Posted: Monday August 30, 2010 11:25AM ; Updated: Monday August 30, 2010 11:25AM
Stewart Mandel

Projecting all 35 bowl matchups

Story Highlights

With 70 spots to fill, we could get our first 5-7 bowl team this season

Alabama will again play for the title ... this time against Ohio State

With the Buckeyes out of the mix, the Rose Bowl will select Boise St.

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This year only, Boise State could find itself playing in the Rose Bowl.
If the Rose Bowl loses either the Pac-10 or Big Ten champ and Boise State is the highest remaining automatic qualifier, the Broncos could be headed to Pasadena.

In compiling this year's preseason edition of bowl projections, I wound up with exactly 70 eligible teams for 70 spots. That's doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room. Could we be looking at our first 5-7 bowl team? We've already got one ineligible team (USC) and, with all the NCAA activity right now, who knows whether more will follow.

Speaking of, the hardest team to place was North Carolina. If you'd asked me two months ago, I would have predicted that the Tar Heels would win nine or 10 games and play in one of the ACC's top bowls. But with half the starting lineup reportedly under investigation for potential academic fraud, things aren't looking promising. I projected them as a 6-6 team.

Remember, bowls are NOT obligated to choose their teams in exact order of conference standings. For instance, "ACC No. 3" means "third choice of ACC teams" -- not "the ACC's third-place team." In certain instances, a team was moved higher or lower to avoid a regular-season rematch or repeat trip to the same bowl. Also, while most conferences have a defined selection order, others (Conference USA, WAC) work more flexibly with their bowl partners.

Also, this year only, if the Rose Bowl loses either the Big Ten or Pac-10 champ, it must select the highest-ranked non-AQ champion if eligible. Hence how Boise State came to replace Ohio State in my lineup.

BCS Bowls
Date Predicted matchup
Jan. 1 Rose: Oregon (BCS Pac-10) vs. Boise State (BCS at-large)
Jan. 1 Fiesta: Oklahoma (BCS Big 12) vs. Connecticut (BCS Big East)
Jan. 3 Orange: Virginia Tech (BCS ACC) vs. Wisconsin (BCS at-large)
Jan. 4 Sugar: Georgia (BCS at-large) vs. Texas (BCS at-large)
Jan. 10 BCS Championship: Alabama (BCS No. 1) vs. Ohio State (BCS No. 2)
Other Bowls
Date Predicted matchup
Dec. 18 New Mexico: Kent State (MWC No. 5*) vs. Utah State (WAC)
Dec. 18 Humanitarian: Nevada (WAC) vs. Ohio (MAC No. 3)
Dec. 18 New Orleans: Troy (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. UCF (C-USA No. 5)
Dec. 21 Beef 'O'Brady's: Southern Miss (C-USA) vs. Cincinnati (Big East)
Dec. 22 MAACO: TCU (MWC No. 1) vs. Stanford (Pac-10 No. 5)
Dec. 23 Poinsettia: Utah (MWC No. 2) vs. Navy
Dec. 24 Hawaii: East Carolina (C-USA) vs. Idaho (WAC)
Dec. 26 Little Caesars: Temple (MAC No. 1) vs. Rutgers (Big Ten No. 8*)
Dec. 27 Independence: BYU (MWC No. 3) vs. North Carolina (ACC No. 7)
Dec. 28 Champs Sports: Notre Dame (Big East No. 2**) vs. Miami (ACC No. 3)
Dec. 28 Insight: Michigan (Big Ten No. 4/5) vs. Missouri (Big 12 No. 4)
Dec. 29 EagleBank: Marshall (C-USA) vs. N.C. State (ACC No. 8)
Dec. 29 Texas: Kansas State (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten No. 6)
Dec. 29 Alamo: Oregon State (Pac-10 No. 2) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 30 Armed Forces: SMU (C-USA) v. Air Force (MWC No. 4)
Dec. 30 Pinstripe: Pittsburgh (Big East No. 4) vs. Iowa State (Big 12 No. 7)
Dec. 30 Music City: Boston College (ACC No. 6) vs. South Carolina (SEC)
Dec. 30 Holiday: Washington (Pac-10 No. 3) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 Meineke: West Virginia (Big East No. 3) vs. Clemson (ACC No. 5)
Dec. 31 Sun: Georgia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. Arizona (Pac-10 No. 4)
Dec. 31 Liberty: Houston (C-USA No. 1) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A: Florida State (ACC No. 2) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 5)
Jan. 1 Dallas Classic: Purdue (Big Ten No. 7) vs. UTEP (Big 12 No. 8*)
Jan. 1 Capital One: Florida (SEC No. 2) vs. Iowa (Big Ten No. 2)
Jan. 1 Outback: Penn State (Big Ten No. 3) vs. Kentucky (SEC)
Jan. 1 Gator: Michigan State (Big Ten No. 4/5) vs. LSU (SEC No. 6)
Jan. 6 GMAC: Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt No. 2) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC No. 2)
Jan. 7 Cotton: Nebraska (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Arkansas (SEC)
Jan. 8 Birmingham: USF (Big East) vs. Toledo (SEC No. 9*)
Jan. 9 Kraft Hunger: Fresno State (WAC) vs. Cal (Pac-10 No. 6)

* At-large replacement for a conference without enough eligible teams
** Champs Sports Bowl may select Notre Dame instead of a Big East team once over the next four years
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