Loyal readers of the blog in its original incarnation a few years ago know there is a weekly picks post during football season.
There will be a pair of them next week (one for the entire season, another for the opening set of games this season), but for now it's time for the biggest set of guesswork there is: Bowl projections.
Don't look for much of this throughout the season. Many other people can capably try to forecast what is going through the minds of folks wearing gaudy blazers.
This is a one-time guess, with the marketability of teams factored in along with anticipated level of competitiveness this season. And don't worry, this will get brought up again come December just to demonstrate how wrong some preseason picks were.
(A few assumptions: Neither the Big Ten nor Big 12 will get a ninth bowl-eligible team to fill the Little Caesars and Dallas Classic, respectively. Same goes for the ACC getting an eighth team for the EagleBank Bowl.)
BCS Title: Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. Alabama (SEC champ), Jan. 10
The Buckeyes are the best bet of any power conference team to make it through the season unscathed. The Crimson Tide owns the most talent. Seems like a good combination for a title game projection.
Sugar: Nebraska (at-large) vs. Florida (at-large), Jan. 4
Think this one might be a welcome matchup? Considering the Cornhuskers haven't played in this game since New Year's Day 1987, a horde from heartland could be expected to show up.
Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. Wisconsin (at-large), Jan. 3
A meeting with the Big Ten runner-up didn't work out so well last year for the ACC winner. Perhaps this could be different.
Fiesta: Texas (Big 12 champ) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East champ), Jan. 1
Not particularly compelling, but not every BCS game is going to be a gem.
Rose: Oregon (Pac-10 champ) vs. Boise State (at-large), Jan. 1
Perhaps LaGarrette Blount could come back for an opening coin toss (or three rounds) with Byron Hout.
Fight Hunger (nee Emerald): Fresno State (WAC) vs. UCLA (Pac-10 No. 6), Jan. 9
An all-California matchup is about as good as what could be hoped for from a game being played by the time conference play in basketball is in full swing.
Birmingham: Mississippi State (SEC No. 9) vs. Cincinnati (Big East No. 5), Jan. 8
Guessing the Bearcats tumble down the pecking order a little, even if they win eight games. Mississippi State will be fortunate to get to bowl eligibility.
Cotton: Arkansas (SEC No. 3/4) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 2), Jan. 7
A sensible matchup for the folks in Dallas if they can make it work.
GMAC: Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt No. 2) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC No. 1/2), Jan. 6
Moving right along ...
Gator: Louisiana State (SEC No. 6) vs. Michigan (Big Ten No. 4/5), Jan. 1
Just a hunch that a bowl-eligible Michigan team might be appealing for a bowl game, even if the Wolverines wind up 7-5ish. Oh, and it would be the Les Miles Bowl, too.
Outback: South Carolina (SEC No. 3/4) vs. Penn State (Big Ten No. 3), Jan. 1
A possible dual finale for Steve Spurrier and Joe Paterno? That would be pretty neat.
Capital One: Georgia (SEC No. 2) vs. Iowa (Big Ten No. 2), Jan. 1
Despite all the SEC/Big Ten bowl pairings, these schools have never met --- even though it seems like one of these two is playing in a New Year's Day bowl in Florida every year.
Dallas Classic: Southern Methodist (open) vs. Purdue (Big Ten No. 7), Jan. 1
Southern Methodist is an obvious candidate to slide into a possibly vacant Big 12 slot. Purdue should be back in a bowl game this year after a two-season hiatus.
Chick-Fil-A: Auburn (SEC No. 5) vs. Miami (ACC No. 2), Dec. 31
A rare matchup (no meetings since the 1984 Kickoff Classic), and it would certainly fill the Georgia Dome with Auburn fans. Tossing Florida State in Miami's place to make it an ex-Bowden Bowl would be fun, too.
Liberty: Tennessee (SEC No. 8) vs. Houston (C-USA No. 1), Dec. 31
Will be curious to see if the Vols make it to six wins. Kentucky, Mississippi State are also possibilities here.
Sun: Georgia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. Arizona (Pac-10 No. 4), Dec. 31
On paper, an oddly compelling game in the preseason. Both teams could wind up deserving better fates.
Meineke Car Care: West Virginia (Big East No. 3) vs. Clemson (ACC No. 5), Dec. 31
If Michigan has a bad year, maybe Rich Rodriguez could come be the honorary captain for both teams.
Holiday: Missouri (Big 12 No. 5) vs. Stanford (Pac-10 No. 3), Dec. 30
Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck on the same field? Over/under on passing yards: 775
Music City: Mississippi (SEC No. 7) vs. North Carolina (ACC No. 6), Dec. 30
Assuming the Meineke Bowl would pass on North Carolina, which it hasn't done the last two years.
Pinstripe: Kansas (Big 12 No. 7) vs. Rutgers (Big East No. 4), Dec. 30
Another Big East possibility: Connecticut. If the Huskies come, maybe everyone can just agree to have the basketball teams show up instead for a game at the Garden.
Armed Forces: Wyoming (MWC No. 4/5) vs. Tulsa (C-USA), Dec. 30
A pair of pass-happy teams that would combine for a game lasting nearly as long as a mid-May tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Alamo: Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 3) vs. Oregon State (Pac-10 No. 2), Dec. 29
An de facto home game for the Aggies would please game organizers in San Antonio.
Texas: Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten No. 6), Dec. 29
Not sure this would sell a bunch of tickets in Houston, but it could be interesting.
EagleBank: East Carolina (C-USA) vs. Connecticut (Open), Dec. 29
The Skip Holtz Invitational.
Insight: Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten No. 4/5), Dec. 28
Minnesota's been to Phoenix three of the last four years; that streak isn't likely to continue
Champs Sports: Notre Dame (Big East*) vs. Florida State (ACC No. 3), Dec. 28
Guessing this would not be as hyped as the 1993 meeting.
Independence: Utah (MWC No. 3) vs. Boston College (ACC No. 7), Dec. 27
Let's spell it out one more time: The first commandment of ACC bowl selection is "BC shalt get screwed." But this could be an interesting, worthwhile game.
Little Caesars: Temple (MAC No. 1/2) vs. California (Open), Dec. 26
California takes over a vacant Big Ten slot, and Temple gets to play a leftover Pac-10 team for the second straight year.
Hawaii: Hawaii (WAC) vs. Texas-El Paso (C-USA), Dec. 24
Any bowl game would be a good bowl game for the Miners.
Poinsettia: Navy vs. Brigham Young (MWC No. 2), Dec. 23
It's the Mids vs. the Mormons, but if BYU really does decide to go it alone in football, shouldn't game organizers try to swap event names with the Independence Bowl for a year if this matchup comes to be?
Maaco: Texas Christian (MWC No. 1) vs. Washington (Pac-10 No. 5), Dec. 22
Just guessing the Horned Frogs stumble somewhere. If they still win the Mountain West, this could be a highly entertaining combination.
St. Petersburg: Central Florida (C-USA) vs. South Florida (Big East No. 6), Dec. 21
An easy-to-imagine matchup.
New Orleans: Troy (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Southern Mississippi (C-USA), Dec. 18
It's 2008 all over again.
Humanitarian: Nevada (WAC) vs. Ohio (MAC No. 3), Dec. 18
It's an even-numbered year, which means elections for Congress, the Ryder Cup and the Wolf Pack making a postseason trek to Boise.
New Mexico: Utah State (WAC) vs. Air Force (MWC No. 4/5), Dec. 18
Would be the Aggies' first postseason appearance since 1997. Falcons probably wind up in the Armed Forces Bowl again, but this is an attempt to avoid repeat bowl trips for both Air Force and Wyoming.