Preview 2012 - Preseason Bowl Picks, Part 2
Auburn RB Onterio McCalebb
Auburn RB Onterio McCalebb
Posted Jul 11, 2012

No, it's not too soon for the possible 2012-2013 bowl matchups.

Preview 2012 

Preseason Bowl Picks, Part 2

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Preseason Bowl Projections
- Part One - The December bowls
- Part Two - The rest of the non-BCS games
- Part Three - The BCS bowls 

AdvoCare V100 Independence
Shreveport, LA Independence Stadium
Dec. 28, 2:00 pm, ESPN
ACC No. 7 vs. SEC
Preseason Call: Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State
Top Three Other Options: 1) Virginia, 2) Missouri, 3) Texas A&M

WHY? It all might depend on whether or not Miami is eligible to go bowling. With a brutal schedule and a still rebuilding team, that might not be a given. Wake Forest could be just good enough to get to 6-6 and sneak into one of the ACC's final bowl slots, while Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Missouri will all likely be in the discussion to fill in the SEC's last opening.

Russell Athletic
Orlando, FL Florida Citrus Bowl
Dec. 28, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Big East No. 2 vs. ACC No. 3
Preseason Call: South Florida vs. Clemson
Top Three Other Options: 1) Rutgers, 2) Georgia Tech, 3) NC State

WHY? Formerly the Champs Sports Bowl, the Russell Athletic would love to be able to take Notre Dame again, but it can't after playing in last year's game. Even so, it should be a terrific matchup with South Florida a great get to stay close to home. Clemson, Georgia Tech and NC State will all be in the running to take the ACC's spot.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Houston, TX Reliant Stadium
Dec. 28, 9:00 pm, ESPN
Big 12 No. 6 vs. Big Ten No. 6
Preseason Call: Texas Tech vs. Purdue
Top Three Other Options: 1) TCU, 2) Iowa, 3) Nebraska

WHY? It'll be also-ran vs. also-ran from two of the power conferences with the Big 12 likely keeping one of its Texas teams in-state with Baylor and TCU also likely to be in the running. Losing Penn State and Ohio State from the mix hurts, but Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa will be in the discussion.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Fort Worth, TX Amon G. Carter Stadium
Dec. 29, 11:45 am, ESPN
Preseason Call: Houston vs. Air Force
Top Three Other Options: 1) SMU, 2) Southern Miss, 3) Tulsa

WHY? Air Force is always a natural fit for the Armed Forces Bowl. SMU is the easy call to play close to home, but it has other local options for decent and better matchups. If it's not the Mustangs, Tulsa could be an option, but a rebuilding Houston would be the more likely choice.

Kraft Fight Hunger
San Francisco, CA AT&T Park
Dec. 29, 3:15 pm, ESPN or ESPN2
Navy vs. Pac-12 No. 6
Preseason Call: Navy vs. California
Top Three Other Options: 1) UCLA, 2) Stanford, 3) Washington

WHY? Navy already has its bowl tie-in set up in advance, and getting there shouldn't be a problem after missing out on an extra game last season. The bowl game would love to keep Stanford or Cal close to home with either one – combined with Navy – likely to ensure a sell-out. UCLA is always a nice draw for the local alumni base, and Washington wouldn't be a bad option. Cal will be better than the sixth-best option, but the bowl will want the home crowd.

New Era Pinstripe
Bronx, NY Yankee Stadium
Dec. 29, 3:15 pm, ESPN or ESPN2
Big 12 No. 7 vs. Big East No. 4
Preseason Call: Baylor vs. Rutgers
Top Three Other Options: 1) Kansas State, 2) Louisville, 3) Cincinnati

WHY? The game will always find a way to get either Rutgers or Syracuse to play close to home, but the Scarlet Knights might be good enough to win the Big East and go to the BCS while the Orange might struggle to get bowl eligible. Baylor or Texas Tech will likely end up going to New York as one of the last eligible teams from a deep Big 12 pool, but an improved Iowa State could also end up playing Rutgers in a rematch of last year's Pinstripe.

Valero Alamo
San Antonio, TX Alamodome
Dec. 29, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Pac-12 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3
Preseason Call: Stanford vs. West Virginia
Top Three Other Options: 1) Oklahoma State, 2) TCU, 3) Utah

WHY? Could the Alamo get a 2011 BCS-worthy matchup? Stanford will take a step back and West Virginia won't have as much success in the Big 12 as it had in the Big East, but both teams will be good enough to put on a wild show if they end up in San Antonio. Expect lots of fireworks from any of the options from the Big 12, while Utah could end up being the choice from the Pac-12 with a few upsets.

Valley of the Sun
Tempe, AZ Sun Devil Stadium
Dec. 29, 10:15 pm, ESPN
Big 12 No. 4 vs. Big Ten No. 4 or 5
Preseason Call: Kansas State vs. Illinois
Top Three Other Options: 1) West Virginia, 2) Nebraska, 3) TCU

WHY? Don't confuse the Valley of the Sun with the Sun in your bowl world. Formerly the Insight, this should be a strong matchup of teams in two power conferences that will finish just outside of the top slots. Kansas State won't come up with as strong a season as it did last year, but it will be just solid enough to get a good Big 12 bowl. Illinois has the potential to be a little bit better, and that could be enough in a down year for the Big Ten.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City
Nashville, TN LP Field
Dec. 31, 12:00 pm, ESPN
SEC No. 7 vs. ACC No. 6
Preseason Call: Missouri vs. Virginia
Top Three Other Options: 1) Tennessee, 2) NC State, 3) Clemson

WHY? Missouri is a wild card in the SEC bowl pecking order. In the mediocre East, and with Georgia coming to Columbia, it could be just good enough to get a New Year's Day Florida bowl slot with the right breaks. However, this will likely be an inconsistent first year in the new conference. Virginia should be stronger, but the record might not show it.

Hyundai Sun
El Paso, TX Sun Bowl
Dec. 31, 2:00 pm, CBS
ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 4
Preseason Call: Georgia Tech vs. UCLA
Top Three Other Options: 1) Clemson, 2) NC State, 3) Stanford

WHY? Utah, Stanford and Cal will all be in the running to get to El Paso, while the game would love it if Arizona State or Arizona could find its way in. Georgia Tech, Clemson, NC State and Virginia are all possible suspects with the game likely to love the idea of getting either the Yellow Jackets or the Tigers.

AutoZone Liberty
Memphis, TN Liberty Bowl
Dec. 31, 3:30 pm, ESPN
C-USA No. 1 vs. SEC No. 8 or 9 or Big East No. 5 if not SEC
Preseason Call: Southern Miss vs. Tennessee
Top Three Other Options: 1) SMU, 2) Vanderbilt, 3) Houston

WHY? Tennessee might just barely get to six wins and would stay close to home for one of the SEC's final bowl slots. SMU and Houston are all going to be deep in the running for the Conference USA title, but UCF is the best-looking team on the lot. However, even the Knights aren't eligible.

Atlanta, GA Georgia Dome
Dec. 31, 7:30 pm, ESPN
ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5
Preseason Call: Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Top Three Other Options: 1) Georgia Tech, 2) Florida State, 3) Arkansas

WHY? Always among the stronger bowl matchups on paper – but rarely in the actual game – this should be one of the stronger years for the game with lots of potentially great options. This should be the right slot for an Auburn team that dominated Virginia in last year's Chick-fil-A and could end its season where it started after dealing with Clemson in the Atlanta for the opener. The loser between Virginia Tech and Florida State in the ACC title game will be here.


