulldogs suffered at the hands of a difficult SEC schedule, but managed to stumble their way into a bowl game.
Chick-Fil-a Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Auburn
The Chick-Fil-A Bowl is the final game of the calendar year in 2011. Virginia Tech fell short against Clemson in the ACC Championship Game and ultimately cost themselves a trip to the Orange Bowl. Auburn went 7-5, but is an extremely good team considering those five losses were to LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Arkansas and Georgia. This game is always exciting to watch and a good way to end the 2011 football year before the ball drops in Time Square.
TicketCity Bowl: Houston vs Purdue
The Cougars were so close to a Sugar Bowl birth, but slipped up in their final game against Southern Mississippi. Quarterback Case Keenum will play his final game, in what has been one of the most historic careers in college football history. As for Purdue, the defense better be ready, because Houston brings an offensive spectacle with them each week.
Capital One Bowl: Nebraska vs Georgia
After Michigan State got beat down by Alabama in the Capital One Bowl 49-7 last year, I highly doubt they will get an invite this year. Nebraska will go from the Big Ten and will face the Georgia Bulldogs from the SEC. I expect this game to be much more interesting than last year's Capital One Bowl.
Gator Bowl: Ohio State vs Florida
These two top college football programs had down years this year, but incentive is high as both teams will try to finish the season with a winning record of 7-6. This should be a great game to watch between the Buckeyes and Gators.
Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs South Carolina
The Spartans were so close to the Rose Bowl, but they can still cap off a great season with a win in the Outback Bowl. South Carolina has flown under the radar all season, but has remained in the top 15, and been an SEC power. This will be another great bowl battle between the Big Ten and SEC.
Cotton Bowl: Kansas State vs Arkansas
The Razorbacks had their chance to reach BCS glory when they faced LSU, but the loss knocks them down to the Cotton Bowl. Kansas State has also put together a very good, yet surprising season under legendary head coach Bill Snyder. This game should feature a lot of offense.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Western Kentucky vs Southern Mississippi
Southern Miss stunned everyone yesterday when they spoiled Houston's undefeated season with a blowout win 49-28 in the C-USA Championship Game. Western Kentucky fell a game short of winning the Sun Belt Conference and finished the year 7-5. Can the Hilltoppers compete with the explosive offense of Southern Miss?
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Northern Illinois vs Arkansas State
The MAC champions and the Sun Belt champions will square off in a great game for the GoDaddy.com Bowl. It will be an offensive shootout because both teams are very explosive, averaging over 30 points per game.
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Wisconsin
This is not really a prediction because the match-up is already set. The Pac 12 champions, the Oregon Ducks, feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. The Big 10 champions, the Wisconsin Badgers, feature another one of the most potent offenses in college football. Oregon is 3rd in scoring, while Wisconsin is 4th in scoring. The offenses will be ready to go in Pasadena on January 2nd.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs Stanford
The Cowboys will fall just short of the National Championship Game, but will head to the BCS to take on Stanford. The Cardinal is back after winning last year's Orange Bowl. This should be a great game, as it features two amazing quarterbacks making their final collegiate starts: Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck.
Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs Baylor
With the SEC having both their teams in the National Championship Game, both spots for the Sugar Bowl go to at large schools. Michigan features potent quarterback Denard Robinson, while the Bears counter with Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III. If you want to see two explosive quarterbacks, then this is the game for you.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs West Virginia
Both of these teams are very lucky to be here. The Clemson Tigers got a huge win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game to clinch a birth, while the West Virginia Mountaineers won a very mediocre Big East Conference. This should be a good game between these two programs.
BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 LSU vs No. 2 Alabama
The two teams from the SEC West who battled to a 6-6 tie at the end of regulation on November 5th in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will return to face each other with everything on the line in the National Championship Game. LSU won the first game against Bama 9-6 in overtime, but the Tide outplayed LSU for much of the game and believe they are the only team who can beat undefeated LSU.
The two best teams in the country will clash on January 9, 2012, in New Orleans, and you definitely want to make sure that you do not miss it.