Preview 2010 - Way Too Early Bowl Predictions
TCU QB Andy Dalton & OSU QB Terrelle Pryor
TCU QB Andy Dalton & OSU QB Terrelle Pryor
Posted May 4, 2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know how silly it is to come up with bowl projections in early May, but it's always goofy fun to look at the possibilities. Taking geography, common sense, and the tie-ins into account, here's one likely scenario for how the 2010-2011 bowl season might look.

Preview 2010

Way-Too-Early Bowl Picks

- Part Two (including the BCS) 

It's May, so let's get a few things out of the way before proceeding with the goofy and totally ridiculous exercise to get the fires burning in the off-season. (What else are you going to do ... baseball?)

First, this is a nearly-impossible puzzle to put together correctly in the first week of December with all the inside information possible, much less now, and there will be changes in the bowl tie-ins, the seedings, and the conference pecking order before the dust settles at the end of the season. Some of the bowls aren't even sure 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 the Big 12 and Big East, might get shut out due to a lack of at-large bids available. 

Finally, don't yell at us if you don't like where your team is predicted to go. This will all likely change this before the season starts and will be updated every week throughout the year. 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 year goes on.

A few 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, Fiesta, Sugar in the selection process.
2) Notre Dame can take the Big East's slot in the Champs Sports Bowl, so someone is going to get left out between Cincinnati, Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida.
3) Some bowls ignore the final standings as far as the seedings and pairings. Again, geography is a big deal.

December 18, 2010 Albuquerque, NM
New Mexico Bowl
Mountain West No. 5 vs. WAC
Way Too Early Projection: San Diego State vs. Nevada
WHY? Colorado State might be here instead of San Diego State, but the Rams play Nevada on September 11th. The Emerald Bowl will want Fresno State, who's the better fit here, so Nevada will try to finally crack the run of four straight bowl losses.

December 18, 2010 Boise, ID
Roady's Humanitarian Bowl 5:30 pm ESPN
WAC No.1 or No. 2 vs. MAC No. 3
Way Too Early Projection: Boise State vs. Central Michigan
WHY? Boise State will be wanted by several other bowls, but there aren't a lot of fits with so many automatic tie-ins. This is assuming an 11-1 Bronco team loses to Virginia Tech to start the season, or else Nevada could end up here. Toledo might be the MAC fit if Boise State doesn't stay at home; the two play on October 9. 

December 18, 2010 New Orleans, LA
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl 9:00 pm ESPN
Sun Belt No. 1 vs. C-USA No. 5
Way Too Early Projection: Middle Tennessee vs. SMU
WHY? Troy or Arkansas State could represent the Sun Belt, and throw a dart to find the Conference USA team that'll end up here. This would be a blast of a game with plenty of offense.

December 21, 2010 St. Petersburg, FL
Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl 8:00 pm ESPN
Big East No. 5 vs. C-USA No. 2
Way Too Early Projection: South Florida vs. UCF
WHY? Will the bowl want USF at home in the first year under Skip Holtz, or will it go after Cincinnati or Rutgers? Tulsa is loaded, but Southern Miss, East Carolina, against Holtz, or UCF could easily be here.

December 22, 2010 Las Vegas, NV
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl 8:00 pm ESPN
Mountain West No. 1 vs. Pac 10 No. 4 or 5
Way Too Early Projection: Utah vs. Washington
WHY? The Utah/TCU loser will likely end up here, while Washington, UCLA, or Arizona are the three most possible candidates from the Pac 10.

December 23, 2010 San Diego, CA
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl 8:00 pm ESPN
Mountain West No. 2 vs. Navy (or WAC if Navy not eligible)
Way Too Early Projection: BYU vs. Navy
WHY? Navy gets the automatic bid by being bowl eligible, while BYU will likely be the No. 3 team in the Mountain West pecking order with the Utah/TCU winner in the BCS and the loser in the Las Vegas Bowl.

December 24, 2010 Honolulu, HI
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl 8:00 pm ESPN
C-USA No. 6 vs. WAC
Way Too Early Projection: Marshall vs. Hawaii
WHY? Hawaii will just barely sneak in to bowl eligibility and will be able to stay home, while Marshall, Southern Miss, or East Carolina are the likely options from C-USA.

December 26, 2010 Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Bowl ESPN or ESPN2
MAC No. 1 vs. Big Ten No. 8 (or Sun Belt if no Big Ten)
Way Too Early Projection: Temple vs. Arkansas State
WHY? Temple appears to be the star of the MAC this year, but Northern Illinois will be in the mix. The Big Ten has way too many tie-ins meaning a Sun Belt team with a  7-5 record or better, like Arkansas State, should make the trip.

December 27, 2010 Shreveport, LA
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl 4:00 pm ESPN
Mountain West No. 3 vs. ACC No. 7
Way Too Early Projection: Air Force vs. Boston College
WHY? Throw an ACC team at the wall and see if it sticks. Boston College should be around the seventh spot, while Air Force or BYU will make the most sense.

December 29, 2010 Washington, DC
EagleBank Bowl 2:30 pm ESPN
ACC No. 8 vs. C-USA No. 4
Way Too Early Projection: Maryland vs. Southern Miss
WHY? The bowl might end up take NC State, but getting a revived Maryland close to home makes too much sense. Southern Miss, East Carolina, or UCF could be the opponent.

December 29, 2010 Houston, TX
Texas Bowl 6:00 pm ESPN
Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 No. 5
Way Too Early Projection: Purdue vs. Texas A&M
WHY? The last of the Big Ten lot will be here, and that could be Indiana or Northwestern. The bowl would love to keep A&M close to home or else get Texas Tech.

December 29, 2010 San Antonio, TX
Valero Alamo Bowl 8:00 pm ESPN
Big 12 No. 2 or 3 vs. Pac 10 No. 2
Way Too Early Projection: Missouri vs. Oregon State
WHY? The bowl would love to take Texas A&M or Texas Tech, but Missouri will likely be the one in the right slot. Take your pick of Pac 10 teams, but it'll likely be the Oregon/Oregon State winner.

December 28, 2010 Orlando, FL
Champs Sports Bowl 6:30 pm ESPN
ACC No. 3 vs. Big East No. 2 or Notre Dame
Way Too Early Projection: Miami vs. Notre Dame   
WHY? The Canes will be wanting more going into the season than a return trip to where they lost to Wisconsin last year. Notre Dame would be a great option even though the record won't be worthy compared to a strong Pitt team.

Date TBA El Paso, TX
Brut Sun Bowl  
ACC No. 4 vs. Pac 10 No. 4
Way Too Early Projection: Georgia Tech vs. California
WHY? There could be any one of nine Pac 10 teams up for this slot, while Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Clemson will probably be around the No. 4 seed in the ACC.

December 30, 2010 Fort Worth, TX
Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl 12:00 pm ESPN
C-USA No. 3 vs. Mountain West No. 4 (or Army if eligible before Navy game and there's no C-USA or M-West team)
Way Too Early Projection: East Carolina vs. Colorado State
WHY? Air Force always makes sense from the Mountain West, while Colorado State or San Diego State could get the nod. Take your pick of Conference USA teams with Southern Miss, UCF, and Tulsa all in the mix.

 December 30, 2010 New York, NY
New Era Pinstripe Bowl 3:00 pm ESPN
Big East No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 6
Way Too Early Projection: Rutgers vs. Kansas
WHY? The Kansas-Kansas State winner might get the call, and Colorado will have a shot. Rutgers would be the natural geographic tie-in.

December 30, 2010 Nashville, TN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl 6:30 pm ESPN
ACC No. 6 vs. SEC No. 7
Way Too Early Projection: Clemson vs. Ole Miss
WHY? Tennessee could stay close to home and Kentucky is always a fit. NC State or Georgia Tech could be here instead of the Tigers.

December 30, 2010 San Diego, CA
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl 7:00 pm ESPN
Big Ten No. 5 vs. Pac 10 No. 3
Way Too Early Projection: Michigan vs. Oregon
WHY? How much would the bowl love to get Michigan? It would be a homecoming for Wolverine QB Tate Forcier (who's from the area), while Oregon could finish anywhere in the top three.

- Part Two (including the BCS)