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Where do we bowl?

So our Orange gets to that magic six wins only to find out the ACC will probably not have an automatic bowl bid waiting for us. So could we be bowl eligible and not get a bowl invite? The short answer is yes, and frighteningly more possible than I first thought. Currently I count 77 bowl eligible teams (in addition to Rutgers, SMU, and South Alabama who have five wins with one game remaining next week, playing 2-9 USF, 10-1 UCF, and 8-3 UL-L respectively) competing for 70 bowl spots. Worst case scenario for Syracuse is all three of those teams win (especially so for Rutgers and SMU as they would fill the AAC's 5th and 6th bowl spots), and if that happens, the Orange's bowl chances may be in a bit of trouble. Here is my projection of the bowls based on bowl tie-ins and assuming there are no upsets in the Conference Championship Games (note the numbers in parentheses refer to the order teams are picked not their final standings in the conference):

BCS Games

National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn

Rose: Ohio State (Big 10 #1) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 #1)

Fiesta: Oklahoma State (Big 12 #1) vs. Northern Illinois (autobid)

Sugar: Alabama (SEC #1, at large) vs. UCF (AAC #1)

Fiesta: Clemson (ACC #1, at large) vs. Oregon (at large) [I gave Clemson the nod over Baylor and Michigan State because of the Orange Bowl's ACC relationship, Clemson's proximity, and large fan base. Clemson not being in the Orange Bowl would not hurt Syracuse's bowl chances as it would bump one ACC team into the non-assigned team pool, but open up a Big 10 or Big 12 bowl spot]

Non BCS Games

Alamo: Oklahoma (Big 12 #3) vs. Arizona State (Pac 12 #2)

Armed Forces Bowl: Navy (Independent) vs. Rice (C-USA #3)

BBVA Compass: Houston (AAC #5) vs. Mississippi (SEC #9)

Beef 'O' Brady's: SMU** (AAC #6) vs. Middle Tennessee State (C-USA #5)

Belk: Georgia Tech (ACC #5) vs. Cincinnati (AAC #3)

Buffalo Wild Wing: Texas (Big 12 #4) vs. Michigan (Big 10 #4)

Capital One: Michigan State (Big 10 #2) vs. South Carolina (SEC #2)

Chick-fil-A: Georgia (SEC #5) vs. Duke (ACC #2)

Cotton: Baylor (Big 12 #2) vs. Missouri (SEC #3)

Fight Hunger: BYU (Independent) vs. Washington (Pac-12 #6)

Gator: Nebraska (Big 10 #5) vs. Texas A&M (SEC #6)

GoDaddy.com: Ball State (MAC #1) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt #2)

Hawai'i: East Carolina (C-USA #2) vs. Utah State (MWC #4)

Heart of Dallas: Minnesota (Big 10 #7) vs. Texas-San Antonio (C-USA #4)

Holiday: Kansas State (Big 12 #5) vs UCLA (Pac 12 #3)

Idaho Potato: San Jose State (MWC #6) vs. Bowling Green State* (MAC #3)

Las Vegas: Fresno State (MWC #1) vs. Arizona (Pac 12 #5)

Liberty: Marshall (C-USA #1) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #8)

Military: Maryland (ACC #8) vs. North Texas (C-USA #6)

Music City: North Carolina (ACC #6) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC #7)

New Mexico: Boise State (MWC #4) vs. Oregon State (Pac #7)

Outback: Wisconsin (Big 10 #3) vs. LSU (SEC #4)

New Orleans: Tulane (C-USA #7) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt #1)

Russel Athletic: Virginia Tech (ACC #3) vs. Louisville (AAC #2)

Sun: Miami (ACC #4) vs. USC (Pac 12 #4)

Texas: Texas Tech (Big 12 #6) vs. Iowa (Big 10 #6)

Bowl that still need teams

Advocare V100: Boston College (ACC #7) vs. ?

Little Caesar's: SUNY-Buffalo* (MAC #2) vs. ?

Pinstripe: Rutgers** (AAC #4) vs. ?

Poinsettia: San Diego State (MWC #2) vs. ?

*-I originally had BGSU placed in the Little Caesar's Bowl and Buffalo in the Idaho Potato, but changed for match up purposes

**-If they win their next game

The Poinsettia Bowl may have a tie-in with the MAC if Army is not bowl eligible, but I was unable to determine that with any certainty. If so, Ohio would slide into that spot and that would leave only three spots left for all remaining teams. Syracuse would almost certainly not be place against Boston College in the Advocare V100 bowl either. So the remaining teams are:

Notre Dame

Syracuse

Pittsburgh

Washington State

Florida Atlantic

Toledo

Troy

Western Kentucky

Texas State

South Alabama**

Colorado State

Worst case is Notre Dame goes to the Pinstripe, and the Poinsettia having to take a MAC team. Assuming that a bowl will pick a power conference team over the MAC, Sun Belt, and MWC teams, that leaves two spots for SU, WSU, and Pitt. In that scenario, I would guess the Advocare V100 would take Washington State to avoid an all ACC affair and Pitt could go to the Little Caesar's leaving Syracuse at home. My guess though is if it can be worked out, Buffalo-Syracuse at the Little Caesar's Bowl is too intriguing of a match-up to pass up (to settle once and for all who is New York's Real College Team) and that is my bowl prediction. To avoid the possibility of Syracuse being left out though, make sure to be rooting for Houston against SMU (Houston should be the favorites in that game) and USF against SUNJ (though you should always be rooting against Rutgers).

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