In an ideal world ...
Mark Schlabach [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
December 4, 2012
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Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl?

Five-loss Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio?

Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma left out of the BCS?

If you think the 2012 bowl lineup is as messed up as I do, here is what the postseason would like if I were named college football's czar. Gone are bowl tie-ins, silly BCS rules that limit the number of teams from one conference and 6-7 teams playing in bowl games.

Say hello to 9-3 Louisiana Tech and 8-4 Middle Tennessee State, which were inexplicably left out of bowl games, and goodbye to 6-7 Georgia Tech.

Here's how my bowl lineup would look:

Discover BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama

It's the game most of America wanted to see: The undefeated Fighting Irish will try to prevent the Crimson Tide from winning back-to-back national championships.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 4 Oregon

It would be a classic matchup of the No. 3 Gators' stingy defense against No. 4 Oregon's high-flying offense.

Discover Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 7 Georgia

After losing to Alabama 32-28 in the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs would get a shot against FSU, where UGA coach Mark Richt worked as former Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden's longtime offensive coordinator.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 8 LSU vs. No. 11 Oklahoma

The Tigers' only losses came against No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Florida; the Sooners' only defeats were against No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 5 Kansas State.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio: No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 5 Kansas State

With undefeated Ohio State ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, there isn't a Big Ten team worthy of playing in the Rose Bowl this season.

GoDaddy.com Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Rice

The Bulldogs were ranked in the top 10 at one point this season before finishing flat.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Purdue

Which direction will Cincinnati coach Butch Jones go? Will he remain with the Bearcats or replace fired Boilermakers coach Danny Hope (or fired Colorado coach Jon Embree?)

Capital One Bowl: No. 16 Nebraska vs. No. 23 Texas

The former Big 12 rivals suffered deflating losses at the end of the regular season. The Longhorns have defeated the Cornhuskers in 10 of 14 games.

Outback Bowl: No. 18 Michigan vs. No. 10 South Carolina

Unlike a lot of other Big Ten teams, the Wolverines have fared well against SEC foes, with a 23-7-1 record against them, including 7-4 in bowl games.

AT&T Cotton Bowl: No. 9 Texas A&M vs. No. 14 Clemson

It would be difficult to find two more athletic quarterbacks than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Clemson's Tajh Boyd.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: TCU vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois

The Huskies can prove they belong in a BCS bowl game by defeating the Horned Frogs, who were among the first teams from a non-BCS league to crack the BCS ceiling.

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: No. 21 Louisville vs. Wisconsin

Two champions of highly scrutinized conferences would square off in Jacksonville, Fla. If only the winner could advance to play the MAC champion.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. No. 20 Northwestern

The Commodores and Wildcats are not only smart teams, but they're pretty darn good, too. Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since 1949; the Commodores have won one since 1955.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Arkansas State

The Golden Hurricane went 10-3 and beat Central Florida 33-27 in overtime in Saturday's Conference USA championship game. The Red Wolves went 9-3 in coach Gus Malzahn's first season and won their last seven games.

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 UCLA

Each team lost its last two games to spoil surprising seasons. The Pokes rank in the top 10 in scoring (44.7 points) and passing (333.4 yards).

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Duke vs. Michigan State

The Blue Devils and Spartans are Final Four staples, combining to make 23 appearances, but they've never played each other in football.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville faces his old school, which was a surprise in the SEC under first-year coach Hugh Freeze.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Baylor vs. Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs wouldn't have passed up a chance to play Baylor, which closed the season with three straight victories over then-No. 1 Kansas State, Texas Tech and No. 23 Oklahoma State. The Alamodome would need a triple-digit scoreboard; the Bears and Bulldogs combined to score 95.6 points per game.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington

The Cougars have won their past three games against the Huskies, each of which was decided by less than a touchdown.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia

Who wouldn't want to watch the Backyard Brawl again at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx?

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Fresno State

The Falcons would face former defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, who guided the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record and a share of the Mountain West Conference championship in his first season as a head coach.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Virginia Tech vs. Southern California

Each of these disappointments showed there's some work to be done under the hood this offseason. USC quarterback Matt Barkley plays his final college game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: NC State vs. Syracuse

The Orange join the ACC next season, but they'd get a sneak peek at the Wolfpack in a bowl game.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Toledo

Each of the upstarts pulled off big upsets this season. The War Hawks stunned then No. 9 Arkansas 34-31 in overtime on Sept. 8; the Rockets upset No. 21 Cincinnati 29-23 on Oct. 20.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: No. 13 Oregon State vs. San Diego State

Beavers coach Mike Riley would return to San Diego, where he once coached the NFL's Chargers. The Aztecs won their last six games, including a 21-19 upset of then-No. 19 Boise State on Nov. 3.

Belk Bowl: No. 25 Kent State vs. Western Kentucky

Both schools might be shopping for a new coach in the next couple of seasons if Willie Taggart and Darrell Hazell keep winning.

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Navy vs. Ohio

Bobcats coach Frank Solich ran the triple-option offense at Nebraska; the Midshipmen are still using it and finished No. 6 in rushing with 285.5 yards per game.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Rutgers vs. Minnesota

The Scarlet Knights are probably hoping Detroit doesn't become their regular postseason...
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