Bowl Predictions: Week 7 Update (In Which Bobby Bowden Screws Half the ACC Over)

With a flurry of “unconfirmed” reports throughout the week, we have a semi-complete picture of the bowls heading into the weekend. As such, I’ve updated the predictions with any reports I felt were reasonably reliable. Note I have not otherwise changed anything that didn’t relate to a confirmation (for instance, with Auburn’s surprise Outback bid, I was able to put Tennessee in their likely destination, the Chick-fil-a, but I haven’t taken Notre Dame off the board despite most reports saying they’re not going bowling).

Let’s hit the high points of the changes, though you’ll have to do without links (for the most part):

  • As the headline might indicate, I’m as unhappy as everyone else in the ACC outside of Tallahassee about the Gator Bowl’s proposal to take 6-6 (4-4 in the ACC) FSU over basically anyone else. As you might recall from my post about the ACC’s bowl situation next year, one of the reasons for the Gator dropping the ACC was the conference’s bowl order selection rules, and apparently they’ve decided to stick it to the rest of the conference a year early. Articles over the past week have introduced a hitherto unknown rule that the bowls can opt out of the championship game loser 3 out of every 4 years, but I have yet to see any confirmation that this supersedes the conference’s one-loss rule. The Gator is arguing that it does, and thus they would probably banish the GT-Clemson loser to Nashville (perhaps “banish” is too strong, if there weren’t bowl “prestige” involved I’d rather go to Nashville over Jacksonville any day) as the Champs Sports will also take Miami using the same rule. I guess the Gator figures they’ll sell a lot of tickets, but if they do get their FSU-West Virginia matchup, any TV audience will be gone by the half. At any rate, I figured that next year’s mediocre SEC versus mediocre Big Ten matchup would make the Gator irrelevant, but it appears they want to get a head start on that.
  • Because of the chaos surrounding the Gator situation, very little is known about the rest of the ACC’s bowl situation, except that everyone still has the potential to get screwed. If Clemson loses the ACC title game, there is an outside chance the Chick-fil-a will grab them to set up a Clemson-Georgia matchup (as that is a minor rivalry game for both school that hasn’t been played since 2003), otherwise, we’ll probably get Virginia Tech and Tennessee. If the ACC title game loser doesn’t go to the Chick-fil-a (which, if Tech loses, they almost certainly won’t), they will fall all the way to the Music City, as described above. UNC is probably sitting the prettiest in this situation with a virtual lock on their customary Car Care Bowl bid (though I read at least one article that said they wanted to go to Florida this year, but thanks to FSU they probably won’t). The most screwed of all is perennial ACC bowl matchup loser Boston College, whose pretty good season will be rewarded with a trip to the Emerald Bowl. (I still don’t understand why, with no fewer than five actual football stadiums in the Bay Area they need to have a game in a baseball stadium, but that shows what I know.)
  • The Big 12 has no truly confirmed bids so far except Oklahoma State going to the Cotton. As a result, I’ve slotted Nebraska in the Holiday. Everything else is still up in the air, or at least I haven’t seen anything terribly reliable.
  • The Big East is also waiting for the results of its games Saturday, most of the guesses seem to be as good as mine.
  • The Big Ten also isn’t set, as they need to wait to make sure either Iowa or Penn State gets into the BCS. This also affects the Little Ceasars Bowl, because if neither get in (somehow) then they will pick up a Big Ten team. The only thing I know for sure is that Michigan State will not be going to Orlando.
  • The Pac-10’s bowls are waiting to see what happens this weekend, with most of the conference playing. It looks pretty likely the USC-Arizona winner will go to the Holiday, though.
  • The SEC, assured of two BCS bids, is pretty well set at this point. The Outback stunned everyone by taking Auburn, which caused a shakeup among the other teams in the middle of the SEC. I know for sure that Ole Miss will return to the Cotton, LSU will go to the Capital One. Less sure, but still pretty sure is that Arkansas will head to the Liberty Bowl and South Carolina will head to the Bowl. This leaves Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. They will probably head to the Independence, Chick-fil-a, and Music City bowls, respectively, but I haven’t seen anything firm enough to really call it.
  • As for everyone else, well, the MWC and WAC will probably the break they way I see it, though Utah and BYU could possibly switch places. I haven’t really seen anything regarding the destination of the various Sun Belt and MAC teams, as their fates will probably be determined which bowls end up needing at-large teams.

Anyway, I’ll update again tomorrow if anything changes. Otherwise, I will try to post my last set of destination predictions before the final BCS standings are released Sunday night. As for my trip to Tampa? Well, hopefully Houston doesn’t get snowed on too badly.