AP predicts college football bowl matchups
Published 2:46 am Thursday, December 4, 2008
Projecting the bowls can be a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a pair of scissors. You can make the pieces fit, but you’re also destined to have some in the wrong place.
The Bowl Championship Series pairings are announced Sunday, but if all goes according to plan — Southern California beats UCLA and Oklahoma beats Missouri in the Big 12 title game — college football fans will go to bed Saturday night knowing the matchups of the four big bowls and the BCS national championship game.
Assuming no big upsets, these spots are set:
Email newsletter signup
—SEC winner vs. Oklahoma in the BCS national championship game.
—USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
—ACC winner in the Orange Bowl.
With those teams locked in, here’s how the BCS selection process will go down:
—First pick, Sugar Bowl (which will lose the SEC champ and likely BCS standings No. 1 team to the championship game): SEC runner-up (at-large bid).
—Second pick, Fiesta Bowl (which would lose Big 12 champ and likely No. 2 in the standings, Oklahoma): Texas (at-large bid).
After replacement teams are chosen, the preset selection order starts:
—Third pick, Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State (at-large bid).
—Fourth pick, Sugar Bowl: Utah (automatic bid).
—Fifth pick, Orange: Cincinnati (automatic bid).
Some bids to the other bowls have already been handed out. A few more could come down in the next few days. Sunday a flood of games will be made official.
Making projecting tricky this season is three major conferences (SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10) don’t have enough six-win teams to fill spots, opening up space for more Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt teams.
Bowl organizers are not exactly lining up to get MAC and Sun Belt teams, but it’s a nice break for those conferences.
With that, here’s an educated guess (with an ‘x’ next to bids already made official) about which teams are going where:
x-Navy vs. Wake Forest
New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State vs. Fresno State
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl
South Florida vs. Memphis
Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. Arizona
New Orleans Bowl
Troy vs. x-Southern Miss
TCU vs. Boise State
Hawaii vs. Northern Illinois
Motor City Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Ball State
North Carolina vs. West Virginia
Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State vs. Wisconsin
California vs. Miami
Western Michigan vs. Louisiana Tech
Rutgers vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Northwestern vs. Missouri
Nevada vs. Maryland
Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
x-Rice vs. Notre Dame
Armed Forces Bowl
Air Force vs. Houston
Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
Music City Bowl
Vanderbilt vs. Virginia Tech
Kansas vs. Minnesota
South Carolina vs. x-Georgia Tech
LSU vs. Iowa
Capital One Bowl
Georgia vs. Michigan State
x-Clemson vs. Nebraska
USC vs. Penn State
Boston College vs. Cincinnati
Texas Tech vs. Mississippi
Kentucky vs. Tulsa
Alabama vs. Utah
Connecticut vs. Buffalo
Texas vs. Ohio State
East Carolina vs. Central Michigan
BCS National Championship
Florida vs. Oklahoma