Bowl projections: Alabama-Stanford title game leads preseason picks
This is the final season of the current postseason lineup. Come 2014, when the four-team playoff goes into effect, the Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls will become part of the "New Year's Six" premium tier of bowls. The number of bowls will increase from 35 games to 38 (and counting), so get ready for college football, Boca Raton and the Bahamas. In addition, many of the current conference-bowl partnerships will change. For Big Ten fans, this season is the last chance to visit Tempe just before New Year's; for Big 12 fans, this season could bring one last trip to the Holiday Bowl.
In the new system, it will also be virtually impossible to make predictions like these in Week 14, much less before the season starts. So enjoy these, too, before everything changes.
A quick refresher on how this all works:
• After the No. 1 and 2 teams are slotted and replaced, the BCS at-large selection order this year is: 1) Orange, 2) Sugar and 3) Fiesta. The highest-ranked champion from a non-automatic qualifier is guaranteed a BCS berth if it finishes in the top 12 or in the top 16 and ahead of an AQ-conference 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."
* -- Replacement team for a conference without an eligible team