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Bowl Projections - 16 November

There are quite a few changes in my projections for this week. For starters, the BCS conferences (except for the Big East, surprisingly) have bit off more than they can chew in terms of their bowl obligations for this season. That's right, it's time to get ready for multiple bids for the Sun Belt, including a projected Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Louisiana Tech Independence Bowl! Three BCS conference teams that I had in bowl games last week probably aren't going to make it. Auburn, Colorado, and Illinois each need to win their remaining game to get to six wins. The problem is, each game is on the road against stern opposition. The Tigers have the Iron Bowl, Colorado is at Nebraska, and the Illini head to Evanston to take on Northwestern.

The Motor City Bowl, the Illini's likely destination, has a deal with the Big East to fill an empty Big Ten slot. So, not-yet-eligible Rutgers fills that slot for now. (The Scarlet Knights face Army next week, so it's a safe-bet they get their sixth win next week.) Auburn and Colorado's situations leave the Independence Bowl in a lurch, as both those teams would slot there.

The Hawai'i and Texas Bowls also feature at-large teams this week, with UNLV filling in for the Pac-10 and Fresno State filling in for the Big 12. Florida Atlantic takes advantage of the Sun Belt's backup tie-in with the PapaJohn's Bowl, provided they win one of their last two to get to six wins.

While most league races are fairly straightforward, the ACC race is still mess. This week, I have Boston College in the Orange Bowl, but next week, it very well may be someone different. The Eagles control their own destiny in the Atlantic Division, as they face Maryland to wrap up the season. The same can be said for current division leader Maryland, who hosts FSU next week and goes to Boston on November 29. Miami plays at Georgia Tech Thursday to probably decide the Coastal Division. I say "probably" because I frankly have given up on the ACC and don't want to end up with a headache by spending more time on it.

Oklahoma is still in the #2 slot as I have no faith in the coaches' or Harris pollsters moving Texas ahead of Oklahoma, even though the Longhorns beat the Sooners on a neutral field, if OU beats Texas Tech next Saturday, as I predict.

Mock playoff projections will come sometime after the BCS Standings are released.