2011 Bowl Projections: Stellar Matchups And A Bama-Stanford Title Tilt

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field to face the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

What do advanced stats and good, old-fashioned momentum have to say about the upcoming bowl season? Get ready for a hard-hitting national title game.

November means three things: turducken, Daylight Savings Time and bowl projections. It is time for me to unveil Vol. 1 of my own projections, though as with my weekly Heisman Watch column, I wanted to do things a little bit different. Instead of just looking at the rest of the games, making quick predictions and plotting out the bowls, I wanted to use two fun little tools in the arsenal: Adj. Score and momentum.

I wanted to utilize Adj. Score in the same way I did for last week's Undefeateds column, and I wanted to more heavily weight recent results. Teams like TCU and Nebraska have built momentum in recent weeks while teams like Florida, Texas A&M and Tennessee are deflating. You can see the entire list of teams ranked by hotness (or notness) here. Some of the rankings are surprising (Army, UCF), some not so much (Alabama, Kansas).

As one would expect, this produces some interesting, unexpected results; however, the games at the top play out more or less as we would expect. Alabama is projected to defeat LSU at home, Oklahoma is projected (barely) to knock out Oklahoma State, and Stanford is projected sneak by Oregon in Palo Alto. That means we're looking at an Alabama-Stanford title game, one that would be incredibly hard-hitting and perhaps only marginally watchable.

 

Conference Title Games

ACC Championship: Clemson over Georgia Tech (56% chance of winning)
Big Ten Championship: Wisconsin over Michigan State (61%)
Conference USA Championship: Houston over Southern Miss (68%)
MAC Championship: Toledo over Ohio (73%)
Pac-12 Championship: Stanford over Arizona State (74%)
SEC Championship: Alabama over South Carolina (88%)

 

And for what it is worth, Alabama is currently so far ahead of everybody else that they are given a 93-percent chance of beating Stanford. Ouch. Go ahead and begin mentally preparing yourself for that 28-13 bearhug.

Date Bowl Team Team
Dec. 17  Gildan New Mexico Wyoming (6-6) UTEP (6-6)
Dec. 17  Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Ohio (8-5) Nevada (8-4)
Dec. 17  R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Southern Miss (11-2) Arkansas State (9-3)
Dec. 20  Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Rutgers (6-6) Central Florida (7-5)
Dec. 21  SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl Air Force (8-4) Utah State (6-6)
Dec. 22  Maaco Bowl Las Vegas TCU (9-3) Utah (6-6)
Dec. 24  Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl Hawaii (9-4) Marshall (6-6)
Dec. 26  Advocare Independence Bowl San Diego State (8-4) Virginia (6-6)
Dec. 27  Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Purdue (7-5) Northern Illinois (8-4)
Dec. 27  Belk Bowl North Carolina (8-4) South Florida (8-4)
Dec. 28  Military Bowl Miami (6-6) Eastern Michigan (7-5)
Dec. 28  Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl Baylor (8-4) Washington (8-4)
Dec. 29  Champs Sports Bowl Florida State (9-3) Notre Dame (8-4)
Dec. 29  Valero Alamo Bowl Kansas State (8-4) Arizona State (9-4)
Dec. 30  Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl BYU (8-4) Tulsa (7-5)
Dec. 30  New Era Pinstripe Bowl Temple (8-4) West Virginia (8-4)
Dec. 30  Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Wake Forest (7-5) Mississippi State (6-6)
Dec. 30  Insight Bowl Texas (7-5) Penn State (9-3)
Dec. 31  Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Missouri (7-5) Illinois (8-4)
Dec. 31  Hyundai Sun Bowl Georgia Tech (9-4) California (6-6)
Dec. 31  AutoZone Liberty Bowl Houston (12-1) Louisiana Tech (6-6)
Dec. 31  Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Florida International (6-6) UCLA (6-6)
Dec. 31  Chick-fil-A Bowl Auburn (7-5) Virginia Tech (10-2)
Jan. 2  TicketCity Bowl Ohio State (7-5) SMU (8-4)
Jan. 2  Outback Bowl Michigan (10-2) Georgia (10-2)
Jan. 2  Capital One Bowl Michigan State (10-3) South Carolina (11-2)
Jan. 2  Progressive Gator Bowl Nebraska (9-3) Florida (6-6)
Jan. 6  AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Texas A&M (8-4) Arkansas (9-3)
Jan. 7  BBVA Compass Bowl Connecticut (6-6) Tennessee (6-6)
Jan. 8  GoDaddy.com Bowl Toledo (10-3) UL-Lafayette (8-4)
Jan. 2  Rose Bowl Wisconsin (11-2) Oregon (10-2)
Jan. 2  Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma (11-1) Boise State (12-0)
Jan. 3  Allstate Sugar Bowl LSU (11-1) Oklahoma State (11-1)
Jan. 4  Discover Orange Bowl Clemson (11-2) Cincinnati (11-1)
Jan. 9  Allstate BCS National Championship Game Alabama (13-0) Stanford (13-0)
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