It's safe to say that we all expected Northern Illinois to get another nice bump from the BCS computers this week after their victory at Toledo.
It's also safe to say that we (or I, anyway) did not anticipate that they would receive such a bump that they would be in the top 10 of every BCS computer ranking and that they would vault Fresno State in the BCS standings.
Now that those events have, in fact, taken place, it's prudent to update our MAC bowl projections.
The biggest change, obviously, is that everyone gets bumped up the ladder. However, it does not mean that the MAC will get an extra team. Rather, the dominoes outside of the MAC's primary and secondary bowl agreements will fall somewhat differently. Unfortunately for Central Michigan, they will still likely be on the outside looking in.
Here are our new projections:
BCS Fiesta Bowl: Northern Illinois (vs. Oklahoma State)
Little Caesars Bowl: Bowling Green (vs. Pittsburgh*)
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Ball State (vs. Western Kentucky)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo (vs. San Diego State)
Poinsettia Bowl: Toledo (vs. Boise State)
BBVA Compass Bowl: Ohio (vs. Middle Tennessee State)
* - replacement for Big Ten team)
Eligible but no bowl: Central Michigan
As you can see, the teams are shuffled around a bit, and one of the opponents are different. I've moved Toledo to the Poinsettia because the MAC, Mountain West, and the bowl itself are going to all want a marquee team to go up against someone like Boise State. I also don't believe that the GoDaddy.com Bowl (which has second selection) will pass up Ball State and Keith Wenning.
Meanwhile, if the Little Caesars Bowl can't get Northern Illinois, I believe it will want a local team for its final game (like it got with Central Michigan last year). Bowling Green would fit that bill perfectly. As for Buffalo, this means that they'll probably get stuck out in Boise. While it would be nice for them to get to play in the Pinstripe, it doesn't appear that it would happen if NIU makes the BCS. Now, I have placed Notre Dame in the Pinstripe. Ohio remains in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
As for the changed opponent, the Mountain West will be able to fill all of its bowl obligations if Fresno State does not make it into the BCS. So, instead of Buffalo facing a replacement (probably Washington State), they'll get San Diego State out of the MWC instead. I should also note that the Little Caesars Bowl could end up with a Sun Belt team instead of Pittsburgh. If that happens, the matchup would probably be Bowling Green against Arkansas State.
Once again, here's our (revised) projections for the entire bowl lineup:
New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs Louisiana-Lafayette
Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs UCLA
New Mexico Bowl: UNLV vs Arizona
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs San Diego State
Beef O'Bradys Bowl: Houston vs North Texas
Hawaii Bowl: Florida Atlantic vs Utah State
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green
Poinsettia Bowl: Toledo vs Boise State
Military Bowl: Maryland vs Marshall
Texas Bowl: Michigan vs Kansas State
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Brigham Young vs Washington
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs Georgia Tech
Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs Miami-Florida
Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs Notre Dame
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Iowa vs Texas Tech
Holiday Bowl: Texas vs Oregon
Armed Forces Bowl: Navy vs Colorado State
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs USC
Music City Bowl: North Carolina vs Vanderbilt
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Boston College vs Washington State
Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Arizona State
Liberty Bowl: East Carolina vs Mississippi
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs Georgia
Gator Bowl: Minnesota vs South Carolina
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Rice vs Texas State
Outback Bowl: Nebraska vs Missouri
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs Texas A&M
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Stanford
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs Northern Illinois
Sugar Bowl: Central Florida vs Auburn
Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Louisiana State
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs Michigan State
BBVA Compass Bowl: Middle Tennessee State vs Ohio
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Ball State vs Western Kentucky
BCS Championship Game: Florida State vs Alabama