UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
College Football

Bowl Projections: Get ready for a lot of postseason MACtion

Photo:

Jordan Lynch's Northern Illinois is on track for a Fiesta Bowl bid after passing Fresno State in the BCS.

Two additional at-large spots opened up in my lineup this week after Tennessee lost its seventh game and San Jose State lost its sixth, with a likely seventh coming this weekend against Fresno State. Of all conferences, the MAC was a huge beneficiary. First and foremost, Northern Illinois moved into the projected BCS lineup after leapfrogging Fresno State, thus bumping all of the MAC's other teams up a rung. Secondly, that league has been proactive about securing backup deals with bowls, several of which figure to be open.

As a result, there are now SEVEN teams currently represented from that conference -- as many as any other league but the ACC, SEC and Pac-12.

Elsewhere, the Big 12 lineup looks completely different from last week following Oklahoma State's win over Baylor. If the Bears don't reach the BCS, they'll get snapped up by the Cotton Bowl, and the Alamo Bowl is sure to take Oklahoma if available, dropping Texas from the Cotton to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl ... off a bye week. But hey, it's Texas-Michigan.

MANDEL: Oklahoma State deal Baylor painful dose of BCS reality

The Las Vegas Bowl will be thrilled if undefeated Fresno State falls out of the BCS, particularly after Boise State's loss to San Diego State leaves the Mountain West with no team besides Fresno with fewer than four losses.

Finally, Tennessee's loss means no SEC team will be available for the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. Pittsburgh, which reached six wins last weekend, might happen to be looking for a landing spot. So yes, I'm saying there's a chance at a Panthers-Birmingham fourpeat. (Though all parties will surely try to avoid it.)

A quick refresher on how all this 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." Bowls often pick a team with an inferior record due to geography, anticipated fan travel, the need to avoid a regular-season rematch or good old backroom politicking.

MANDEL: College Football Overtime: Wild Week 13 highlights flaws of BCS era; more Overtime

BCS bowls
DateBowlLocationPredicted matchup
Jan. 1 Rose Pasadena, Calif. Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 champ)
Jan. 1 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Oklahoma State (Big 12 champ) vs. Northern Illinois (BCS at-large)
Jan. 2 Sugar New Orleans Auburn (BCS at-large) vs. UCF (AAC champ)
Jan. 3 Orange Miami Clemson (BCS at-large) vs. Wisconsin (BCS at-large)
Jan. 6 BCS championship Pasadena, Calif. Alabama (BCS No. 1) vs. Florida State (BCS No. 2)

Other bowls
DateBowlLocationPredicted matchup
Dec. 21 New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. Utah State (MWC) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 No. 7)
Dec. 21 Las Vegas Las Vegas Fresno State (MWC No. 1) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 21 Idaho Potato Boise, Idaho UNLV (MWC) vs. Buffalo (MAC)
Dec. 21 New Orleans New Orleans Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Tulane (C-USA)
Dec. 23 Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg, Fla. Toledo (AAC*) vs. East Carolina (C-USA)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu Colorado State (MWC) vs. Rice (C-USA)
Dec. 26 Little Caesars Detroit Ball State (MAC) vs. Pittsburgh (Big Ten No. 8*)
Dec. 26 Poinsettia San Diego San Diego State (MWC No. 2) vs. Ohio (Army*)
Dec. 27 Military Annapolis, Md. Maryland (ACC No. 8) vs. Middle Tennessee State (C-USA)
Dec. 27 Texas Houston Minnesota (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Kansas State (Big 12 No. 6)
Dec. 27 Fight Hunger San Francisco Washington (Pac-12 No. 6) vs. BYU (BYU)
Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bronx, N.Y. Rutgers (AAC No. 4) vs. Notre Dame (Big 12 No. 7*)
Dec. 28 Belk Charlotte Cincinnati (AAC No. 3) vs. North Carolina (ACC No. 5)
Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Orlando Louisville (AAC No. 2) vs. Miami (ACC No. 3)
Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Tempe, Ariz. Texas (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Michigan (Big Ten No. 4)
Dec. 30 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas Boise State (MWC) vs. Navy (Navy)
Dec. 30 Music City Nashville Boston College (ACC No. 6) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Dec. 30 Alamo San Antonio Oregon (Pac-12 No. 2) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 AdvoCare Shreveport, La. Georgia Tech (ACC No. 7) vs. Arizona (SEC*)
Dec. 31 Sun El Paso, Texas Virginia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 No. 4)
Dec. 31 Liberty Memphis Vanderbilt (SEC) vs. Houston (AAC)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Atlanta Duke (ACC No. 2) vs. South Carolina (SEC)
Jan. 1 Heart of Dallas Dallas Oregon State (Big Ten No. 7*) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville Iowa (Big Ten No. 5) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa Nebraska (Big Ten No. 3) vs. Missouri (SEC)
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando Texas A&M (SEC No. 2) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten No. 2)
Jan. 3 Cotton Arlington, Texas Baylor (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC)
Jan. 4 BBVA Compass Birmingham, Ala. Marshall (C-USA) vs. Central Michigan (SEC*)
Jan. 5 GoDaddy Mobile, Ala. Bowling Green (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)

Teams in bold have accepted a bid.

* --- Replacement team for a conference without an eligible team

More College Football

SI.com

Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.

SI.com

Click the share icon to bookmark us.