Posted: Sunday November 27, 2011 10:23PM ; Updated: Monday November 28, 2011 12:26AM
Stewart Mandel
Stewart Mandel>INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Bowl season begins to take shape as BCS stands pat in projections

Story Highlights

The BCS remained the same this week with LSU-Alabama still in the title game

The ACC shuffled considerably, with Florida State now in the Chick-fil-A Bowl

If Georgia loses, the Outback Bowl will pick between the Bulldogs and Gamecocks

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Florida State
After beating the Gators, Florida State is now projected to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Auburn.
Kim Klement/US PRESSWIRE

Things are starting to become pretty clear, and I only made a few changes from last week, none in the BCS bowls. The ACC lineup shuffled considerably, with Florida State moving up to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, sending Clemson to the Champs Sports Bowl. The Orlando game really wants to match FSU and Notre Dame, but the Atlanta game would have to either pass on 7-5 Auburn for 6-6 Florida or voluntarily take a Clemson team that would have lost three straight games.

In the SEC, Arkansas appears locked in to the Capital One Bowl. Assuming a Georgia loss this weekend, it's unclear whether the Outback Bowl would prefer the 10-3 Dawgs or 10-2 South Carolina. I gave it the Gamecocks, sending Georgia to the Cotton Bowl. Vanderbilt became bowl eligible, and while the hometown Music City Bowl will have first choice over the Liberty Bowl, the Commodores may opt for Memphis instead, sending Mississippi State to Nashville.

And the Pac-12 is a mess, as no team besides Oregon or Stanford (both BCS bound) finished better than 7-5. The Alamo Bowl will have first choice of the leftovers, and the guess is it takes Washington, sending Cal to the Holiday Bowl. If UCLA receives a waiver to participate at 6-7, its likely destination is San Francisco.

A few reminders:

• After the No. 1 and 2 teams are slotted and replaced, the BCS at-large selection order this year is Fiesta-Sugar-Orange. The highest-ranked non-automatic qualifier (in this projection Houston) is guaranteed a BCS berth if it finishes in the Top 12 or in the Top 16 and ahead of the Big East champion.

• Most bowls are not obligated -- I repeat, NOT OBLIGATED -- to choose in exact order of conference standings. For instance, "Big 12 No. 3" means "third selection of Big 12 teams," not "the Big 12's third-place team."

• I'm currently projecting only two surplus eligible teams (Western Kentucky and Ball State), though Hawaii could become eligible if it beats BYU.

BCS Bowls
Date Predicted matchup
Jan. 2 Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten champ) vs. Oregon (Pac-12 champ)
Jan. 2 Fiesta: Oklahoma St (Big 12 champ) vs. Stanford (BCS at-large)
Jan. 3 Sugar: Michigan (BCS at-large) vs. Houston (BCS at-large)
Jan. 4 Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. West Virginia (Big East champ)
Jan. 9 BCS Championship: LSU (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama (BCS No. 2)
Other Bowls
Date Predicted matchup
Dec. 17 New Mexico: San Diego St. (MWC No. 4) vs. Temple (Pac-12 No. 7*)
Dec. 17 Idaho Potato: Utah State (WAC) vs. Toledo (MAC No. 3)
Dec. 17 New Orleans: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Illinois (C-USA*)
Dec. 20 Beef 'O'Brady's: Marshall (C-USA) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East)
Dec. 22 Maaco: Boise State (MWC No. 1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 23 Poinsettia: TCU (MWC No. 2) vs. Louisiana Tech (WAC)
Dec. 24 Hawaii: Nevada (WAC) vs. SMU (C-USA) 
Dec. 26 Independence: Wyoming (MWC No. 3) vs. Wake Forest (ACC No. 7)
Dec. 27 Little Caesars: Ohio (MAC No. 2) vs. Purdue (Big Ten No. 8)
Dec. 27 Belk: Louisville (Big East No. 3) vs. NC State (ACC No. 5)
Dec. 28 Military: North Carolina (ACC No. 8) vs. Air Force (Navy*)
Dec. 28 Holiday: Cal (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Texas (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 29 Champs Sports: Notre Dame (Big East No. 2**) vs. Clemson (ACC No. 3)
Dec. 29 Alamo: Washington (Pac-12 No. 2) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 30 Armed Forces: Tulsa (C-USA) vs. BYU (BYU)
Dec. 30 Pinstripe: Rutgers (Big East No. 4) vs. Missouri (Big 12 No. 7)
Dec. 30 Music City: Virginia (ACC No. 6) vs. Mississippi State (SEC No. 7)
Dec. 30 Insight: Baylor (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Iowa (Big Ten No. 4)
Dec. 31 Meineke Texas: Penn State (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 6)
Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger: UCLA (Pac-12 No. 6) vs. Western Michigan (Army*)
Dec. 31 Sun: Georgia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. Utah (Pac-12 No. 4)
Dec. 31 Liberty: Southern Miss (C-USA No. 1) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC No. 8)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A: Florida State (ACC No. 2) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 5)
Jan. 2 TicketCity: Northwestern (Big Ten No. 7) vs. Iowa State (C-USA*)
Jan. 2 Capital One: Arkansas (SEC No. 2) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten No. 2)
Jan. 2 Outback: Michigan State (Big Ten No. 3) vs. South Carolina (SEC)
Jan. 2 Gator: Ohio State (Big Ten No. 5) vs. Florida (SEC No. 6)
Jan. 6 Cotton: Kansas State (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Jan. 7 BBVA Compass: Cincinnati (Big East) vs. FIU (SEC No. 9*)
Jan. 8 GoDaddy.com: Northern Illinois (MAC No. 1) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt No. 2)

Teams in bold have accepted an invitation.
* -- replacement team for a conference without an eligible team.
** -- the Champs Sports Bowl can pick Notre Dame instead of a Big East team once in the current four-year period (2010-13).

 
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