Each Friday you’ll get to see my Big 12 Bowl Projections in the DA’s Gameday Tab, but after every weekend of football, I’ll post my updated version on Sunday (unless I’m traveling) – this will include not just Big 12 projections but all 36 bowl game projections.
BCS BOWL GAMES
BCS National Championship – BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2
(Monday Jan. 7th – 8:30 PM – Sun Life Stadium)
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida State Seminoles
The Crimson Tide are the most complete team in football – Nick Saban has this team poised to make another championship run. As long as the offense runs through Eddie Lacy and the talented Alabama offensive line anchored by Barrett Jones, the Tide will be able to move the football effectively. Alabama has tough tests having to go to Fayetteville and Baton Rouge, but if the Tide handle those, there isn’t any reason why they won’t be in the title game. As far as FSU, the ‘Noles offense has matured, behind EJ Manuel. Add the fact that FSU has by far the easiest schedule of any legitimate BCS contender, Florida State should be the first ACC squad to get to the National Championship since the Seminoles were there in 2000.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – BCS Big 12 No. 1 vs. BCS At-Large
(Thursday Jan. 3rd – 8:30 PM – University of Phoenix Stadium)
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oregon Ducks
WVU and Oregon will provide Glendale with quite the offensive firework show. WVU’s offense is the real deal (yes on Friday, I had WVU finishing behind Oklahoma for 2nd in the Big 12) after yesterday’s 69-point explosion, it is hard to think WVU’s scoring won’t continue. The Mountaineers may have enough offensive talent to compensate for the problems on the defense and special teams. Oregon’s offense seems like it isn’t missing a beat with true freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Ducks will lose to USC in the Pac-12 Championship, but with only one loss, Oregon will have no problem earning an at-large bid.
Allstate Sugar Bowl – BCS SEC No. 1 vs. BCS At-Large
(Wednesday Jan. 2nd – 8:30 PM – Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
LSU Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals
Despite the Tigers loss of Tyrann Mathieu, LSU is still one of the toughest teams to beat in the country. At LSU one guy doesn’t determine the outcome of the team, LSU replaces Mathieu in their secondary with ease. Add the fact that finally they have a legitimate quarterback in Zach Mettenberger, and the Tigers cruise to a BCS at-large with maybe only one loss. Louisville wins the Big East in a runaway (their toughest game will be against Rutgers at the end of the season) behind Teddy Bridgewater and the great coaching of Charlie Strong.
Rose Bowl Game – BCS Big Ten No. 1 vs. BCS Pac-12 No. 1
(Tuesday Jan. 1st – 5:00 PM – Rose Bowl)
Michigan State Spartans vs. Southern California Trojans
My, my Southern Cal is loaded, especially after seeing them put up an easy 49 points yesterday, but depth is an issue, with only so many scholarship players, it is hard to ignore the possibility of USC getting thin on defense this season. During the latter half of the regular season, when the USC defense is matched up with Oregon in their eighth game, the Trojans could fall, but at the end of the day they get together and probably defeat Oregon in a rematch in the Pac-12 title game. For Michigan State, the Big Ten is wide open, with a veteran defense, Sparty could get it right this season.
Discover Orange Bowl – BCS ACC No. 1 vs. BCS At-Large
(Tuesday Jan. 1 – 8:30 PM – Sun Life Stadium)
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Ohio Bobcats
Oklahoma becomes the premier choice as at-large after finishing second in the Big 12 conference, so the Orange Bowl takes them to replace FSU who ends up in the National Title Game. The Sooners trip up somewhere during the brutal final stretch of having to go to WVU, TCU sandwiched around Bedlam. Now, where everyone is looking at the other team, the Ohio Bobcats, this team is talented. Beating Penn State for the Bobcats wasn’t just because Penn State was down it was because Ohio University is good. Tyler Tettleton is a smart quarterback, he leads them making the Bobcats the 2012 BCS Party Crasher.
NON BCS BOWL GAMES
GoDaddy.com Bowl – MAC No. 1 vs. Sun Belt No. 2
(Sunday Jan. 6th – 9:00 PM – Ladd-Peebles Stadium)
Western Michigan Broncos vs. Troy Trojans
Western Michigan ends up here because, Ohio gets an at-large bid to the BCS. WMU has a successful season despite losing the MAC Title game. The Troy Trojans finish second in the Sun Belt. These two play in the final game before the National Championship Game.
