Projecting all 35 bowl matchups
ACC slate is tough to predict due to uncertainty surrounding Champ Sports Bowl
Poor home attendance could cause 8-4 Maryland to slip to the ACC's eighth pick
Nevada fans are lobbying to make the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl over Boise State
Official bowl bids are slowly trickling in, and as of writing this Wednesday night, I'd correctly tabbed the first eight. Having said that, I've made several revisions elsewhere since Sunday based on the latest chatter across the business.
Reports out of Atlanta on Saturday indicate the Outback Bowl, ever the contrarian, is leaning toward 7-5 Florida over 9-4 South Carolina, which shook up my projections for that and several other SEC bowls.
The ACC's entire lineup is becoming almost impossible to predict. It starts with the uncertainty regarding the Champs Sports Bowl, which holds the third pick and is deciding between NC State and Maryland. If it goes with the Wolfpack (as I expect), the Terps, plagued by poor home attendance this season, may fall all the way to the ACC's eighth pick, the Military Bowl in nearby Washington D.C.
Meanwhile, Miami (7-5) was initially expected to plummet following the ouster of Randy Shannon, but word is the Sun Bowl, which picks right after the Champs, is still focused on the Hurricanes, especially since the CBS-televised game may be looking at an at-large team from the MAC as the other participant.
As I wrote Sunday night, various parties are trying to broker a deal to send either 11-1 Nevada or 10-1 Boise State to face 10-2 Utah in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl gets first pick of the two and favors the Broncos, but Nevada fans have been heavily lobbying the San Francisco game to take the Wolfpack -- and Boise fans have been lobbying it to let them go.
As always, it's important to remember that most 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."
The necessary 70 teams are already eligible, and as many as four more could get there this weekend. However, I'm projecting the final number to be 71, with 6-6 Western Michigan the lone team left out.
|Jan. 1||Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten champ) vs. TCU (at-large)|
|Jan. 1||Fiesta: Nebraska (Big 12 champ) vs. Stanford (BCS at-large)|
|Jan. 3||Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. West Virginia (Big East champ)|
|Jan. 4||Sugar: Arkansas (at-large) vs. Ohio State (at-large)|
|Jan. 10||BCS Championship: Auburn (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon (BCS No. 2)|
|Dec. 18||New Mexico: BYU (MWC) vs. UTEP (C-USA)|
|Dec. 18||Humanitarian: Fresno State (WAC) vs. Toledo (MAC No. 3)|
|Dec. 18||New Orleans: Florida International (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Ohio (WAC)|
|Dec. 21||Beef 'O'Brady's: Southern Miss (C-USA) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East)|
|Dec. 22||Maaco: Utah (MWC No. 1) vs. Boise State (Pac-10 No. 5*)|
|Dec. 23||Poinsettia: San Diego State (MWC No. 2) vs. Navy (Navy)|
|Dec. 24||Hawaii: Hawaii (WAC) vs. Tulsa (C-USA)|
|Dec. 26||Little Caesars: Northern Illinois (MAC No. 1) vs. Louisville (Big Ten No. 8*)|
|Dec. 27||Independence: Air Force (MWC No. 3) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC No. 7)|
|Dec. 28||Champs Sports: Notre Dame (Big East No. 2**) vs. NC State (ACC No. 3)|
|Dec. 28||Insight: Missouri (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Iowa (Big Ten No. 5)|
|Dec. 29||Military: East Carolina (C-USA) vs. Maryland (ACC No. 8)|
|Dec. 29||Texas: Illinois (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Baylor (Big 12 No. 6)|
|Dec. 29||Alamo: Arizona (Pac-10 No. 2) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 3)|
|Dec. 30||Armed Forces: SMU (C-USA) vs. Army (MWC*)|
|Dec. 30||Pinstripe: Syracuse (Big East No. 4) vs. Kansas State (Big 12 No. 7)|
|Dec. 30||Music City: North Carolina (ACC No. 6) vs. Mississippi State (SEC No. 7)|
|Dec. 30||Holiday: Washington (Pac-10 No. 3) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 5)|
|Dec. 31||Meineke Car Care: Connecticut (Big East No. 3) vs. Clemson (ACC No. 5)|
|Dec. 31||Sun: Miami (ACC No. 4) vs. Temple (Pac-10 No. 4*)|
|Dec. 31||Liberty: UCF (C-USA No. 1) vs. Georgia (SEC No. 8)|
|Dec. 31||Chick-fil-A: Florida State (ACC No. 2) vs. South Carolina (SEC No. 5)|
|Jan. 1||TicketCity: Northwestern (Big Ten No. 7) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 8)|
|Jan. 1||Capital One: Alabama (SEC No. 2) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten No. 2)|
|Jan. 1||Outback: Penn State (Big Ten No. 3) vs. Florida (SEC)|
|Jan. 1||Gator: Michigan (Big Ten No. 4) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 6)|
|Jan. 6||GoDaddy.com: Miami (OH) (MAC No. 2) vs. Troy (Sun Belt No. 2)|
|Jan. 7||Cotton: Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC)|
|Jan. 8||BBVA Compass: USF (Big East) vs. Kentucky (SEC No. 9)|
|Jan. 9||Kraft Fight Hunger: Boston College (Pac-10 No. 6*) vs. Nevada (WAC)|
Teams in bold have accepted bowl invitation.
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