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Mid-American Conference Bowl Outlook: FINAL PROJECTIONS

This is it. Everything has played out, and now it's just a waiting game to see where your favorite outlet of #MACtion will go bowling (or if they'll go bowling at all).


Can you believe it? Over three months of college football has flown by, and now all of the games (well, except for Army-Navy) have been played. In just 12 hours or so, the bowl pairings will be announced.

And not that it's really relevant to the Mid-American Conference anymore, but the final EVER Bowl Championship Series standings will also be released just hours from now.

The three teams with questions remaining about bowl eligibility went 2-1 today. Southern Methodist lost at home to Central Florida, but Rutgers defeated South Florida at home and South Alabama routed Louisiana-Lafayette. These two victories mean that there will be 80 bowl-eligible teams in 2013 for 70 available bowl spots. In other words, ten teams will be disappointed and have no place to play a bowl game.

However, the MAC benefited from SMU's loss. The Mustangs' misfortune means that the Beef 'O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl will not fill its spot from the American Athletic Conference. Since the MAC has a secondary agreement with that game, the MAC will now have five bowl teams. Those teams will occupy the MAC's three primary bowls (Little Caesars Pizza,, Famous Idaho Potato), as well as two secondary bowls (Poinsettia, Beef 'O'Brady's).

With all that said, here are my final predictions. Apologies to the Ohio Bobcats and Central Michigan Chippewas.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl -- Bowling Green (vs. Pittsburgh*) Bowl -- Ball State (vs. ARKANSAS STATE)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl -- Buffalo (vs. Colorado State)
Poinsettia Bowl -- Northern Illinois (vs. Utah State)
Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl -- Toledo (vs. Florida Atlantic)
* -- Substitute for Big Ten team
Eligible teams with no bowl: Ohio, Central Michigan

You might notice that I've switched out NIU's opponent to Utah State. It appears that Fresno State will be invited to the Las Vegas Bowl. I've placed Toledo in the newly-available Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl against Conference USA member Florida Atlantic. However, I will say about all of these that I don't have specific inside information -- these projections are based on historical trends, ideas about what each bowl is looking for, and how the season has played out.

Honestly, NIU could end up anywhere other than Tampa. I think Buffalo could end up in Boise, San Diego or Tampa. Toledo could also go to Boise, San Diego or Tampa. I believe that BGSU and Ball State are most likely to end up in Detroit and Mobile in some order, but Ball State could also end up in San Diego, while there's an outside chance that BGSU could be relegated to Boise.

So, stay tuned. We'll have an announcement as soon as the word comes down about where each team is going and analyze the matchups as soon as they're available.

In the meantime, here are projections for the complete schedule of bowl games. Teams listed in all caps are already locked into that bowl game.

Bowl Team 1 Team 2
Las Vegas Bowl Fresno State Southern Cal
New Mexico Bowl Nevada-Las Vegas Arizona
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Buffalo (MAC)
Colorado State
Beef 'O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl Toledo (MAC)
Florida Atlantic
Hawaii Bowl East Caroina
San Diego State
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Bowling Green (MAC)
Poinsettia Bowl Northern Illinois (MAC)
Utah State
Military Bowl MARSHALL Maryland
Texas Bowl Minnesota Oregon State
Fight Hunger Bowl BRIGHAM YOUNG Washington
Belk Bowl CINCINNATI Georgia Tech
Russell Athletic Bowl LOUISVILLE Miami (Fla.)
Pinstripe Bowl NOTRE DAME
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Michigan Texas Tech
Holiday Bowl Kansas State
Armed Forces Bowl NAVY Boise State
Alamo Bowl Texas Oregon
Music City Bowl North Carolina Vanderbilt
Independence Bowl Boston College Washington State
Sun Bowl Virginia Tech Arizona State
Liberty Bowl RICE Mississippi
Chick-fil-A Bowl Duke Texas A&M
Gator Bowl Nebraska Georgia
Heart of Dallas Bowl North Texas Syracuse
Outback Bowl Iowa Missouri
Capital One Bowl Wisconsin South Carolina
Fiesta Bowl (BCS) BAYLOR
Central Florida
Sugar Bowl (BCS) Alabama Oklahoma
Orange Bowl (BCS) Clemson Ohio State
Cotton Bowl Oklahoma State
Louisiana State
BBVA Compass Bowl Houston Mississippi State Bowl ARKANSAS STATE
Ball State (MAC)
BCS National Championship Florida State Auburn