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Bowl projections: Baylor, Oregon fall out of BCS after losses

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press
Clint Chelf and Oklahoma State could be Fiesta Bowl-bound after upsetting Baylor last Saturday in Stillwater.

Here are our latest bowl projections for the last season with the BCS in place.

The projection is that the ACC, Big Ten and SEC will have two teams apiece in the BCS and that Northern Illinois will get a second consecutive BCS berth, too.

Northern Illinois is unbeaten and No. 14 in this week's BCS standings. BCS rules stipulate that if a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference (Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or finishes in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and is ranked ahead of a league champ from an automatic qualifying conference, the non-AQ team is guaranteed a spot. NIU is five spots ahead of UCF -- the front-runner in the AAC -- this week.

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Fresno State also is unbeaten and two spots behind Northern Illinois. As with NIU, Fresno should be favored in the rest of its games, and the Bulldogs could end up getting that BCS spot.

As for other potential BCS at-large teams, there are a lot this week, among them, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

A question with Wisconsin is whether the Badgers -- who are 15th in the BCS standings this week -- can move high enough to be eligible. At-large candidates must have at least nine victories and finish in the top 14 in the final BCS standings. The Badgers play Penn State on Saturday. Clemson plays South Carolina on Saturday, and the winner remains in the at-large chase. Oregon's chances took a huge hit with last week's loss to Arizona; the Ducks must beat Oregon State this weekend and have some other potential at-large teams lose. Baylor needs to win out. Oklahoma needs to beat Oklahoma State next week to have a shot. Michigan State must beat Minnesota this week to remain in the hunt; the same with Missouri against Texas A&M. Auburn can lose to Alabama and still have a chance, though a blowout loss to the Tide would hurt.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 8, and all the bowl pairings will be announced that night.

Remember that a bowl's tie-in with a league doesn't necessarily mean it will get the third- or fourth-, etc., place team from the league; instead, it means it gets the third or fourth, etc., selection from that league.

BCS MATCHUPS

ROSE BOWL

Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 5 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS/Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12
Projection: Ohio State vs. Stanford
Note: The Big Ten and Pac-12 champs head to Pasadena automatically if they are not in the title game.

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FIESTA BOWL

Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS/Big 12 vs. BCS
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois
Note: The Big 12 champ is contractually obligated to the Fiesta if it is not in the national title game. This season, the Fiesta gets the last pick among the at-large teams. Fresno State and Northern Illinois have legit shots at finishing unbeaten; if either gets into the BCS automatically, it would be the final at-large pick.

SUGAR BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS/SEC vs. BCS
Projection: Auburn vs. UCF
Note: The SEC champ is contractually obligated to the Sugar if it is not in the national title game. But the Sugar always wants an SEC team even if the champ is in the title game. The Sugar gets the second pick among the at-large teams. UCF is the pick to win the AAC's automatic bid.

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ORANGE BOWL

Site: Miami
Date: Jan. 3
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS/ACC vs. BCS
Projection: Clemson vs. Wisconsin
Note: If the ACC champ is not in the BCS championship game, it is contractually obligated to go to the Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl gets the first pick among the at-large teams. If Notre Dame is eligible for a BCS bowl, it will be picked. But the Irish "qualifying" for a BCS bid is an extreme long shot; the Irish must beat Stanford on Saturday, then do a lot of praying that a lot of teams lose.

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 6
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2
Projection: Alabama vs. Florida State
Note: Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher -- or the mentor vs. his protégé. Florida State shouldn't be tested the rest of the way. The same can't be said for Alabama.

THE OTHER BOWLS

NEW MEXICO BOWL

Site: Albuquerque
Date: Dec. 21
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West No. 4/5 vs. Pac-12 No. 7
Projection: Colorado State vs. Washington State

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LAS VEGAS BOWL

Site: Las Vegas
Date: Dec. 21
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Mountain West No. 1 vs. Pac-12 No. 5
Projection: Fresno State vs. USC
Note: Fresno State could finish unbeaten but not in the BCS. That would make this an especially intriguing matchup.

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL

Site: Boise, Idaho
Date: Dec. 21
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Mountain West No. 6
Projection: Central Michigan vs. UNLV
Note: UNLV is bowl eligible, a feat for a team that had won just six games combined in the past three seasons. CMU must beat Eastern Michigan to become bowl-eligible; CMU also needs some other things to fall into place to have a legit shot at getting a bid.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Dec. 21
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Tulane vs. Western Kentucky
Note: Tulane hasn't been bowling since 2002 and has been to just two bowls in the past 25 seasons. This would be a home game for Tulane.

BEEF 'O' BRADY'S BOWL

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Date: Dec. 23
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC No. 6 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Ohio vs. Middle Tennessee State
Note: Projection is the AAC won't fill its slot (that won't be the case if SMU beats Houston this weekend). The bowl has a secondary agreement with the MAC.

