Projecting all 34 bowl matchups
With only a week to go until Selection Sunday, much of this chart is still very fluid.
For instance, the six 7-5 teams from the SEC are all possibilities for any of six bowls. My projections are based on a hunch that the Outback will select Tennessee and the Chick-fil-A will take home-state Georgia, creating a ripple effect from there. A different decision by either bowl, however, could affect five other teams' spots.
The ACC pecking order will depend in large part on the result of Saturday's Georgia Tech-Clemson championship game. I'm projecting a Yellow Jackets victory, with Clemson sliding to the Champs Sports Bowl. If the Tigers win, however, Georgia Tech's 7-1 conference record prevents it from falling below the Gator Bowl. Similarly, a Cincinnati victory over Pittsburgh could send the Panthers sliding to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but the Bearcats might not slip past the Gator.
My Pac-10 lineup is based on Oregon beating Oregon State. Should the Beavers win, the Ducks will not fall below the Holiday Bowl, causing USC and others to drop a spot. The Big Ten and Big 12 lineups seem more clear-cut.
Only one eligible BCS-conference team will not get a bowl spot. Right now, that teams appears to be UCLA. However, there remains the possibility that Notre Dame, which I have in the Little Caesars Bowl, will turn down a bowl invite, what with its coaching staff in flux and its star players already setting sights on the NFL. In that event, a spot would open for the Bruins, most likely in either the GMAC or Humanitarian bowls.
• Note that some official bowl berths might be doled out prior to Sunday, in which case this chart will be updated.
• 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.