With only one SEC game left to be played before the end of the season, we're starting to get a good idea of who will go to what bowl locations. But nothing's set in stone; things can still shift pretty dramatically based on how the last games play out on a variety of fields, so these are still to be taken with a grain of salt.
Orange Bowl: vs.
Some people have questioned my selection of Oregon for the Orange Bowl, mainly because of the possibility that the Orange Bowl might be looking out for the interests of the ACC ahead of their 12-year deal with the event. I get that, I just don't think it's going to be that big of a controlling factor at this rate. But I'm certainly willing to be wrong, and will re-evaluate it again Saturday after the championship games start to play out. For now, I'll stick with it.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers
Outback Bowl: LSU Tigers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Cotton Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Baylor Bears
Chick-fil-A Bowl: vs. Clemson Tigers
Gator Bowl: vs.
Music City Bowl: vs.
Liberty Bowl: vs.
BBVA Compass Bowl: vs.
I've changed this around quite a bit since the last time we did this, so let's go through it in some detail.
First, I think the Capital One Bowl ends up taking the loser of the SEC Championship Game no matter who loses. Auburn is too good a team to pass up and Missouri hasn't been to Orlando yet as a member of the SEC. A lot of folks -- including Edwards and Schlabach, whom I tend to pay attention to on these things -- send South Carolina to the Capital One Bowl if Auburn wins, but I don't think that's the case.
The Outback and the Cotton bowls are where I think things get interesting. If you read between the lines of this piece from the Post and Courier, it seems to me that the Outback is not all that excited about the prospect of getting South Carolina -- but the Cotton is. Add into that Zach on Brightside's observation earlier today on Twitter that LSU has gone to the Cotton Bowl a lot, and I think you have the elements for a trade -- the Outback takes LSU and the Cotton takes the Gamecocks. But the Outback is involved -- so we must always remembers that nothing the Tampa-based bowl does ever makes sense.
In any case, I think that Baylor makes the most sense and is basically now locked into the Cotton Bowl (unless they lose to Texas), while the Outback goes loony on the B1G this year and takes Nebraska over Iowa. Think about which of these resonates more in the ratings department: LSU vs. Nebraska or LSU vs. Iowa.
That leaves Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M just sitting there for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which quickly snaps up the Aggies to pair with Clemson for a shootout. If Clemson is in the BCS and not available, my guess is that you see Miami (FL) in Atlanta.
Georgia then goes to the Gator Bowl to face Michigan, which doesn't really change that much from last time. I thought about putting Minnesota there, but I think the Georgia vs. Michigan game would probably draw more eyeballs and perhaps sell more tickets.
The Music City also doesn't change, and probably won't. Georgia Tech gets the ticket to Nashville out of the ACC to play Ole Miss. Vanderbilt goes to the Liberty Bowl to play Marshall, barring an upset by Rice in the C-USA Championship Game. And Mississippi State goes to the BBVA Compass Bowl. A lot of folks have pegged Rutgers as the opponent, but unless the American has a one-game rule -- and if they do, I'm not aware of it -- I think Rutgers goes to the Pinstripe and Houston goes to Birmingham for geographical reasons.