Bowl Season Approaches!

Actually, the bowl picture was clearer before yesterday's games. Now, it appears that several "BCS" conferences will not be able to fulfill their bowl obligations, potentially leaving a horde of open bowl slots. This story looks at each conference's bowl commitments, each team's remaining games and Sagarin-predicted final records and some still murky bowl projections.

 Conference Bowl Outlook (Records are predicted by applying Sagarin ratings to remaining games. Those teams that Sagarin predicts to be bowl eligible are shown in bold print.)


ACC--6 Bowl Games (Orange, Gator, Peach, Champs Sports, Meineke, MPC)

Virginia Tech (8-1)--Home Game against North Carolina, Road Game against Virginia, ACC Championship Game (?)--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1 in ACC

Florida State (7-2)--Road Games at Clemson and Florida, ACC Championship Game (?)--Sagarin Prediction 8-3, 6-2, ACC Atlantic Champion

Miami of Florida (7-1)--Home Games vs. Georgia Tech and Virginia, Road Game at Wake Forest, ACC Championship Game (?)--Sagarin Prediction 11-1, 6-1, ACC Coastal Champion and Playoff Champion, Automatic BCS Berth in the Orange Bowl

Boston College (6-3)--Home Game vs. North Carolina State, Road Game at Maryland--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 4-4

Georgia Tech (6-2)--Home Game against Georgia, Road Games at Virginia and Miami of Florida--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

North Carolina (4-4)--Home Games vs. Maryland and Duke, Road Game at Virginia Tech--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 5-3

Virginia (5-3)--Home Games against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, Road Game vs. Miami of Florida)--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6

Clemson (5-4)--Home Game against Florida State, Road Game at South Carolina--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Maryland (4-4)--Home Game against Boston College, Road Games at North Carolina and North Carolina State--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

North Carolina State (3-4)--Home Games against Middle Tennessee State and Maryland, Road Game at Boston College--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6

Wake Forest (4-6)--Home Game vs. Miami of Florida--Sagarin Prediction 4-7, 3-5


ACC Analysis: ACC needs to fill 6 bowls (7 if they land 2 BCS berths). They will fall 1-2 teams short unless one of the following happens: 1) Virginia beats Miami, Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech, 2)Clemson beats Florida State or South Carolina, 3)Maryland beats Boston College or North Carolina or 4)North Carolina beats Boston College or Virginia Tech. The most likely situation is for either Maryland or North Carolina to beat Boston College and in fact North Carolina did that Saturday. The ACC should meet its quota unless 2 league teams are in the BCS. If this is the case, they still need another upset.



Big 10--8 Bowl Games (Sugar, Holiday, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Sun, Music City, Motor City)

Penn State (9-1)--Road Game at Michigan State--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1, Big 10 Champion, Automatic BCS Berth in the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl

Wisconsin (8-2)--Home Game vs. Iowa, Road Game at Hawai'i--Sagarin Prediction 10-2, 6-2

Ohio State (7-2)--Home Game against Northwestern, Road Game at Michigan--Sagarin Prediction 9-2, 7-1 and BCS At-Large Berth in Fiesta Bowl

Minnesota (6-3)--Home Game against Michigan State, Road Game at Iowa--Sagarin Prediction 8-3, 5-3

Michigan (6-3)--Home Games vs. Indiana and Ohio State--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

Northwestern (6-3)--Road Games at Ohio State and Illinois--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

Iowa (5-4)--Home Game against Minnesota, Road Game at Wisconsin--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Michigan State (5-4)--Home Game vs. Penn State, Road Game vs. Minnesota--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6

Indiana (4-5)--Home Game against Purdue, Road Game at Michigan--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6


Big 10 Analysis: The Big 10 has 8 bowl obligations, and may get a 9th if 2 teams qualify for BCS berths. This now is pretty likely with the losses of Florida State and UCLA. With the upset of Michigan State by Purdue, only 6 now are predicted by Sagarin to finish with winning records (Note: Iowa's game with Wisconsin is a virtual tie--if the Hawkeyes win one more game, they will be eligible.) Iowa will need to get that win, but if 2 league teams are in the BCS, the Big 10 will be at least two teams short.



Big 12--8 Bowl Games (Fiesta, Cotton, Alamo, Holiday, Independence, Houston, Champs Sports, Fort Worth)

Texas (9-0)--Home game vs. Kansas, Road Game at Texas A & M--Sagarin Prediction 12-0, 8-0, Big 12 South Champions and Winner of Big 12 Championship, Rose Bowl Berth in National Championship Game

Texas Tech (8-1)--Home Game against Oklahoma, Road Game at Oklahoma State--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1

Colorado (7-2)--Home Game vs. Nebraska, Road Game at Iowa State--Sagarin Prediction 9-3, 7-1, Big 12 North Champions

Iowa State (6-3)--Home Game against Colorado, Road Game at Kansas--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 3-5

Oklahoma (5-3)--Home Games against Texas A & M and Oklahoma State, Road Game at Texas Tech--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 6-2

Missouri (5-3)--Home Game vs. Baylor, Road Game at Kansas State--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

Nebraska (5-4)--Home Game against Kansas State, Road Game At Colorado--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 3-5

Texas A & M (5-4)--Home Game vs. Texas, Road Game at Oklahoma--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Kansas State (4-5)--Home Game vs. Missouri, Road Game at Nebraska--Sagarin Prediction 4-7, 1-7

Kansas (5-4)--Home Game vs. Iowa State, Road Game at Texas--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6

Baylor (4-5)--Home Game vs. Oklahoma State, Road Game at Missouri--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 2-6

Oklahoma State (3-5)--Home Game against Texas Tech, Road Games at Oklahoma and Baylor--Sagarin Prediction 3-8, 0-8


Big 12 Analysis: The Big 12 will most likely be woefully short in its bowl obligations once again this year. It may be time for the bowl games to reassess the Big 12's performance and give a berth to a more deserving conference. They are not expected to fulfill their existing obligations, and if Texas Tech gets a BCS berth, they could be 2 teams short (unless Texas A & M can beat Texas, Oklahoma or Texas Tech or Baylor beats Missouri).



Big East--4 Bowl Games (Orange, Gator, Insight (Big East #2 or 3 or Notre Dame), Meineke

West Virginia (7-1)--Home Game against Pittsburgh, Road Games vs. South Florida and Cincinnati)--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-0, Automatic Berth in BCS Orange Bowl

Rutgers (6-3)--Home Game vs. Cincinnati, Road Game at Louisville--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 4-3

Louisville (6-2)-- Home Games against, Rutgers and Syracuse, Road Game at Connecticut--Sagarin Prediction 9-2, 5-2

South Florida (4-3)--Home Games vs. Cincinnati and West Virginia, Road Games at Syracuse and Connecticut--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-2

Connecticut (4-4)--Home Games vs. South Florida and Louisville, Road Game at Pittsburgh--Sagarin Prediction 4-7, 1-6

Pittsburgh (4-5)--Home Game vs. Connecticut, Road Games at West Virginia--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-3

Cincinnati (4-4)--Home Game vs. West Virginia, Road Games at South Florida and Rutgers --Sagarin Prediction 4-7, 2-5


Big East Analysis: The Big East has 4 bowl games, unless Notre Dame gets the Insight invite. But, barring a collapse by the Fighting Irish, they should get a BCS berth. Sagarin predicts 4 Big East teams will be bowl eligible, exactly matching their bowl commitments.



Conference USA--5 Bowl Games (Liberty, GMAC, Hawai'i, Fort Worth, New Orleans Bowl )

UTEP (7-1)--Home Games vs. Texas Southern and UAB, Road Game at SMU--Sagarin Prediction 11-1, 7-1, Conference USA West Champion, Winner of USA Championship and Automatic Berth in the Liberty Bowl

Tulsa (5-4)--Home Game against East Carolina, Road Game at Tulane--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 5-3

Central Florida (6-3)--Road Games at UAB and Rice--Sagarin Prediction 8-4, 7-1, Conference USA East Champion

Houston (4-4)--Home Games against SMU, Southern Mississippi and Rice--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

Southern Mississippi (4-3)--Home Games vs. Memphis and Tulane, Road Games at Houston and Marshall--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 6-2

Memphis (4-4)--Home Game vs. Marshall, Road Games at Tennessee and Southern Mississippi--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-4

Marshall (4-4)--Home Games vs. Southern Mississippi and East Carolina, Road Game at Memphis--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-4

East Carolina (3-4)--Home Game against UAB, Road Games at Tulsa and Marshall--Sagarin Prediction 4-6, 3-5

UAB (4-4)--Home Game vs. Central Florida, Road Games at UTEP and East Carolina--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Tulane (2-6)--Home Game against Tulsa, Road Games at Southern Mississippi and Rice--Sagarin Prediction 3-8, 2-6


Conference USA Analysis: This conference (along with the WAC) is consistently one of the best in meeting its bowl obligations. They probably lost an extra team with Memphis' upset loss to UAB and will need a Memphis or UAB upset to make up for it. They have 5 bowl games and should have 5 eligible teams.




