Big East bowl projections: Week 9

Not too many alterations this week, but I am keeping my eye on Louisville. I think the Cardinals and USF are going to be scrambling to become bowl eligible. I give UConn a definitive no, and am leaning no on Pitt with Ray Graham out for the season.

BCS, Discover Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. ACC. The Bearcats had a bye, so they remain in control of the league race at 2-0. They go to Pitt on Saturday, and suddenly that game looks much more winnable with Graham out.

Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame. Still going with the Irish here, especially after a huge win over Navy. I had projected 9-3 for the Irish when the year started, but now I think they go 8-4 (loss to Stanford). Remember, the Champs Sports Bowl can take Notre Dame once in a four-year cycle provided it is 7-5 or better.

Belk Bowl: West Virginia vs. ACC. The Mountaineers rebounded nicely in the second half to beat Rutgers, but they still have to address some defensive problems, specifically up front and in the secondary. That win probably doesn't inspire much confidence that this is an unbeatable bunch on the heels of the loss to Syracuse.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Big 12. The Scarlet Knights have hit a bit of a slide here with two straight losses, but I still think they become bowl eligible with games remaining against USF, Army, Cincinnati and UConn.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Syracuse vs. SEC. Talk about dominating one week and uninspired the next. Who are these Orange? Are they the dominant force that dismantled West Virginia or the punchless group that scored 10 against Louisville?

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: USF vs. Conference USA. This one is a toss-up right now between the Bulls and the Cardinals. USF was off this week and plays at Rutgers on Saturday with a tough schedule ahead; Louisville goes at West Virginia on Saturday. The Cardinals play three of their final four games on the road, including their finale at USF. That one could play a huge role in bowl eligibility for both.

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