Bowl projections

Projecting college football's bowl pairings is a lot like projecting where a balloon will come to rest when you let the air out of it. You're sure to be wrong but you still enjoy watching the drama unfold.

That said, here are my projections for this year's BCS bowls and the non-BCS bowls involving Southeastern Conference teams:

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Ohio State is in, and Southern Cal will be if it beats UCLA this Saturday. No-brainer.

SUGAR BOWL: Florida wins ugly but the Gators keep winning, so I suspect they'll find a way to beat Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game. That will earn Urban Meyer the berth opposite Notre Dame in New Orleans.

ORANGE BOWL: Louisville vs. fellow upstart Wake Forest isn't my idea of an attractive match-up but I think that's what's going to happen.

FIESTA BOWL: Unbeaten Boise State finally faces an opponent with a pulse when it challenges Oklahoma in Tempe.

ROSE BOWL: Disdaining a Michigan-Notre Dame rematch, Pasadena picks ultra-talented LSU (10-2) to fill the slot opposite the Wolverines.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: To avoid a rematch of last year's Auburn-Wisconsin pairing, Orlando brass pick Tennessee (9-3) to face the Badgers this time.

OUTBACK BOWL: Due to proximity and the fact Arkansas will be coming off back-to-back losses, the Tampa folks assume that Auburn (10-2) will bring a bigger contingent of fans to watch a game with Joe Pa's Penn State team.

COTTON BOWL: Someone gets the green weenie every bowl season, and this year that someone will be Arkansas. Though probably the SEC's best team, the Razorbacks (10-3) find themselves relegated to facing Texas in Dallas.

CHICK FIL-A BOWL: Hmmmm ... This bowl's located in Atlanta, and the state university's team is available. Georgia (8-4) looks like a lock for the spot opposite the ACC runnerup, probably Virginia Tech.

LIBERTY BOWL: Steve Spurrier beat Tennessee in Knoxville last year and beat Vanderbilt in Nashville this year. His South Carolina team (7-5) gets a Volunteer State trifecta by winning a trip to Memphis for a date with Houston.

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Kentucky (7-5) is one of college football's feel-good stories after saving Rich Brooks' job. The Wildcats will be a great fit for the berth opposite Boston College in Nashville.

INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Alabama (6-6) loses a fifth consecutive time to Auburn, fires its coach, then has to face Texas Tech at Shreveport in a rematch of last year's Cotton Bowl. Is this a bad year for the Tide or what?


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