Notre Dame (6-2)--Home Game against Navy and Syracuse, Road Game at Stanford--Sagarin Prediction 9-2 and berth in Gator Bowl

Navy (5-3)--Home Games vs. Temple and Army, Road Game at Notre Dame--Sagarin Prediction 7-4 and possible at-large berth in an open bowl game



Mid-American--2 Bowl Games (Motor City, GMAC)

Toledo (7-2)--Home Game vs. Northern Illinois, Road Games against Bowling Green--Sagarin Prediction 9-2, 7-1, Mid-American West Champion and Winner of MAC Championship Game

Western Michigan (6-3)-- Road Games vs. Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 4-4

Central Michigan (5-4)--Home Game against Northern Illinois, Road Game vs. Ball State--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 7-1

Miami of Ohio (6-3)--Road Game at Bowling Green--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-2, Mid-American East Champion

Eastern Michigan (3-5)--Home Games against Western Michigan and Ball State, Road Game against Buffalo--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 5-3

Bowling Green (5-4)--Home Games vs. Toledo and Miami of Ohio--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-4

Akron (4-4)--Home Games vs. Ohio and Kent State, Road Game at Ball State--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-4

Ohio (4-5)-- Road Game at Akron--Sagarin Prediction 5-5, 4-3

Northern Illinois (5-4)--Home Game vs. Western Michigan, Road Game at Toledo--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 4-4



Mid-American Analysis: With only 2 bowl games, the MAC should once again easily fulfill its commitments and have 3 eligible teams for possible at-large berths in open bowl games.



Mountain West--3 Bowl Games (Las Vegas, Emerald, Poinsetta)

TCU (9-1)--Home Game vs. UNLV--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 8-0, Mountain West Champion

Colorado State (5-4)--Home Game against San Diego State, Road Game at UNLV--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 6-2

New Mexico (5-4)--Home Game vs. Air Force, Road Game at Utah--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

BYU (5-4)--Home Game against Utah, Road Game against Wyoming--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 6-2

Utah (5-4)--Home Game against New Mexico, Road Game at BYU--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Wyoming (4-5)--Home Game vs. BYU, Road Game against San Diego State--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5


Mountain West Analysis: The league has fallen short each of the past two years, but makes up for it this year. They were headed for 2 extra teams but Wyoming lost so now the league will need another upset.



PAC-10--6 Bowl Games (Rose or Fiesta, Holiday, Sun, Insight, Las Vegas, Emerald)

USC (9-0)--Home Games Against Fresno State and UCLA, Road Game at California--Sagarin Prediction 12-0, 8-0, PAC-10 Champion and Berth in Rose Bowl for National Championship

UCLA (8-1)--Home Game vs. Arizona State, Away Games at USC--Sagarin Prediction 9-2, 6-2

Oregon (8-1)--Home Game against Oregon State, Road Game at Washington State--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1

California (6-3)--Home Game vs. USC, Road Game at Stanford--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 3-5

Stanford (4-4)--Home Games vs. California and Notre Dame, Road Game at Oregon State--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 5-3

Arizona State (5-4)--Home Game against Arizona, Road Game against UCLA--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 4-4

Oregon State (5-4)--Home Game vs. Stanford, Road Game at Oregon--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5


PAC-10 Analysis--The PAC-10 has been short the last couple of years with the dominance of USC. However, this year unless UCLA or Oregon makes a BCS Bowl, the league should meet its commitments. Oregon should fight with Texas Tech, Notre Dame and the SEC 2nd place team--Georgia, Alabama or LSU for the final at-large position. If Oregon gets in, the league will be short a team.



SEC--8 Bowl Games (Sugar, Capital One, Cotton, Outback, Peach, Houston, Independence, Music City)

Alabama (9-0)--Home Game against LSU, Road Game at Auburn--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1

Georgia (7-1)--Home Games vs. Auburn and Kentucky, Road Game at Georgia Tech--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1 and winner of SEC Eastern Division--Sagarin prediction of Georgia-LSU SEC Championship Game is a toss-up

LSU (7-1)--Home Game against Arkansas, Road Games at Alabama and Mississippi--Sagarin Prediction 10-1, 7-1 and Winner of SEC Western Division--Sagarin prediction of Georgia-LSU SEC Championship Game is a toss-up

Florida (7-2)--Home Game against Florida State and Road Game at South Carolina --Sagarin Prediction 9-2, 6-2

Auburn (7-2)--Home Game vs. Alabama, Road Game at Georgia--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 5-3

South Carolina (6-3)--Home Games against Florida and Clemson--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 4-4

Tennessee (3-5)--Home Games vs. Memphis and Vanderbilt, Road Game at Kentucky--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 4-4

Vanderbilt (4-5)--Home Game against Kentucky, Road Game at Tennessee--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5

Mississippi (3-5)--Home Games vs. Arkansas and LSU, Road Game at Mississippi State--Sagarin Prediction 5-6, 3-5



SEC Analysis: This league will not likely meet its bowl obligations. There are now only 9 teams that have a chance at a winning record and the outlook is not good at all that they will have more than 7 bowl-eligible teams. If the league's 2nd place team (Georgia, Alabama or LSU) gets a BCS berth, the SEC will probably be 2 teams short.



