With a little over a month left in the regular season, the bowl picture is quickly starting to take shape. Jason Kirk of SB Nation has redone his bowl projections following the conclusion of Week 9 and after the Battle of I-75, we have some shakeup in the MAC bowl projections.
Most notably No. 17 Northern Illinois is still not projected to crash the BCS. Fresno State is Kirk's pick to go to the Fiesta Bowl, while UCF makes the Sugar Bowl according to his most current projections. That means NIU would need to finish No. 12 or higher in the final BCS Standings, and have Fresno State slip up at some point in order to get an automatic bid. He does still project NIU to win the MAC Championship game and go to the GoDaddy Bowl, with a likely matchup vs. Middle Tennessee. Meanwhile it appears that Ball State is his pick to finish second overall in the MAC, despite not making the MAC Championship game, and has the Cardinals playing Western Kentucky in the GoDaddy Bowl.
After losing to Toledo Saturday, the Bowling Green Falcons are no longer projected to finish second in the MAC, and slip to a projected bowl appearance in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl vs. Rice. Buffalo, it appears, is his pick to win the MAC East, and will take a trip to Idaho to play NOBODY in the Potato Bowl. Why no projected opponent? Because as Kirk writes, he just isn't sure who else will be bowl eligible.
Ohio is projected to get an invite to the Heart of Dallas to take on Texas State, and Toledo is projected to take on Sand Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl, which would basically be a home game for the Aztecs.
Of course the MAC East teams (Buffalo, Bowling Green and Ohio) all play each other in the final weeks, which could result in these projections flipping drastically. Out West, Northern Illinois still has to play Ball State and Toledo, which have already played each other (the Cardinals won). If the Huskies can win both, and blow out EMU and UMass along the way, plus beat the likely MAC East champion Buffalo Bulls, they could still get into a BCS Bowl as it's likely they'd be relatively high in the BCS rankings by then. So the point is take all of these projections with a grain of salt.
Here's the full breakdown of the projections:
|GoDaddy (Mobile, AL)||Jan. 5, 2014||Ball State vs. Western Kentucky|
|Hear of Dallas||Jan. 1, 2014||Texas State vs. Ohio|
|Little Caesars (Detroit)||Dec. 26, 2013||Northern Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee|
|Poinsettia (San Diego)||Dec. 26, 2013||San Diego State vs. Toledo|
|Beef O'Brady's (St. Pete)||Dec. 23, 2013||Bowling Green vs. Rice|
|Idaho Potato (Boise, ID)||Dec. 21, 2013||Buffalo vs. ???|
What are your thoughts? Do you think NIU wins out and manages to slip in, or do the Huskies fall somewhere along the way. What about in the East, do you see the Bulls taking the Crown, or will Ohio and Bowling Green have something to say about that? Let me know below: