Monday, November 02, 2009

Bowl Predictions 2009: Week 3

Predictions here! Get your predictions here!

Before I do my usual thing, let me just say that for starters, this is every bowl eligible team. Keep in mind that there will be 2 or 3 new games next year. (Though with some of the matchups that are currently scheduled, and the current state of the economy, I think a few games may fold after this year.) When I started doing this shindig back in 1999, there were "only" 23 games. Now there are 34, which well over half the teams in Division I-A today, and right now I see only 68 teams getting eligible. Think about that for a second. While, yes, I don't slavishly predict the record of every 3-5 MAC team to see if they'll make it (which I do for the Big Six teams) things could break such that there are 70 teams or just as easily break such that there are 65 teams. I haven't seen anything about what could happen if we don't get to 68 this. Would the NCAA let 5-7 teams compete? I don't know.

Anyway, let's hit the major talking points.

  • The title game still looks to be Florida/Alabama versus Texas. With Florida's stomping of Georgia on Saturday, it looks like they may have an edge over Alabama once again.
  • I'm slotting Alabama to the Sugar, and while I'm sure the Sugar will be glad to have them, they did go there last year and the BCS selection rules do allow for such situations.
  • I still have Iowa winning the Big Ten and Penn State getting an at-large bid. If Iowa does lose, that raises some interesting questions about the Big Ten's ability to field two teams.
  • Despite the loss Saturday, USC will be favored in all their remaining games and should win out. Since they didn't even fall out of the top 14 with their second loss, they'll probably get into the Fiesta. Some folks I know believe Notre Dame may give the Fiesta pause if they're eligible, though I doubt the ability of ND's remaining schedule to catapult them far enough up the standings.
  • Right now, I only have one of TCU and Boise getting into the BCS. I think the only way both getting will happen is if one or two more undefeated teams lose. The only way both can ensure qualification is to finish at #3 and #4 in the final standings.
  • Though it pains to do so, I still put GT in the Orange. I am still extremely worried about picking us to win anything, of course.
  • With Virginia Tech's loss last Thursday, any chance the ACC had of being a two-bid league were shot. The win does greatly help UNC's ability to get bowl eligible, though.
  • Overall, I see 7 of the ACC's 12 teams getting eligible, which is down from last year's 10. This leaves the league two short, so it will not send a team to the Eaglebank or GMAC Bowls.
  • Yes, um, Carolina, that is Duke in a bowl game! Also note FSU getting to the Emerald, provided they can get to 6-6.
Big East
  • With an assist from Notre Dame going to the Gator, the Big East will fulfill its obligations.
  • I know USF went to the St. Petersburg last year, but I just don't know where else to put them, and I would think that neither party particularly cares at this point, either.
  • As per usual, the Big 12 North is a disaster. Kansas State is currently at the top of the table, but I don't think there's any way they'll last there. In fact, I don't even have them going to a bowl.
  • While Missouri is 1-3 in conference, they've pretty much played all the teams on their schedule they're categorically worse than. I expect them to recover to 9-3 overall, losing the tiebreaker to Nebraska.
  • From the South, Texas will probably make the national title game, but at this point it doesn't look good for Oklahoma State to get to a BCS game. The Cotton bowl isn't a bad consolation prize, though.
  • With Texas A&M's upset of Texas Tech two weeks ago, they're actually 5-3 and need only to beat Baylor to get to 6-6.
Big Ten
  • I swear, Iowa is the worst undefeated team ever. Is there anyone who actually wants them to run the table? As I've pointed in the past, we have an irrational hatred of Kirk Ferenetz here, but their current "style" doesn't help.
  • Ohio State is the wild card here, as they have yet to play Penn State and Iowa. I have them beating Iowa but losing to Penn State to slide into that old Big Ten standby, the Capital One Bowl.
  • Wisconsin should finish up 10-2 for a trip to Florida as well.
  • The rest of the Big Ten is extremely muddy. As awful as Michigan has been lately, they should still get to 6-6, though.
  • The King is dead; long live the King! As you no doubt know by now, USC lost! (Again.) With a 2 game lead and 4 games to go, Oregon has the conference pretty much clinched, along with a trip to Pasadena. The last time the USC didn't go to the Rose Bowl was the 2004-5 season, when they went to the National Title game at the Orange Bowl instead.
  • Thanks to the magic of a full round-robin and a late ending conference season, the Pac-10 still has plenty of games to go. That said, with Oregon and USC going to the BCS I only see three other bowl eligible teams: Cal, Arizona, and Oregon State. I just don't see two games on Stanford's remaining schedule they should win, and Arizona State will come up just short.
  • Outside of a probable 10-2 LSU, the SEC's bowl slate (again) looks pretty bleak. For starters, the SEC East looks terrible. With South Carolina's loss to Tennessee, there is clear second place team anymore to send to the Outback. So be prepared for Lane Kiffin to say something dumb about whichever Big Ten team he faces and then lose by 20.
  • With LSU going to the Capital One, the representative for the Cotton is also equally debatable. I know Ole Miss went there last year, but I think the Peach will really want Auburn (travel time from Auburn to Atlanta: about 2 hours).
  • Provided they can make it, 6-6 Kentucky and Arkansas should round out the SEC's field to full strength.
Somewhat Non-Obvious Matchup of the Week: BYU-Boise State. It could happen if Boise doesn't make the BCS, which would give the WAC 4 bowl eligible teams. Since the Pac-10 won't send a team to the Poinsettia in all likelihood, this will allow them once again to get one of the best mid-major matchups since the WAC has the backup slot. Personally, I'd prefer Utah-Boise in the Las Vegas Bowl, but I don't think that'll happen.

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