Week 12 Bowl Projections

Florida State's hard hitting defense causes turnovers and has shown that the Noles can play on both sides of the ball.


Both Boston College and Maryland picked up their sixth wins of the season on Saturday, giving the ACC eight bowl-eligible teams, with three more looming with five wins apiece (North Carolina, Syracuse and Pitt). But if depth has been an asset, it’s come at the cost of clarity, where a five-way tie for first place in the Coastal Division remains a realistic possibility. It may go all the way to season’s end -- with Duke-UNC the headlining act -- before we know exactly how things will shake out.

VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 6: Florida State
Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: Clemson
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: Duke
Russell Athletic Bowl, Dec. 28: Miami
Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31: North Carolina
Belk Bowl, Dec. 28: Virginia Tech
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30: Georgia Tech
AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Dec. 31: Maryland
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman, Dec. 27: Boston College



Georgia can't buy a break, can it? Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Auburn dropped the Bulldogs to third in their division with three conference losses and a 6-4 record overall. But more importantly, it all but eliminated them from the SEC East race with Missouri and South Carolina as the clear front-runners.

A win might have put Georgia in position for a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but today it looks like a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for the Music City Bowl might be in order.

Missouri had the weekend off but will close with two tough ones in Ole Miss and Texas A&M. If the Tigers lose just one, their BCS bowl hopes will go down the drain. Given their strength of schedule, the margin of error is razor-thin.

South Carolina, meanwhile, has a little easier road if you consider Coastal Carolina a gimme this weekend before the big one at home against Clemson. Should the Gamecocks beat Clemson and the winner of the SEC West, making it back-to-back wins over top-10 teams, imagine the predicament voters would be in. All bowl projections would have to be thrown out the window.

If you shift your focus to the SEC West, not much has changed. The Iron Bowl on Nov. 30 will determine everything. Alabama has to be the favorite, but with the way Auburn has looked, both in terms of play and luck, it's hard to count the Tigers out at home. The winner of that game will reach the SEC title game and be in position for a spot in the BCS National Championship.

VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 6: Alabama
Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2: Auburn
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: South Carolina
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 3: Texas A&M
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Missouri
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31: LSU
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Ole Miss
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30: Georgia
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31: Vanderbilt
BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 4: Tennessee


Big 12

Well, it looks like this is it for the Big 12. After West Virginia lost to Kansas and TCU lost to Kansas State, both schools are 4-7 on the season and ineligible to go bowling. So that settles it. The conference will send six teams to bowl games this winter, one season after nine Big 12 teams earned that honor.

Here are our Week 12 bowl projections for the Big 12:

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1): Baylor vs. BCS at-large
AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3): Oklahoma State vs. SEC No. 3/4
Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30): Oklahoma vs. Pac-12 No. 2
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Dec. 28): Texas vs. Big Ten No. 4/5
National University Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30): Kansas State vs. Pac-12 No. 3
Texas Bowl (Dec. 27): Texas Tech vs. Big Ten No. 6
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 28): None available vs. American No. 4
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1): None available vs. Big Ten No. 7



The Pac-12, as previously noted, has eight bowl-eligible teams with only seven contracted bowls. Further, Stanford's loss to USC on Saturday makes it far less likely the conference will get two BCS bowl teams (ADs across the league just redlined a half-million from their revenues), which means one fewer spot than we've projected all season.

Further, Washington State's win at Arizona gives the Cougars' bowl hopes a significant boost. If they can beat either Utah on Saturday or Washington in the season finale, the Cougs will go bowling for the first time since 2003.

Meanwhile, the Utes and Colorado need to win out in order to become bowl eligible. They play on Nov. 30, the final game of the regular season.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Jan. 1, 2014): Oregon vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30): Stanford vs. Big 12
National University Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30): UCLA vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun Bowl (Dec. 31): Arizona State vs. ACC
Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 21): USC vs. MWC
Fight Hunger Bowl (Dec. 27): Oregon State vs. BYU
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21): Washington vs. MWC
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1, 2014): Arizona vs. Conference USA
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 28): Utah vs. American


Big Ten

With 12 weeks down and two left in the regular season, there are some things we know when it comes to the Big Ten bowl picture.

We know that Purdue and Illinois are not going bowling, along with Penn State, which is ineligible. We know that Northwestern (agsinst Michigan State) and Indiana (against Ohio State) will both have to pull off a Hail Mary win this week and then win again next week against rivals to get to 6-6. We don't think either of those teams will do it.

So that leaves only seven teams from the Big Ten to go bowling. The league has eight bowl tie-ins. In other words, don't buy tickets to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl if you want to see a Big Ten team in action this postseason.

The biggest question remains whether the conference can grab a BCS at-large spot. Wisconsin and Michigan State are moving up in the BCS standings, and there's always the possibility that the Spartans knock off Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, sending MSU to Pasadena and the Buckeyes to an at-large spot.

But we don't foresee that happening ... yet. We do have one major change to the projections, moving Michigan State to the Capital One Bowl ahead of Wisconsin. While conference title game losers have had a hard time getting BCS at-large bids, Nebraska did go to the Capital One Bowl last season after getting blown out in Indianapolis. Michigan State could have an 11-1 regular season and unbeaten Big Ten season, so the league and the bowl might want to see the Spartans go to the conference's top non-BCS bowl if they were to lose to Ohio State. (Michigan State's defense versus Johnny Football in the Cap One? I'd watch that.)

We now have a potential 10-2 Wisconsin going to the Outback Bowl, and Nebraska -- whose fans are a little sick of Florida -- heading to Arizona for some free wings. Michigan stays ahead of Minnesota in our projections, largely due to fan base/travel issues. Beating Northwestern was huge for the Wolverines' bowl status.

Our latest projections:

Rose Bowl Presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Ohio State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan State
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Nebraska
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Not filled


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