This week I'm projecting Boise State to finish ahead of TCU in the BCS standings and earn an automatic invite to the Rose Bowl. The Broncos will need it, because I'm told there's almost no chance the Sugar Bowl, with the first at-large choice, would select Boise over a highly ranked Big Ten team, and the Orange Bowl, with second pick, won't want to stage a Boise-Virginia Tech rematch. It can, however, take TCU.
A few other notes:
• With a win over Army this week, Notre Dame will become bowl eligible and available to any game with an at-large spot to fill. I placed the Irish in Las Vegas. Note, there is no longer a rule preventing 6-6 at-large teams from being picked above candidates with better records.
• An unusual new agreement allows the SEC to order the Liberty Bowl to replace the Conference USA champion (currently projected to be UCF) with the No. 5 Big East team (in this case USF) if there aren't enough SEC teams to fill its ninth slot in Birmingham. (In other words, it gets an SEC-Big East matchup in Memphis instead.) The C-USA champ would be placed in one of seven ESPN-owned bowls. I moved UCF to the Armed Forces Bowl to face Army, but this is purely an arbitrary guess.
• Last week, I had the Pac-10 selection order wrong -- the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (No. 5) picks ahead of the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl (No. 6). It might not matter, because right now I don't project enough teams to fill either.
• The Dallas Football Classic is now the TicketCity Bowl. Just so you know.
• As always, it's important to remember that most 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."
• As of now, I'm projecting exactly 70 eligible teams for 70 spots.
Teams in bold have accepted bowl invitation. * -- replacement team for a conference without enough eligible teams.