BBVA Compass Bowl – SEC No. 8/9 vs. Big East No. 5/C-USA
(Saturday Jan. 5th – 1:00 PM – Legion Field)
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. UCONN Huskies
Dan Mullen gets the Bulldogs to about seven wins in 2012, putting them right in the middle of the pack as far the SEC goes. Mississippi State gets behind Tyler Russell and finds consistency on offense. The Huskies get back to a bowl game after missing out in 2011 riding the legs of Lyle McCombs.
AT&T Cotton Bowl – Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC No. 3/4
(Friday Jan. 4th – 8:00 PM – Dallas Cowboys Stadium)
Texas Longhorns vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Texas is back this year, they even give Oklahoma and West Virginia a scare in terms of competing for the Big 12 conference title. Between Texas’ run game with three guys (Malcolm Brown, Jonathan Gray, Joe Bergeron) that could start anywhere in the country and the depth of their defensive line, Texas can control the clock in just about any game. Georgia wins out in the SEC East, but doesn’t get an at-large because Alabama wins the SEC Title against the Bulldogs, and LSU wraps up the at-large.
TicketCity Bowl – Big Ten No. 7 vs. C-USA No. 5
(Tuesday Jan. 1st – Noon – Cotton Bowl)
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Marshall Thundering Herd
Pat Fitzgerald has to be happy with the amount fight that he saw in team during the All-Journalism Bowl against Syracuse. With inexperience there will be struggles for Northwestern, but some glimpses of strong play. For Marshall, Rakeem Cato and Aaron Dobson will be lethal in C-USA play, plus Doc Holliday knows how to motivate, Marshall should finish with about seven wins.
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl – Big Ten No. 4/5 vs. SEC No. 6
(Tuesday Jan. 1st – Noon – EverBank Field)
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee looks improved, especially after seeing Tyler Bray throw two absolute bombs in the Georgia Dome on Friday night against NC State. The Cornhuskers with Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez moving a fast paced offense up and down the field, should have the Cornhuskers in contention for a Big Ten title.
Capital One Bowl – Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC No. 2
(Tuesday Jan. 1st – 1:00 PM – Florida Citrus Bowl)
Michigan Wolverines vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Michigan showed its problems last night against Alabama, I’m not saying they’re done in terms of getting to a BCS bowl, but there are ways to exploit the Wolverines. Arkansas has another top ten finish but because they play in the SEC finish they end up third in the division. The Razorbacks are happy to play in the Capital One bowl.
Outback Bowl – Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC No. 3/4
(Tuesday Jan. 1st – 1:00 PM – Raymond James Stadium)
Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Despite falling in the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin gets to a January 1st bowl game against South Carolina who finishes behind Georgia in the SEC East. Wisconsin doesn’t really hit its stride offensively until about a quarter of the way into the season. The Gamecocks roll early in the season giving the rock to Marcus Lattimore.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – ACC No. 6 vs. SEC No. 7
(Monday Dec. 31st – Noon – LP Field)
Virginia Cavaliers vs. Auburn Tigers
Mike London has done a good job, but he has some pieces to replace. UVA ends up with some quality wins, but head scratching losses. London does another good job, but has to play a tough Auburn team after finishing in the middle of the pack in the SEC. Really a tale of two similar teams, accept Auburn is a little bit better because of the competition they play.
Hyundai Sun Bowl – ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 4
(Monday Dec. 31st – 2:00 PM – Sun Bowl)
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Stanford Cardinal
Virginia Tech and Stanford both take a step back this season. Virginia Tech has a lot better competition this season. Georgia Tech is improved, Clemson is improved, NC State is improved and of course Florida State is improved, sot the Hokies take a seat back to those teams. Stanford on the other go through growing pains because of the loss of Andrew Luck. They struggled Friday night against San Jose State, David Shaw will get the team together and have them grow over the course of the season.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – C-USA No. 1 vs. Big East No. 5/SEC No. 8/9
(Monday Dec. 31st – 3:30 PM – Liberty Bowl)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Missouri Tigers
Tulsa has some talent in the defensive backfield with safeties, Dexter McColl and Marco Nelson, the Hurricane becomes a team that can force turnovers. On the other hand Missouri struggles in SEC play, but end up with enough wins at six and six to get to a bowl game.
