Monday November 7th, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen -- they're back. I present to you this season's first edition the Internet's most accurate bowl projections 10 years running.

Why so accurate? Well for one, because I get to keep changing them every Monday and then again the morning of the actual bowl pairings (Dec. 4). But also, I pay extra attention to the many off-field factors -- geography, ticket sales, fan travel, conference politics, et. al. -- that often play a bigger role than actual wins and losses in bowls' selections. Case in point: Don't expect the Big 12's bowl partners to do Texas A&M or Missouri any favors. Last year, 10-3 Nebraska slipped to the Holiday Bowl for much that reason.

And now, a quick primer and refresher you've almost certainly skipped right past already, thus causing a flood of angry e-mails that could have been avoided had you simply read the following items:

• After the No. 1 and 2 teams are slotted and replaced, the BCS at-large selection order this year is 1) Fiesta, 2) Sugar and 3) Orange. The highest-ranked non-automatic qualifier (in this projection Boise State) is guaranteed a BCS berth if it finishes in the Top 12, but not a second (in this case Houston).

• 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."

• The bowl formerly known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., is now the Belk Bowl. The bowl formerly known as the Texas Bowl is now the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. This is not a joke.

• Much to my surprise, this initial projection included 74 eligible teams, or four more than there are available slots, thanks in part to surprise wins last weekend by UCLA, Northwestern and others.

• Ok, now read the chart.

* 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).

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.