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2014 MAC Football Bowl Projections: Week 12 Edition

The MAC didn't partake in "Separation Saturday." That doesn't mean that things haven't changed in the race for a bowl.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Weekday #MACtion is the best. Except when you have nothing to do on a Saturday. At that point, you're forced to resort to desperate measures.

If you decided to watch non-#MACtion football (the humanity!), then you would have noticed that the bowl pcture took a lot of dips and turns, creating a couple of interesting developments in terms of bowl tie-ins. Let's go through the conferences first by order of playoff participants.

SEC

Alabama won and Auburn lost, so it is more than likely Alabama will jump Auburn for a playoff spot, keeping the SEC at two playoff teams. Elsewhere in the conference, Mississippi State and Ole Miss won their match-ups, while LSU lost. This places the SEC at six bowl-eligible teams, with two teams one win away and one team two wins away.

ACC

Florida State survived Virginia to keep pace in the playoff race. Clemson, Duke, and Georgia Tech also won games on Saturday. The ACC has six bowl-eligible teams, one team one win away, and thanks to an astoundingly confusing Coastal Conference race, four teams two wins away.

Pac-12

Oregon, like Florida State, survived and advanced vs. a ranked Utah. The PAC-12 South Division is packed with bowl-eligible squads, such as UCLA, Arizona State, and Utah, with the North currently only having the Ducks and Washington eligible. They do hold two teams one win away, though.

B1G

Michigan State and Ohio State clashed and Ohio State emerged victorious, leaving a murky picture for the B1G's playoff hopes, especially after the Auburn loss and Oregon win. Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all won to bolster their schedules. The B1G carries five bowl-eligible teams, with three teams one win away, including the hapless Michigan.

Big XII

Baylor destroyed Oklahoma, TCU tamed the Wildcats, and West Virginia suffered a terrible loss to further jumble the XII picture, especially for a potential playoff spot. At current, there are five bowl-eligible teams, two teams one win away, and three teams two wins away.

Conference-USA

Marshall is still thundering over every team in their way this year, and are a perfect 9-0. The rest of the coference? One big question mark of blah. Louisiana Tech torched UAB to establish themselves in the C*USA conference race, and Rice won its sixth straight game to gain bowl-eligibility. Three teams (Marshall, Rice, LA Tech) are currently bowl-eligible, with three teams one win away and two teams two wins away.

American Athletic Conference

In their first year of non-BCS #AACtion, the American has found itself in the fun position of potentially eating itself alive. Only Memphis and East Carolina are eligible for a bowl, but there are four teams one win away. There is no room for mistakes from here on out.

Mountain West

A team not named Boise State is on top this season, as Colorado State has come out of nowhere to surprise everybody this season. Four of the five bowl-eligible teams are from the stacked Mountain Division and does include Boise State, Utah State, and Nevada. San Diego State is one win away, and two teams are two wins away.

Sun Belt

How about Georgia Southern though? In one of the more pleasant surprises of the year, they find themselves in the conference lead. However, they are not bowl eligible, being newly promoted from the FCS. Two teams are bowl-eligible. Two more teams, including App State, are one win away, while one team is two wins away.

Independents

Notre Dame lost. Big. BYU won. But so what? THEY HAVE THEIR OWN BOWL. Navy lost as well, so their rivalry game against Army just might determine their bowl fate.

***

So what does all of this mean exactly for the MAC? Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan are all bowl-eligible, with Ohio, Akron, and Ball State in the mix. This means the potential for seven bowl participants, but also as few as five. If there are seven, that leaves the door open for an at-large bid. Let's look at the tie-ins as they stand and fill them up with how I predict they will finish. These predictions are made by tie-ins, combined with money interests, storyline considerations, and geographical logistics.

Bowl Game MAC Representative Projected Opponent
GoDaddy Akron UL Lafayette
Camellia Bowling Green Arkansas State
Boca Raton Western Michigan Louisiana Tech
Bahamas Northern Illinois Marshall
Famous Idaho Potato Toledo Nevada

The Ohio Bobcats and Central Michigan Chippewas qualify, but are left out due to MAC backups not being utilized and no remaining at-large bids. Ball State will not attain bowl eligibility.