Chick-fil-A Bowl – ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5
(Monday Dec. 31st – 7:30 PM – Georgia Dome)
Clemson Tigers vs. Florida Gators
Clemson was happy to get that taste of the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl out of their mouths, Tajh Boyd looks strong. To think they get an All-American Wide Receiver, in Sammy Watkins, back in a couple of weeks is a scary thought. For Florida, the defense carries the Gators throughout the season. Tough matchups with Georgia, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M could give the Gators problems.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – C-USA No. 3 vs. MWC No. 4/5
(Saturday Dec. 29th – 11:45 AM – Amon G. Carter Stadium)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Replacing Austin Davis for Southern Miss and Ryan Lindley for SDSU is what these schools have to do. SMU and SDSU find a way to do it as both earn return trips to a bowl game.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – Navy vs. Pac-12 No. 6
(Saturday Dec. 29th – 3:15 PM – AT&T Park)
Navy Midshipmen vs. California Golden Bears
Navy finds a way to get six wins and end up in a bowl game. Despite Cal’s loss yesterday to Nevada, the Golden Bears find a way to get it together throughout the season and become a tough out for anyone in the Pac-12.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Big 12 No. 7 vs. Big East No. 4
(Saturday Dec. 29th – 3:15 PM – Yankee Stadium)
Baylor Bears vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Nick Florence does a great job leading the Bears and replacing Robert Griffin III, he has quality receivers in Tevin Reese, Terence Williams and Lenear Sampson that allow him to flourish. That group will give Big 12 secondary’s absolute fits. The Bearcats improve and progress with Munchie Legaux as the their quarterback.
Valero Alamo Bowl – Pac-12 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3
(Saturday Dec. 29th – 6:45 PM – Alamodome)
UCLA Bruins vs. Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is so underrated, the Wildcats quarterback, Collin Klein will his team to victory time after time. Bill Snyder leads his team throughout the season turning heads in the Big 12 for the second straight season. UCLA has a much better 2012 led by Jim Mora.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Big 12 No. 4 vs. Big Ten No. 4/5
(Saturday Dec. 29th – 10:15 PM – Sun Devil Stadium)
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
84 points yesterday was truly impressive, Joseph Randle carries this offense throughout the season, with Wes Lunt becoming more and more confident throughout the season. The biggest worry is, how the young Cowboys offensive line plays against tougher competition. For Illinois with an ineligible Penn State and Ohio State in the division, it is easy for the Illini to slide into the B-Dubs bowl.
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl – ACC No. 7 vs. SEC
(Friday Dec. 28th – 2:00 PM – Independence Bowl)
Miami Hurricanes vs. Texas A&M Aggies
The Canes find a way to be successful because of the way they run the football. If what Duke Johnson did against Boston College on Saturday afternoon was any indication of what Miami can do during the regular season, than Al Golden and company may just be in business. Texas A&M goes through an up and down lure in the SEC, but do get to a lower bowl game.
Russell Athletic Bowl – Big East No. 2 vs. ACC No. 3
(Friday Dec. 28th – 5:30 PM – Florida Citrus Bowl)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Kyle Flood has an overall success during his first season as head coach. The Scarlet Knights take advantage of a weak Big East Conference. Behind Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins, Rutgers runs through the Big East, a showdown with Louisville at the end of conference play will determine if Rutgers gets to go to a BCS Bowl Game. Georgia Tech runs the option well during conference play and finishes in the top three in their division.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Big 12 No. 6 vs. Big Ten No. 6
(Friday Dec. 28th – 9:00 PM – Reliant Stadium)
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Iowa State becomes the lone school in the Big 12 conference to win games because of their defense plays. With AJ Klein and Jake Knott the defense thrives, they will prove that in a week when they beat up on in state rival Iowa. Purdue another benefactor from Ohio State and Penn State’s ineligibility has them in a bowl game.
Military Bowl – Army vs. ACC No. 8
(Thursday Dec. 27th – 3:00 PM – RFK Stadium)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish* vs. Boston College Golden Eagles
Boston College is tough, and despite loosing to Miami yesterday, simply winning six games can get BC into this game end u at RFK. The Fighting Irish on the other hand find a way to get to six wins even with arguably the toughest schedule in the country. Notre Dame will be some dog fights especially in games against Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford. If Notre Dame can get maybe two or three or those games their bowl projection could move up.
Belk Bowl – ACC No. 5 vs. Big East No. 3
(Thursday Dec. 27th – 6:30 PM – Bank of America Stadium)
North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. South Florida Bulls
NC State’s Mike Glennon has a better rest of the season, than he performed against Tennessee this past week. South Florida finds the consistency that it couldn’t find last season by learning how to play a full game.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Pac-12 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5
(Thursday Dec. 27th – 9:45 PM – Qualcomm Stadium)
Utah Utes vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Casey Pachall, Matthew Tucker and Josh Boyce show the Big 12 that the Frogs can move the ball up and down the field just like the rest of the conference. TCU has tough games on the road in Morgantown, in Stillwater and in Austin, those games alone could slow their success. Utah improves in year two of being a member of the Pac-12.
Little Caesars Bowl – Big Ten No. 8 vs. MAC No. 2
(Wednesday Dec. 26th – 7:30 PM – Ford Field)
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Miami (OH) Redhawks
The Hawkeyes have to get it together. They will struggle this season especially seeing how they performed against a weaker Northern Illinois. With that they take on Miami of Ohio who gives the University of Ohio a run for their money in terms of getting to the MAC Title Game.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – C-USA No. 2 vs. MWC No. 5
(Monday Dec. 24th – 8:00 PM – Aloha Stadium)
East Carolina Pirates vs. Wyoming Cowboys
ECU proves it is a quality program, Wyoming has some talent, for these teams it is as easy as just finding a way to get to six wins.
R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Sun Belt No. 1 vs. C-USA No. 6
(Saturday Dec. 22nd – Noon – Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
FIU Golden Panthers vs. SMU Mustangs
SMU has a big runner in Zac Line, the physical bruiser will probably be the guy to carry the Mustangs into a bowl game. He’ll lead the C-USA in rushing again. FIU and Mario Cristobal will be a staple in bowl games at least until he leaves.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl – MWC No. 1 vs. Pac-12 No. 5
(Saturday Dec. 22nd – 3:30 PM – Sam Boyd Stadium)
Boise State Broncos vs. Arizona Wildcats
Boise State ends up with a repeat trip to the MAACO Las Vegas bowl because they’ve already lost. They’re in that position again where one-loss changes everything. Joe Southwick is the right-handed version of Kellen Moore. This year they play Arizona, who has a decent first season under Rich Rodrgiuez.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl – Big East No. 6 vs. C-USA No. 4
(Friday Dec. 21st – 7:30 PM – Tropicana Field)
Syracuse Orange vs. Houston Cougars
Ryan Nassib can sling the ball a little bit. With a 400 plus yard passing game against Northwestern its clear the Syracuse offense can score (maybe it was the poor Northwestern defense). Houston had an ugly loss, but that’s a program that will find a way to right the system and get it together.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – BYU vs. MWC No. 2
(Thursday Dec. 20th – 8:00 PM – Qualcomm Stadium)
BYU Cougars vs. Nevada Wolfpack
BYU is better than people think, but they are locked into the Poinsettia Bowl. Nevada on the other will compete with Boise State for the Mountain West title. The Wolfpack already have a nice win against Cal under their belt.
Gilden New Mexico Bowl – MWC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 7
(Saturday Dec. 15th – 1:00 PM – University Stadium)
Air Force Falcons vs. Oregon State Beavers
Troy Calhoun and the Air Force Falcons thrive while running the triple option. Oregon State and Mike Riley take a step forward in turning the program back around with getting to a bowl game. The Oregon State Beavers will give the top tier of the Pac-12 problems if they take the Beavers lightly.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – WAC No. 1/2 vs. MAC No. 3
(Saturday Dec. 15th – 4:30 PM – Bronco Stadium)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Louisiana Tech wins the WAC with ease. They take advantage of a conference that really has no football talent. Northern Illinois struggles in the post-Chandler Harnish era, but finds a way to get to a bowl game.