It's easy to throw bowl projections out there -- a lot of people do -- but more difficult to take your lumps when you get some of the selections wrong. I'll do that now, and Iowa fans are perfectly within their rights to laugh at me. This is based on the last edition of the bowl projections, and it's fair to point out that they went through a lot of evolution over the last several weeks.
BCS National Championship Game: Florida St. Seminoles vs.Auburn Tigers -- CHECK
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oklahoma Sooners -- CHECK
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Michigan St. Spartans -- CHECK
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. Central Florida Knights -- CHECK
Orange Bowl: Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers -- CHECK
This was really the easiest part of the exercise last night. No one really doubted that Auburn was going to go to the national championship game, three of teams were contractually obligated to their bowls and Alabama was virtually a lock for the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State and Clemson were also pretty certain of their Orange Bowl placement, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that UCF would go to the bowl with the last at-large pick. The only one that was even slightly iffy was Oklahoma. Still, it's nice to get them all right.
Non-BCS SEC Bowls
Capital One Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Wisconsin Badgers -- CHECK
Outback Bowl: LSU Tigers vs.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Iowa Hawkeyes
Cotton Bowl: Missouri Tigers vs. Oklahoma St. Cowboys -- CHECK
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs.
Miami Hurricanes Duke Blue Devils
Gator Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs vs.
Michigan Wolverines Nebraska Cornhuskers
Music City Bowl: Mississippi Rebels vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -- CHECK
Liberty Bowl: Mississippi St. Bulldogs vs. Rice Owls -- CHECK
BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Houston Cougars -- CHECK
I took a chance on the Outback Bowl being insane and it disappointed me. That's actually a pretty logical match-up for the guys from Tampa. Good on them. I also missed on Duke, though there were all sorts of rumors that John Swofford was personally involved in getting the Blue Devils into the Chick-fil-A Bowl. (The ACC denies that it is involved in any such lobbying. Wink wink.)
As for Nebraska going to the Gator Bowl instead of Michigan? You got me. Well, you had me, but one of SB Nation's Kansas State bloggers explains why the Wildcats going to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl meant Nebraska wouldn't.
@TKyleKing Because Bill Snyder pushed hard to NOT play the Huskers. Pelini physically ATTACKED him 10 years ago, wants nothing to do w/him.— Jon Morse (@jonfmorse) December 9, 2013
I did get all the SEC teams right, which is our focus here, so I'll take it. But it goes to show something that I've said on Twitter and here a few times: None of us know entirely what we're talking about. Bowls make selections based on their own agendas and business interests and, every so often, the quality of the teams. Projecting bowls is fun, at least for me, because it's interesting trying to figure out how all those factors play out. It's been a blast, and hopefully it will be even more of a blast after the playoff takes over next year.