2011 Bowl Projections, Week 12: New Les Miles Vs. Old Les Miles Vs. Chaos

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 10: Members of the University of Houston Cougars gather at midfield prior to a game against the Tulane Green Wave being held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 10, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Projecting bowl matchups following Boise State's defeat to TCU. Houston now reaches a BCS bowl, and LSU and Oklahoma State fight it out for the national title.

Three Saturdays remain in college football's regular season, but while we were anticipating chaos and BCS Armageddon a month ago, we are now resigned to a simple fact: if LSU and Oklahoma State win out, they are playing in the national title game.

Sure, there are some roadblocks along the way -- LSU still has to face a top 10 (if slightly overrated) Arkansas team and, potentially, a smoking hot Georgia team in the SEC title game. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, will have two weeks to prepare for (and overthink) the Bedlam battle to end all Bedlam battles on December 3. Plus, they must overcome some potential Tessitore magic this Friday night when they face Iowa State in Ames; seemingly every Friday night ESPN game Joe Tessitore does, ends up exciting and close.

Indeed, tests remain for both schools, but if they win, they're in.

@Year2 The only ones who can save us from chaos are Les Miles and Mike Gundy. Pause a minute and think about that.    

Last week's momentum-based projections had Oregon beating Stanford, Oklahoma beating Oklahoma State, and an epic logjam emerging in regard to who would meet LSU in the national title game. This week's momentum rankings, however, make things slightly easier. Oklahoma State's 66-6 massacre of Texas Tech gave them just enough juice to overcome Oklahoma; they are now projected to beat the Sooners by 0.2 points. So instead of trying to figure out who would make the title game among 11-1 Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma teams, it's easy. Les Miles' team will face Les Miles' former team for the '11 title. The mind reels reading that sentence.

Other interesting tidbits stemming from this week's projections:

  • Cincinnati is still projected to win out, beating Rutgers by one points, Syracuse by three and UConn by nine. That will obviously be a bit more difficult with Munchie Legaux at quarterback instead of Zach Collaros.
  • Houston benefits enormously from Boise State's loss. They are 11th in the BCS standings, and selection procedures say you have to be 12th or better to receive an automatic BCS bid. They're in, as are ACC champion Virginia Tech, Big East champion Cincinnati, Big Ten champion Wisconsin and Pac-12 champion Oregon. That leaves three at-large spots. An 11-1 Alabama squad gets one, as does 10-2 Oklahoma. The final spot, then, would likely to go either 11-1 Stanford, 11-1 Boise State or 10-2 Michigan. I went with Stanford below, though none would really surprise me.
  • With the Sugar Bowl presumably selecting 11-1 Alabama as its replacement for LSU and the Fiesta Bowl likely going with 10-2 Oklahoma, that leaves Stanford to the Fiesta and Houston/Cincy for Sugar and Orange.
  • Poor Boise State falls from the BCS to a potential Nevada rematch thanks to the fact that they still cannot find a kicker.
  • Exciting Matchups: All BCS games (sans Orange), BYU-SMU, Toledo-Louisiana Tech (Toledo-Anybody would make this list), Kansas State-Arkansas, Baylor-Arizona State, San Diego State-Miami, Florida State-Notre Dame.
  • My God, I Don't Want To Watch This One: Virginia-Mississippi State, Pitt-Marshall, Nebraska-Auburn.
Date Bowl Team Team
17-Dec Gildan New Mexico Wyoming (8-4) Northwestern (6-6)
17-Dec Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Toledo (8-4) Louisiana Tech (7-5)
17-Dec R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Air Force (7-5) Arkansas State (10-2)
20-Dec Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Pittsburgh (6-6) Marshall (6-6)
21-Dec SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl Boise State (11-1) Nevada (8-4)
22-Dec Maaco Bowl Las Vegas TCU (10-2) California (6-6)
24-Dec Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl Hawaii (7-6) Central Florida (6-6)
26-Dec Advocare Independence Bowl San Diego State (8-4) Miami (6-6)
27-Dec Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Purdue (7-5) Ohio (9-4)
27-Dec Belk Bowl North Carolina (7-5) West Virginia (8-4)
28-Dec Military Bowl Wake Forest (7-5) Navy (6-6)
28-Dec Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl Texas A&M (7-5) Washington (8-4)
29-Dec Champs Sports Bowl Florida State (9-3) Notre Dame (8-4)
29-Dec Valero Alamo Bowl Baylor (8-4) Arizona State (8-5)
30-Dec Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl BYU (9-3) SMU (7-5)
30-Dec New Era Pinstripe Bowl Iowa (6-6) Rutgers (8-4)
30-Dec Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Virginia (7-5) Mississippi State (6-6)
30-Dec Insight Bowl Texas (7-5) Penn State (9-3)
31-Dec Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Missouri (7-5) Illinois (7-5)
31-Dec Hyundai Sun Bowl Georgia Tech (8-4) Utah (8-4)
31-Dec AutoZone Liberty Bowl Southern Miss (11-2) Louisville (6-6)
31-Dec Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl N.C. State (6-6) UCLA (6-6)
31-Dec Chick-fil-A Bowl Florida (6-6) Clemson (10-3)
2-Jan TicketCity Bowl Ohio State (6-6) Tulsa (8-4)
2-Jan Outback Bowl Michigan State (10-3) South Carolina (10-2)
2-Jan Capital One Bowl Michigan (10-2) Georgia (10-3)
2-Jan Progressive Gator Bowl Nebraska (9-3) Auburn (7-5)
6-Jan AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Kansas State (9-3) Arkansas (10-2)
7-Jan BBVA Compass Bowl South Florida (8-4) Vanderbilt (6-6)
8-Jan GoDaddy.com Bowl Northern Illinois (10-3) UL-Lafayette (8-4)
2-Jan Rose Bowl Wisconsin (11-2) Oregon (12-1)
2-Jan Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma (10-2) Stanford (11-1)
3-Jan Allstate Sugar Bowl Alabama (11-1) Houston (13-0)
4-Jan Discover Orange Bowl Virginia Tech (12-1) Cincinnati (10-2)
9-Jan Allstate BCS National Championship Game LSU (13-0) Oklahoma State (12-0)
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