HAWAII BOWL

Site: Honolulu
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West No. 4/5
Projection: Rice vs. Boise State
Note: It makes sense to pick a Mountain West team that didn't play a regular-season game at Hawaii, and Boise State fits that description.

LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL

Site: Detroit
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 6 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 8 vs. Mid-American
Projection: Pittsburgh vs. Toledo
Note: Projection is Big Ten won't be able to fill its slot.

POINSETTIA BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Army if bowl-eligible vs. Mountain West No. 2
Projection: Bowling Green vs. San Diego State
Note: Army won't be eligible; the bowl has a secondary agreement with the MAC. This would be a home game for San Diego State.

MILITARY BOWL

Site: Annapolis, Md.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 8 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Maryland vs. Marshall

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TEXAS BOWL

Site: Houston
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 6 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 No. 6
Projection: Michigan vs. Texas Tech

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL

Site: San Francisco
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BYU if bowl-eligible vs. Pac-12 No. 6
Projection: BYU vs. Washington
Note: BYU is eligible and already locked in. Washington coach Steve Sarkisian is a BYU alum.

PINSTRIPE BOWL

Site: New York
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: AAC No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 7
Projection: Cincinnati vs. Notre Dame
Note: The Big 12 won't be able to fill its slot. Notre Dame doesn't have a fallback if it doesn't make the BCS, and a bowl in Yankee Stadium would be a nice landing spot for the Irish. An extra storyline: Irish coach Brian Kelly would be going against his former team.

BELK BOWL

Site: Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 3:20 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC No. 3 vs. ACC No. 5
Projection: Houston vs. North Carolina

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RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC No. 2 vs. ACC No. 3
Projection: Louisville vs. Miami
Note: This would be an intriguing matchup. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater is a Miami native who originally committed to the Hurricanes before reneging and signing with the Cardinals.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL

Site: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 28
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 4
Projection: Nebraska vs. Texas
Note: Trust us -- if this indeed is the matchup, folks in the Big 12 office will laugh for weeks because Nebraska didn't like how much influence Texas wielded in the Big 12.

ARMED FORCES BOWL

Site: Fort Worth, Texas
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 11:45 a.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West No. 3 vs. Navy if bowl-eligible
Projection: Utah State vs. Navy
Note: Navy is eligible and locked in.

MUSIC CITY BOWL

Site: Nashville
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 3:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 6 vs. SEC No. 7
Projection: Boston College vs. Georgia

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ALAMO BOWL

Site: San Antonio
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 3 vs. Pac-12 No. 2
Projection: Oklahoma vs. Oregon

HOLIDAY BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 5 vs. Pac-12 No. 3
Projection: Kansas State vs. Arizona State

ADVOCARE V100 BOWL

Site: Shreveport, La.
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 7 vs. SEC No. 10
Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Arizona
Note: This formerly was known as the Independence Bowl. The SEC won't fill its slot.

SUN BOWL

Site: El Paso, Texas
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 2 p.m., CBS
Matchup: ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 4
Projection: Duke vs. UCLA

Ohio State Buckeyes players gather in the center of the field before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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LIBERTY BOWL

Site: Memphis
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA No. 1 vs. SEC No. 8 or 9/AAC No. 6
Projection: East Carolina vs. Vanderbilt

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL

Site: Atlanta
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5
Projection: Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Site: Dallas
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPNU
Matchup: Big Ten No. 7 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Arkansas State vs. North Texas
Note: The Big Ten won't fill its slot. North Texas hasn't been in a bowl since 2004. UNT is in Denton, a Dallas suburb.

GATOR BOWL

Site: Jacksonville
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN2
Matchup: Big Ten No. 5 vs. SEC No. 6
Projection: Minnesota vs. Ole Miss
Note: Minnesota hasn't played in a January bowl since the 1961 season. Presumably, Gophers fans would buy a lot of tickets, if for no other reason than to get out of Minnesota in late December/early January.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC No. 2
Projection: Michigan State vs. LSU

OUTBACK BOWL

Site: Tampa
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC No. 3/4
Projection: Iowa vs. Texas A&M
Note: Iowa almost certainly has to win at Nebraska on Friday to have a shot at this bid.

COTTON BOWL

Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 3
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m., Fox
Matchup: Big 12 No. 2 vs. SEC No. 3/4
Projection: Baylor vs. Missouri

BBVA COMPASS BOWL

Site: Birmingham, Ala.
Date: Jan. 4
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC No. 5 vs. SEC No. 8/9
Projection: Rutgers vs. Buffalo
Note: Projection is the SEC won't fill its slot; the bowl has a secondary agreement with the MAC.

GODADDY.COM BOWL

Site: Mobile, Ala.
Date: Jan. 5
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Ball State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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