The college football landscape now contains 35 different bowl game destinations. "Bowl Projections" is your weekly rundown of which teams are headed where, from BCS bowls to B.S. bowls.
I'm going to start out this post by saying "Yes, I am picking Iowa State to upset Mizzou" because quite frankly what the hell is the point of writing this, otherwise? (Tune in next week, in which I come to the deluded conclusion that without 70 eligible bowl teams, a 5-7 ISU has a legit shot anyway.)
(Sorry this is late, I had a job interview in South Carolina on Monday and didnt get back until late Tuesday.)
BCS Title Game: Oregon v. Auburn
Rose Bowl: Michigan State v. TCU
Sugar Bowl: LSU v. Boise State
Orange: Virginia Tech v. Wisconsin
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-1) v. Syracuse Orangemen (8-4)
Nebraska is still the team to beat in the Big XII this year. I think they survive a hard-fought trip to the "12th Man" this weekend, then roll Colorado to get to 11-1. They've beaten Oklahoma State once this year, no reason to think that they won't do it again.
Meanwhile, if history has taught me one thing, it is to expect any team led by Dave Wannstedt to implode in the most horrific fashion possible. Against UConn, it became apparent that any team with a decent running game has what it takes to beat Pitt. I expect South Florida to take advantage of that, and hand Pitt another conference loss, creating a logjam of 2-loss teams in the Big East. 5 conference wins will take the Big East this year, and Syracuse is the only team with at least 4. But hell, Pitt, USF, UConn, and West Virginia are all equally likely. Even the magic 8-ball is telling me "Reply Hazy - ask again later." Another Big XII Fiesta Bowl win is inevitable.
As for the rest of the BCS, Iowa's
upsetcompletely predictable implosion against Northwestern means that I like Michigan State to take the Big Ten. I see Iowa bouncing back strong at home against Ohio State (just like they did after the Wisconsin loss) and Michigan State has the head to head tiebreaker against Wisconsin, who get into the Orange on at at-large berth anyway after their eighty point firebombing of DresdenBloomington.
Full Big XII Predictions, including ISU, after el jumpo.
Cotton Bowl Classic - Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-2) v. Arkansas Razorbacks
Same as last week. Oklahoma State loses the CCG but gets an invite to the Cotton Bowl. The SEC hierarchy is somewhat locked in through the top few spots: Auburn and LSU make BCS games, the Capitol One Bowl takes 'Bama, and Arkansas ends up taking a trip to Arlington.
Wisconsin scoring 80 on a fellow Big Ten school jumps them past Stanford into a BCS at-large spot, despite Stanford being a spot higher in the BCS standings. I've got Oklahoma losing to Oklahoma State, but being a rivalry game it really could be a toss-up.
After an embarassing loss in Ames to the lowly Cyclones (told you this was the blatant homerism edition), Missouri falls to the Insight Bowl to play a once-again bowl eligible Michigan team. (If you think this is unlikely, well, Mizzou probably ends up in the Alamo Bowl, and Oklahoma ends up here, but then this article wouldn't be any fun to write, would it?)
Holiday Bowl - Texas A&M (8-4) v. Arizona Wildcats
If USC wasn't such a bunch of terrible no-good rotten dirty cheatin' uniform-design-stealin' punks, they'd be in line to head to this game. As it stands, Arizona gets a free bowl upgrade. A&M loses a close one to Nebraska before getting in on "Beat Texas" year and finishes 8-4 to head to San Diego.
Texas Bowl - Baylor Bears (7-5) v. Penn State Nittany Lions
The real question here will be if Baylor has what it takes to come back strong against their Big Ten opponent after losing their last three regular season games in a row. Still, the Texas Bowl committee should be chomping at the bit to host the Bears' first bowl game in forever, and Penn State travels pretty well, too.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Kansas State Wildcats (7-5) v. Connecticut Huskies
This game is looking more and more like it will be Kansas State vs. "Random Big East team." If Colorado upsets KSU this year because of the altitude, look for Texas Tech to snag this spot.
Texas Tech has Weber State this weekend, and should become bowl eligible. I also see them beating Houston next week to get to 7-5, and snagging the last Big XII bowl tie-in. I'm less confident in Illinois' ability to get bowl eligible after losing to Minnesota last week, but a closing-week redemption game against Fresno State should get them there.
New Mexico Bowl - Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) v. Miami (OH) Redhawks
The MWC and WAC still aren't any closer to being able to field teams for this one, so the Big XII and MAC step up to help out. Unlikely? Sure. But as of now, there are only 54 Bowl Eligible teams total, and with every passing week it looks increasingly likely that there will not be 70 teams with 6 wins by season's end. Besides, this will probably be the last week I get to list the Cyclones anyway, I might as well take advantage of it.
The Rest of the Best:
Chick Fil-A Bowl: Florida State v. Mississippi State
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami (FL) v. South Florida
Hundai Sun Bowl: Maryland v. California
Meineke Car Care Bowl: North Carolina State v. Pittsburgh
Music City Bowl: North Carolina v. Kentucky
Independence Bowl: Clemson v. Air Force
Military Bowl: Georgia Tech v. Southern Miss
BVBA Compass Bowl: West Virginia v. Toledo
Beef O' Brady's Bowl: East Carolina v. Louisville
Capitol One Bowl: Ohio State v. Alabama
Outback Bowl: Iowa v. South Carolina
Gator Bowl: Northwestern v. Florida
Pizza Pizza Bowl: Boston College v. Northern Illinois
Liberty Bowl: Central Florida v. Georgia
Hawai'i Bowl: Tulsa v. Hawai'i*
Armed Forces Bowl: Army* v. BYU
New Orleans Bowl: Troy v. UTEP
Poinsettia Bowl: Navy* v. San Diego State
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Ohio v. Florida International
Humanitarian Bowl: Temple v. Fresno State
Maaco Las Vegas Bowl: Utah v. UCLA
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada v. Toledo
* - Team has accepted bid to bowl game