By Stewart Mandel
November 09, 2009

The season's first bowl bid has already been accepted. Following its upset of Notre Dame last Saturday, Navy (7-3) accepted its preexisting invitation to the Texas Bowl, where it will meet a Big 12 opponent. On Saturday, Iowa (9-1) and Ohio State (8-2) will meet in Columbus, to decide the Big Ten's automatic BCS berth (presumably to the Rose Bowl).

At this point, projecting most of the 34 bowl matchups consists largely of guesswork, but the picture will become clearer with each passing week. Here's a quick guide to how I arrived at the table below:

• The BCS lineup is predicated on an Alabama-Texas title game and Ohio State-Oregon Rose Bowl, with ACC champ Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. The Sugar (by losing Florida) and Fiesta (by losing Texas) would then have first choice of available teams, with the Sugar selecting SEC runner-up Florida and the Fiesta choosing USC. From there, the remaining selection order is 1) Orange (Iowa), 2) Fiesta (TCU), 3) Sugar (Cincinnati).

• While it's possible one of the BCS games would voluntarily select a second non-BCS team (in this case Boise State), I can only see it happening if no 10-win team is available from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC or Pac-10. If the Broncos miss the cut, there could be a vacated Pac-10 spot available for them in the Poinsettia Bowl against a Mountain West foe (in this case Utah).

• Finally, it's important to remember that bowls are not obligated to choose their teams in exact order of conference standings. For instance, "ACC No. 3" means "third choice of ACC teams" -- not "the ACC's third-place team." Also, a bowl can only select a 6-6 team from a conference if no 7-5 team from that league is still available, and bowls seeking a replacement for a conference without enough eligible teams cannot choose a 6-6 team if there is a 7-5 team available.

Teams in bold have accepted bowl invitation* -- replacement team for conference without enough eligible teams

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