Sun Belt--1 Bowl Game (New Orleans)

Louisiana-Monroe (3-5)

Arkansas State (4-3)

Middle Tennessee (2-4)

Troy (4-5)

Louisiana-Lafayette (3-5)



Sun Belt Analysis: Louisiana-Monroe is undefeated in league play and favored to reach the New Orleans Bowl. As the weakest conference in I-A, no other league team will be invited to a bowl game.



WAC--2 Bowl Games (MPC, Hawai'i)

Fresno State (7-1)--Home Games against Boise State and Louisiana Tech, Road Games at USC and Nevada--Sagarin Prediction 10-2, 8-0 and Winner of the WAC Championship

Boise State (7-2)--Home Game vs. and Idaho, Road Games at Fresno State and Louisiana Tech--Sagarin Prediction 9-3, 7-1

Louisiana Tech (5-3)--Home Game vs. Boise State, Road Games at Fresno State and Idaho--Sagarin Prediction 6-5, 5-3

Nevada (5-3)--Home Game against Fresno State, Road Games against New Mexico State and Utah State--Sagarin Prediction 7-4, 6-2


WAC Analysis: Fresno State should it win out would likely receive another bowl invitation, especially due to the lack of BCS eligible teams as indicated above. If Boise State were to win out, it could possibly receive one of these open bowl invitations. If either scenario occurs, either Nevada or Louisiana Tech would get the league's other berth. If Boise State in the 2nd scenario were to get another bowl invite, Nevada would likely play in the MPC Bowl. Hawai'i has now been eliminated from a bowl with its loss to Nevada.



Bowl Projections

Rose Bowl for the National Championship (BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2)-- USC vs. Texas

FedEx Orange Bowl (BCS vs. BCS) Miami of Florida vs. West Virginia

Nokia Sugar Bowl (BCS vs. BCS) LSU or Georgia vs. Penn State

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (BCS vs. BCS) Ohio State vs. Oregon


Capital One Bowl (Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC No. 2) Wisconsin vs. LSU or Georgia

Toyota Gator
(Big East No. 2 or Notre Dame vs. ACC No. 2) Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech

(Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC No. 3) Minnesota vs. Alabama

SBC Cotton
(Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC) Texas Tech vs. Florida Houston
(SEC vs. Big 12) Tennessee vs. Nebraska

AutoZone Liberty
(C-USA No. 1 vs. TBA) UTEP vs. At-Large Team (Fresno State or Boise State or TCU)

Meineke Car Care
(Big East vs. ACC) Rutgers vs. Boston College

Chick-fil-A Peach
(ACC No. 3 vs. SEC) Florida State vs. Auburn

(SEC vs. Big 12) South Carolina vs. Iowa State

Vitalis Sun
(Pac-10 No. 3 vs. Big Ten No. 5) California vs. Northwestern

Gaylords Hotels Music City
(Big Ten No. 6 vs. SEC) At-Large Team vs. At-Large Team (South Florida)

Pacific Life Holiday
(Pac-10 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3) UCLA vs. Colorado

Emerald Bowl
(Pac-10 No. 6 vs. Mtn. West No. 2/3) At-Large Team (Memphis, Navy or Miami of Ohio, vs. BYU

MasterCard Alamo
(Big Ten No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 4) Michigan vs. Oklahoma

MPC Computers (WAC vs. ACC) Boise State or Nevada vs. North Carolina or At-Large Team (Navy, Memphis, BYU, Utah or New Mexico)

(Pac-10 No. 4 vs. Big East No. 2/3) Arizona State vs. Louisville

Champs Sports
(ACC vs. Big 12) Georgia Tech vs. Missouri

Motor City
(Big Ten No. 7 vs. MAC 1/2) At-Large Team (Wyoming or New Mexico) vs. Toledo

Sheraton Hawaii
(WAC vs. C-USA No. 3) Nevada or Louisiana Tech vs. Tulsa

Fort Worth
(Big 12 vs. C-USA No. 4) At-Large Team (Boise State or Navy) vs. Southern Mississippi

Poinsettia Bowl
(Mountain West vs. TBA) Colorado State vs. At-Large Team (Boise State, Navy, Memphis, Houston or Miami of Ohio)

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas
(Pac-10 No. 5 vs. Mtn. West No. 1/2) Stanford vs. TCU

(C-USA No. 2 vs. MAC or WAC) Central Florida vs. Miami of Ohio

New Orleans
(Sun Belt No. 1 vs. C-USA) Louisiana-Monroe vs. Central Florida

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