A bowl's tie-in with a league doesn't necessarily mean it will get the third-, fourth-, fifth-, etc., place team from the league; rather, it means it gets the third, fourth, fifth, etc., selection from that league.
Along those lines, in some instances we have moved teams around in the pecking order so they won't return to a bowl they played in last season.
Under terms of the most recent BCS agreement, the first time the Rose Bowl loses a team to the national championship game and a team from outside the Big Six conferences is an automatic qualifier, that team will play in the Rose Bowl.
An asterisk denotes a team that will be in the bowl because a league will not be able to fulfill its obligation. In some situations, other conferences have deals to provide teams if the "original" conference can't fill its spots; in those instances, the fill-in conference first fills it own bowl slots. If the fill-in conference doesn't have enough bowl-eligible teams, the bowl then is allowed to pick an at-large team that is bowl eligible.
One thing to remember about "fill-in" teams: A team that finishes 7-5 has priority over a 6-6 team when it comes to filling those types of vacant bowl slots. That's why there are a number of MAC teams that bear watching in the next few weeks, among them Miami of Ohio, Ohio University, Western Michigan and Toledo. The same goes for a few teams in the Sun Belt, most notably Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, FIU and Middle Tennessee.
Some bowl names have changed this season: The St. Petersburg Bowl now is the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, the Papajohns.com Bowl now is known as the BBVA Compass Bowl, the EagleBank Bowl is the Military Bowl, the Emerald Bowl now is called the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the GMAC Bowl became the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The TicketCity and Pinstripe bowls are new.
Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS
This week's projection: Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Date: Jan. 1, 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: BCS vs. BCS
This week's projection: Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh