Summer Bowl Forecast
Predicting - as best we can - who's postseason bound, and where
June 27, 2007
By Adam Caparell
Adam is CSTV.com's football editor and national football writer.
Slotting 64 teams into 32 bowl games, while taking into account bowl-tie ins, projected finishes in each respective conference and all the other criteria that goes into determining who's a bowl team and who isn't, is a whole lot easier said than done.
But nonetheless, here's an early stab at projecting who will be bowling this December and next January.
And one other thing to keep in mind: opinions are subject to change. That means when we finally roll out our conference preview and predictions right before the season kicks off, don't be surprised if things look a little different. After all, we haven't even hit July yet.
BCS Championship Game:
Trojans have the best team in the nation and the Hokies are the best team - far and away - in an ACC that won't be nearly as difficult to navigate through as in year's past. They get in over teams like
With no other ACC team eligible for a BCS bowl, the Orange Bowl looks to fill an available slot with the first choice based on this year's selection rotation. Orange Bowl officials get lucky with
Rose - Cal vs.
USC wins the Pac-10 for the sixth straight year and
Sugar - LSU vs. Michigan
LSU wins the SEC, defeating
The Other 27
Auburn falls short in the SEC West once again to LSU and thanks to a few losses finds itself on the outside looking in of a BCS bowl. But they get a shot at an Ohio State team who comes in fourth in the Big Ten but gets the bump up thanks to two Big Ten teams earning a BCS bid - and it's brand name.
The Cornhuskers are in this game by virtue of finishing second in the Big 12 Championship Game thanks to the weak Big 12 North. Still not a powerful
Gator - Florida State vs.
The Big East loses its entrant - and Notre Dame isn't going to come close to justifying earning a bid into this game - so by default the Big 12 gets slotted in there to replace them. It's a rematch of the 2001 national championship game that saw the Sooners beat the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.
Capital One - Penn State vs.
The Nittany Lions and Bulldogs square off in a matchup of two very good defenses in this New Year's Day bowl. The only other time these two played each other was the 1983 Sugar Bowl.
Armed Forces - BYU vs.
Purdue should quietly have a solid season in the Big Ten thanks to an easy September schedule. They'll get to enjoy the fruits of a winning season by facing pass happy Mike Leach and the Red Raiders all-out offense.
One of the biggest questions heading into the season is just how good will the Crimson Tide be? Well, without Nick Saban, they were going to be good enough to make a bowl game. With Saban, they're guaranteed to make a bowl game, albeit one in
Third bowl in a row for the Scarlet Knights, who get to take on the team Greg Schiano was rumored to be a candidate for after the `Canes jettisoned Larry Coker. Two teams with questionable quarterbacks, but plenty of other talent. Almost as many kids from
Alamo - Illinois vs.
Not many are giving the Illini a chance in the Big Ten, but let's bank on them overachieving a little, and Juice Williams settling down at quarterback, to give Ron Zook his first taste of the postseason since he arrived in
It was either
Georgia Tech's going to feature a very good team but only manage a fourth-place finish in the conference, relegating the Yellow Jackets to Orlando where they take on Iowa, who slotted up a notch thanks to two Big Ten teams making the BCS.
It's another bowl game for the Terrapins and their underrated coach, Ralph Friedgen. They face Dennis Erickson's Sun Devils, who will make their fourth straight bowl game.
The Bruins laid an egg in their Emerald Bowl matchup with
The MAC winner traditionally goes to this bowl so give it to the Chippewas. We'll say the Big Ten can't fill its allotment of bowl eligible teams so you could see someone like a Big East team sneak in there and since Notre Dame is considered a Big East team when it comes to bowl selections, the Irish head off to
Yes, the Warriors have played in this game every year since its inception aside from 2005. But they're going to finish second to
The Bulls would rather not end up in
If New Mexico becomes eligible, you'd slot them in here. But it's not shaping up to be a year of postseason play for the Lobos. Therefore, the berth goes to
The Pac-10, a conference that doesn't get nearly enough credit for how good it is, will fill all its bowl tie-ins. Since TCU will likely fall short of its BCS aspirations, the Horned Frogs - being the top MWC team - earn a trip to Vegas for the first time in postseason play.
The Trojans figure to be the team to come out of the Sun Belt considering the success they've had the past few seasons. We'll tab SMU for the C-USA representation in this bowl. The Mustangs just missed out last year on earning their first bowl bid since 1984. This year they get it done.
Poinsettia - Navy vs.
If the Midshipmen are eligible, they'll be right here - they have an agreement with the