posted on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM
With the start of college football quickly approaching, it’s never too early for experts to start picking their teams for the 2010-2011 bowl season. In the preseason polls, 17 of the 25 slots belong to one of the partner conferences – the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference for the Capital One Bowl and Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Champs Sports Bowl.
The Capital One Bowl is one of the most renowned college bowl games and continues its tradition of selecting the best available Big Ten and SEC teams behind the Bowl Championship Series. In the 2010 game, Penn State topped LSU, 19-17, on a late field goal in a rain-soaked slugfest.
No. 12 Wisconsin (10-3, 5-3 Big Ten in 2009) was picked to play Auburn in the Capital One Bowl by Orlando Sentinel writer Matt Murschel and ESPN’s college football national blogger Andrea Adelson. The Badgers are an Orlando Bowl Week regular and in the last five years have played in two Capital One Bowls (2005, 06) and two Champs Sports Bowls (2008, 09). The team is predicted to face #23 Auburn.
Wisconsin and Auburn have played three times and sit at 1-1-1 in the overall series. They last competed in 2005 at the Capital One Bowl where the Badgers topped the Tigers, 24-10.
Auburn was also projected to play #14 Penn State by Phil Steele, as the Nittany Lions finished 2009 11-2 overall (6-2 Big Ten). The series between these two teams is even at 1-1 with Penn State taking the last meeting, 13-9, at the Capital One Bowl in 2002.
Scout.com’s College Football News predicted another rematch of one of the most exciting bowl games in Orlando history, selecting #10 Iowa to play #16 LSU. Iowa finished the 2009 season 11-2, 6-2 Big Ten while LSU finished 9-4, 5-3 SEC. The two last met in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, which the Hawkeyes won, 30-25, on a Hail Mary as time expired.
Other experts predicted first-time (for Orlando) matchups for the Capital One Bowl. Stewart Mandel predicted #3 Florida to face #10 Iowa, while Mark Schlabach and CBSSports.com both chose #12 Wisconsin to meet #21 Georgia. The Gators and Hawkeyes met in the 1983 Gator Bowl and 2004 and 2006 Outback Bowls, and Iowa leads the series 2-1. Meanwhile, Georgia defeated Wisconsin in both the 1998 and 2005 Outback Bowls.
The Champs Sports Bowl continues its growth into one of the top bowl games in America. In 2009, Wisconsin topped Miami (Fla.), 20-14. However, this year, instead of selecting from the Big Ten, the committee will select the best-available non-BCS team from the Big East or Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish (6-6 in 2009) are the favorite to play in the 2010 game, with four votes. They are predicted to play either #13 Miami, Boston College, #20 Florida State, #6 Virginia Tech or Virginia.
Miami finished the 2009 season 9-4 (5-3 ACC). They have played the Fighting Irish 22 times – the last time being in 1991 where Notre Dame defeated Miami, 29-20 -- and Notre Dame currently leads the all-time series, 15-7.
Notre Dame also leads the all-time series against Boston College (10-9) with the last meeting each other being a 17-0 Irish win in 2007. Boston College has made just one appearance in Orlando (2007) when it topped Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl, 24-21.
Florida State leads their series with the Fighting Irish 4-2. The two programs famously met in a 1994 neutral site game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. FSU finished the 2009 season 7-6 (4-4 ACC). They last appeared in Orlando in 2008, when they won the Champs Sports Bowl over Wisconsin, 42-13.
Virginia Tech, who finished 10-3 (6-2 ACC) in 2009 has never played Notre Dame.
Virginia finished last of the Coastal division of the ACC with a 3-9 (2-6 conference record) but come into the season with a fresh coaching staff. The Cavaliers last played the Irish in 1989 and were defeated, 36-13. Virginia last traveled to Orlando for the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1990 and was topped by Illinois, 21-31.
Mark Schlabach, the only expert to choose a Big East team (instead of Notre Dame) for the Champs Sports Bowl, predicted a match-up of last year's conference champions. Georgia Tech finished 2009 with an 11-3 (7-1 ACC) record and won the ACC Championship before falling to Iowa in the Orange Bowl. They were predicted to meet Cincinnati, who finished last season 12-1 (7-0 Big East) but lost to Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Preseason Bowl Predictions