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2011 Bowl Projections: Michigan State Likely To Outback Bowl With Loss

Even though Michigan State won the Legends Division there is no guarantee that the Spartans will be the first team selected when the Big Ten affiliated bowls begin picking. Most experts agree that the Capital One Bowl, which has the first pick of Big Ten teams after the BCS selects its teams, will pick Nebraska since the Cornhuskers have never been to Orlando. That likely drops Michigan State to the Outback Bowl.

What can be even more frustrating is that many experts predict the Michigan wolverines will be a BCS selection as long as they reach the top 14 in the final BCS standings. one way they can do that is if the Spartans lose and fall behind hte Wolverines. SB Nation's Bowl projections have this happening:

Michigan is 16th, but they should leap both Georgia (if they lose to LSU) and the Michigan State/Wisconsin loser to get to 14th. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is currently 10th, and it is difficult to determine how far they will fall if they lose to Oklahoma State.

Western Michigan is also in the mix for a bowl game, as the Broncos could reach an open bowl left by a conference that does not have enough eligible teams to fulfill its obligations.

There is a wild scenario where three SEC teams could earn BCS bids, as Hammer & Rails explains:

The BCS is under contract to take the automatic qualifier of a conference champion (in that case Georgia) but they also must pair the top two teams in the BCS standings for the title game. If LSU loses a very close game to Georgia they may fall no lower than No. 2 while Alabama rises to No. 1.

In that case, Georgia would get an automatic bid as the SEC champion, but Alabama and LSU could still play a rematch for the national title as the top two ranked teams. With Stanford and Houston out there  it would also virtually assure that Michigan would not play in a BCS bowl.