My Bowl Predictions as of 11/29/10:
Humanitarian (Nevada vs. Northern Ill.) [WAC #1 vs. MAC #1]
Las Vegas (Utah vs. Temple) [MWC #2 vs. MAC #4]
Little Ceasars (Louisville vs. Miami Oh.) [Big East #6 vs. MAC #2]
Sun (Miami FL vs. Ohio) [ACC #4 vs. MAC #3]
Go Daddy (Troy vs. Toledo) [SBC #2 vs. MAC #5]
-The MAC has 3 bowl games under contract and additionally a contractual backup agreement with the Papa John's bowl and the Dallas Football Classic for 2010. All of those agreements have to be filled with 7 win teams before the MAC can shop around any of its teams. The MAC has 5 teams with 7+ wins (NIU, Ohio, Temple, Toledo, Miami).
-Both the Papa Johns and Dallas Football Classic look to having all of their bowl slots filled. The SEC has qualified 10 schools as bowl eligible triggering a SEC-Big East matchup in the Papa John's. Unless the Big XII sends 2 schools to the BCS (very outside possibility with Nebraska-Okla State champ loser) it will have 8 teams to fill 8 bowl slots. The MAC is also only a backup for the Dallas Classic on the Big Ten side of the tie-in.
Projected Bowl Eligible At-Large Pool: Louisville, Toledo, Miami, Western Michigan
-NIU has entered into the top 25 of the polls this week and is now looking very much the part of a BCS buster caliber team. One of the highest ranked potential matchup for NIU is against Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl. As a member of the WAC with its 4 tie-ins, Nevada is not permitted to accept a bowl outside of the WAC bowl structure unless that that bowl is a BCS bowl. I'm projecting the NIU-Nevada matchup to happen at this juncture.
-Miami regarless of how they fair in the MAC Championship is looking at playing in the Go Daddy Bowl. Miami is the closest school to the GoDaddy and has history in Mobile. They will likely face Troy in Mobile which should be a winnable matchup for the Redhawks
-The Little Ceasar's Pizza bowl has the 1st pick of MAC teams. I'm projecting that NIU will win the MACC. The Big Ten will be unable to provide a team to the Pizza bowl with 2 schools going to the BCS. With NIU aiming to take on top 10 Boise State I project they'll skip the bowl in favor of Miami Oh. playing in the LCPB. I would guess that Louisville would be very interested in this game because of the short drive, winnable opponent and the ability to sell a lot of tickets for it.
-Ohio is my pick for MAC #3 by virtue of regular season victories over the Redhawks and Temple. I'm now projecting the Bobcats to lineup against Miami Fl in the Sun Bowl. The PAC-10 with 2 schools in the BCS and USC on probation is leaving a record 3 bowl openings in the Sun, Las Vegas, and Kraft Bowl. The ACC is the backup conference for the Kraft and Boston College will likely play there. The Las Vegas Bowl should also be open to a MAC team.
-Temple is 4th in line for the bowl selection and bearing upsets should be in a bowl game. The Las Vegas Bowl if open would make for an ideal destination for the Owls opposite a beatable Utah team. If the WAC can produce another bowl elgible team look for the Las Vegas game to be a Boise State-Utah matchup with NIU playing back in Detroit.
-The Go Daddy bowl is the least paying among the 3 MAC tie-ins. Toledo will likely face Troy in Mobile which should be a winnable matchup for the Rockets.
-Western Michigan finished 6-6 if they win their final game. WMU has a very remote less than 10% chance of making a bowl if Washington State upsets UWash in its final game. That would likely place WMU in the Las Vegas with Ohio and Temple in the Sun and Holiday bowls. Unreal and unlikely.