There are 35 bowls that need 70 teams this season. There are 120 full FBS members, and North Carolina, Penn State and Ohio State are winning teams that aren't eligible. That might make things dicey for the lower-tier bowls trying to fill their slots.
Enter the MAC.
The MAC has just three bowl tie-ins, and Northern Illinois, Kent State, Toledo, Ohio, Bowling Green and Ball State are all already eligible, and Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan and Central Michigan can still get there. That means a lot of smaller bowls will be checking out that #MACtion on Tuesdays and Wednesdays scouting some teams that can slide into the unclaimed slots that need to be filled.
The bowl eligible numbers always seem to work out. Perhaps a 4-5 team like Tennessee, which Dr. Saturday doesn't project being eligible in our first bowl projection of the season, ends up getting to six wins. Then again, maybe a 4-5 team like Utah that we project to become eligible falters down the stretch.
With the bowl season so bloated, the biggest challenge might be simply filling out the field without going to a FBS provisional school like Texas-San Antonio or some 5-7 team. The other is figuring out who will play in the first game that needs to be projected.
Right now we have Oregon joining Alabama in the BCS Championship Game. Kansas State has some tough dates left, and Notre Dame has a trip to USC remaining. Oregon has some tough tests too, but right now we're picking them to get through undefeated and end up second in the BCS standings.
But as we know, the entire bowl picture will change dramatically over the next few weeks, from the top all the way down. Here are this week's bowl projections (asterisks in the bowl projections indicate a fill-in team because that conference couldn't fill its tie-ins):
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