Spring 2013 - December Bowl Expectations
San Diego State RB Adam Muema
San Diego State RB Adam Muema
Posted Mar 18, 2013

Early expectations and possibiltiies for the 2013-2014 bowls - the December games

Spring Preview 2013 

Way-Too-Early Bowl Picks

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Way--WAY-Too-Early Bowl Expectations
- Part One - The December bowls
- Part Two - The rest of the non-BCS games
- Part Three - The BCS bowls   

Okay, okay, okay, we got it. It's the silly season and doing anything in March that revolves around bowl games might be ridiculous, but it is March and it is the silly season – this is what we're here for.

Remember, this is an impossible task to do on the day the bowl games are being announced, much less nine months before the fun – no one could've projected Northern Illinois and Notre Dame would get into the BCS and no one would've imagined the Louisiana Tech-Independence Bowl debacle – so despite telling the world last March that Alabama was going to win the national title, instead of making true projections, consider these Bowl Expectations.

First, it'll be December 1st and we'll have bowl reps telling us, "we're taking this team," and sports info types confirming that, "we're going here," and it'll still be wrong. Contracts get broken; bowls blow off pecking orders; and marriages will be made that don't seem to make any sense. Obviously these expectations and picks will change a bazillion different ways.

Some of the bowls aren't even sure at the moment which teams from which conferences will be available to them, so while a slot might make sense, things get out of whack when bowls jump the gun with invites or go with geographical matchups over good football pairings. The goal here is to attempt to account for the self-interests of the bowls that'll want to sell tickets and generate publicity.

Second, remember that schedules mean everything. Some teams might be better than others but are predicted to go to lesser bowl games because their records might not be as strong as other possible choices. The best educated guess is taken at every turn.

Third, not everyone will get the call. There are only so many available slots, so some worthy teams, especially from leagues with 14 teams like the new ACC and Conference USA, might get shut out due to a lack of at-large bids available. Meanwhile, the Big Ten could have an impossible time filling all its slots.

Finally, don't honk at us if you don't like where your team is predicted to go. If it looks like some team that we have playing in December looks like a world-beater, it'll obviously be predicted to go to another bowl as the season goes on.

A few more rules going forward.

1) The BCS games that lose their natural tie-ins get the first choices of at-large teams, and after that it goes Orange, Sugar, Fiesta in the selection process.

2) Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings and can be selected as an at-large bid if it finishes in the top 14. However, it doesn't have a direct bowl tie-in at the moment.

3) Some bowls ignore the final standings as far as the seedings and pairings. Again, geography is a big deal.

And away we go. Happy offseason. Gildan New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM University Stadium
Pac-12 No. 7 vs. Mountain West No. 4 or 5
Ridiculously Early Call: Arizona vs. Air Force
Top Three Other Options: 1) Oregon State, 2) Nevada, 3) Arizona State

WHY? Arizona might be hoping for more, but it might not be a bad idea to get back to New Mexico after last year's thrilling win over Nevada. Air Force leads a long list of possible teams from the Mountain West, with a return trip by Nevada not out of the picture.

Famous Idaho Potato
Boise, ID Bronco Stadium
Mountain West vs. MAC No. 3 
Ridiculously Early Call: San Jose State vs. Ohio
Top Three Other Options: 1) Boise State, 2) Fresno State, 3) Toledo

WHY? The bowl might hope for Boise State or Fresno State, but they'll almost certainly be locked up by much bigger games. Ohio, Toledo and Bowling Green will be the main choices from the MAC, while San Jose State and Utah State are the most likely options from the spiffed up Mountain West.

R+L Carriers New Orleans
New Orleans, LA Mercedes-Benz Superdome
C-USA vs. Sun Belt No. 1 
Ridiculously Early Call: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Louisiana Tech
Top Three Other Options: 1) ULM, 2) Arkansas State, 3) Tulane

WHY? Louisiana Tech - this year, if someone offers you a bowl bid, TAKE IT. The New Orleans Bowl could be among the most fun of the minors if it's a spirited showdown between two Louisiana teams. Arkansas State would bring the fans, too, while Tulane should be close to six wins and in the running.

Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, FL Tropicana Field
C-USA vs. Big East No. 6
Ridiculously Early Call: Rice vs. South Florida  
Top Three Other Options: 1) UCF, 2) Tulsa, 3) Marshall

WHY? It might not be ideal, and the bowl would probably like it if FIU or Florida Atlantic could become eligible, but Rice will likely have the best record of any Conference USA team to choose from. South Florida or UCF is a must from the Big East for the local tie-in.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia
San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium
Army vs. MWC No. 2 
Ridiculously Early Call: San Diego State vs. Mississippi State*
Top Three Other Options: 1) Nevada, 2) Army, 3) Notre Dame

WHY? It's not like San Diego State took advantage of the home bowl game last year in a clunker against BYU, but it still makes sense that it'll stick around to put some fans in the seats. While other bowls will work hard to shift things around to get Notre Dame, with Army almost certain to not get to six wins, this is the lone opening that's almost certain to be available. However, the Pinstripe makes more sense for the Irish and the SEC needs to find a home for one of its bowl eligible teams.

MAACO Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV Sam Boyd Stadium
Pac-12 No. 5 vs. MWC No. 1 
Ridiculously Early Call: Boise State vs. Oregon State
Top Three Other Options: 1) Fresno State, 2) Washington, 3) Arizona State

WHY? Can Boise State or Fresno State get into the BCS? The Broncos would've been eligible and probably in over Northern Illinois if they had beaten San Diego State, but this time around the Mountain West should get its champion in. Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State will all be hovering around the Pac-12's No. 5 bowl slot.

Sheraton Hawaii
Honolulu, HI Aloha Stadium
Mountain West vs. C-USA 
Ridiculously Early Call: Nevada vs. Southern Miss
Top Three Other Options: 1) East Carolina, 2) Tulsa, 3) Air Force

WHY? Can Southern Miss go from 0-12 to bowl eligibility? It's possible with a decent team returning and a new coaching staff, but Conference USA shouldn't have any problems finding a team to take the spot with Tulane, UTEP and UAB all with the potential to get to six wins. San Jose State, San Diego State and Air Force should all be in the race for the fun trip to Hawaii.

AdvoCare V100 Independence
Shreveport, LA Independence Stadium
ACC No. 7 vs. SEC
Ridiculously Early Call: Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss
Top Three Other Options: 1) Mississippi State, 2) Virginia, 3) Auburn

WHY? The winner of the Egg Bowl is the most likely SEC team, but Arkansas or Auburn could be in the hunt. The ACC will have a few teams looking for a home with Wake Forest, Virginia and others possibly fighting for one of the league's last remaining openings.

Little Caesars Pizza
Detroit, MI Ford Field
Big Ten No. 8 vs. MAC No. 2 
Ridiculously Early Call: Bowling Green vs. Pitt*
Top Three Other Options: 1) Toledo, 2) Northern Illinois, 3) Ohio

WHY? The Big Ten probably won't be even close to having enough eligible teams, and the ACC will have a tough time finding homes for all of its bowl eligible teams. There aren't enough going to be any bowl openings anywhere else, so while going to Detroit might not be ideal, but Pitt, Wake Forest and Syracuse could all be searching for a place to land.

Charlotte, NC Bank of America Stadium
ACC No. 5 vs. Big East No. 3 
Ridiculously Early Call: Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Top Three Other Options: 1) North Carolina, 2) NC State, 3) Rutgers

WHY? This could be a wildly entertaining bowl if it's the Hokies and Bearcats. Rutgers and Louisville will also be in the running, while North Carolina and NC State are natural options.

Washington, DC RFK Stadium
C-USA vs. ACC No. 8 
Ridiculously Early Call: Virginia vs. Marshall
Top Three Other Options: 1) Wake Forest, 2) East Carolina, 3) Maryland

WHY? This could get a little bit tricky for the ACC. It should have its pick from a few bowl eligible teams, and it would probably like it if Maryland was eligible or if Virginia Tech was mediocre, but Virginia or Wake Forest will likely slide in. Marshall is around 400 miles away and would bring a decent fan base. 

Way--WAY-Too-Early Bowl Expectations
- Part One - The December bowls
- Part Two - The rest of the non-BCS games
- Part Three - The BCS bowls