Dallas, TX Cotton Bowl
Jan. 1, 12:00 pm, ESPNU
C-USA vs. Big Ten No. 7
Preseason Call: SMU vs. Northwestern
Top Three Other Options: 1) Houston, 2) Illinois, 3) Purdue

WHY? Will it finally be time for Northwestern to break its long bowl drought? The chance will likely either come in Dallas or in the Motor City Bowl against a MAC team; the Wildcats will get one slot while Purdue will take the other. Illinois and Purdue will be in the running. SMU could end up playing in the Armed Forces Bowl, but this game is a little stronger and it's in Dallas. Tulsa and Houston would put a few fans in the stands, but not like SMU. Gator
Jacksonville, FL EverBank Field
Jan. 1, 12:00 pm, ESPN2
Big Ten No. 4 or 5 vs. SEC No. 6
Preseason Call: Iowa vs. Florida
Top Three Other Options: 1) Auburn, 2) Illinois, 3) Nebraska

WHY? Iowa won't be all that good but it'll have a strong record. However, Illinois, Nebraska and Purdue will all be just good enough to be in the running for a Florida New Year's Day bowl. While the Gators would rather have the Outback or Florida Citrus, this might be just about as good as they can get. Even so, Auburn or even Missouri could end up here.

Capital One
Orlando, FL Florida Citrus Bowl
Jan. 1, 1:00 pm, TBA
SEC No. 2 vs. Big Ten No. 2
Preseason Call: Georgia vs. Michigan
Top Three Other Options: 1) Wisconsin, 2) South Carolina, 3) Michigan State

WHY? This might be a case of the SEC missing out by the silly rule that only two teams from a league can get into the BCS. Georgia should have a phenomenal record but could be just barely on the outside looking in, while South Carolina will also get plenty of consideration for arguably the biggest non-BCS bowl matchup. The Michigan-Michigan State loser will likely end up here with the winner getting into the BCS.

Tampa, FL Raymond James Stadium
Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC No. 3 Jan. 1, 1:00 pm, TBA
Preseason Call: Nebraska vs. Arkansas
Top Three Other Options: 1) Michigan State, 2) Michigan, 3) Wisconsin

WHY? Flip a coin a few times between Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia for the SEC's spot depending on what the Cotton Bowl decides to do. The LSU-Arkansas loser at the end of the regular season will probably end up here or in the Cotton, while the No. 3 Legends team from the Big Ten between Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska will get the call.

AT&T Cotton
Arlington, TX Cowboys Stadium
Jan. 4, 8:00 pm, FOX
Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC No. 3 or 4
Preseason Call: Oklahoma State vs. South Carolina
Top Three Other Options: 1) Arkansas, 2) Texas, 3) West Virginia

WHY? No matter what the matchup, it'll be juicy. The two teams that end up here could easily be in the BCS – like Arkansas and Kansas State last season – and it's not that bad a consolation prize. Oklahoma, a resurgent Texas and Oklahoma State will be the three favorites to win the Big 12 title with two of them going to the BCS and the odd team out going to Jerry World. Of course, in the dream of all dreams, somehow the system might be rigged to make sure that Texas and Texas A&M play each other, but the politics are going to be too difficult. Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and South Carolina will all be considered depending on which SEC team is in the BCS championship this year.

BBVA Compass
Birmingham, AL Legion Field
Jan. 5, 1:00 pm, ESPN
SEC No. 8 or 9 vs. Big East No. 5 or C-USA
Preseason Call: Texas A&M vs. Pitt
Top Three Other Options: 1) Auburn, 2) Tennessee, 3) South Florida

WHY? Texas A&M will be destined for much bigger and far better things if it can pull off a few big SEC wins, but it could be a strong year and it still might not be enough to get to a good bowl. You name the Big East team and it might end up here, but Rutgers and Syracuse – if eligible – will likely end up in St. Petersburg or New York for its bowl, making Cincinnati, Louisville ad Pitt the more likely candidates.
Mobile, AL Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Jan. 6, 9:00 pm, ESPN
Sun Belt No. 2 vs. MAC No. 1
Preseason Call: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Western Michigan
Top Three Other Options: 1) Arkansas State, 2) Ohio, 3) FIU

WHY? Western Michigan could end up being close to home in the Motor City Bowl as long as it finishes with a winning record, meaning Ohio, Toledo and Northern Illinois will all get a look if it's not the Broncos. The New Orleans Bowl will try to finagle ULL into its game if eligible meaning Arkansas State and FIU would be in the running.

Preseason Bowl Projections
- Part One - The December bowls
- Part Two - The rest of the non-BCS games
- Part Three - The BCS bowls