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Who’s Going To The 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl?

2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl. (Courtesy of Steve Kaplowitz).

By Sunday night, we will know which two teams will be in El Paso on New Year’s Eve for the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl. Executive Director Bernie Olivas appeared on Sportstalk yesterday, but still could not confirm the matchup. Let’s take a closer look…

ACC – North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech

North Carolina State 7-5  Steve’s Prediction 45% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Virginia Tech 6-6  Steve’s Prediction 35% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Georgia Tech 6-6  Steve’s Prediction 20% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Steve’s Analysis: The Hyundai Sun Bowl has a clause which states they must select the loser of the ACC Championship game if that team is available. Assuming Florida State defeats Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets would return El Paso for the second straight year. However, a 6-7 Georgia Tech team would need to win their NCAA appeal to become bowl eligible. Unlike last year’s 6-7 UCLA team that won its appeal, this year’s bowl field already has enough bowl eligible teams. That might force the NCAA to deny Georgia Tech instead of losing a team that’s already qualified for a bowl game. In this case, the Sun Bowl chooses after the Chick-Fil-A (Clemson) and Russell Athletic Bowl (Virginia Tech or North Carolina State). The Hyundai Sun Bowl will get the team that the Russell Athletic Bowl passes on, which will probably be North Carolina State.

Pac 12 – USC, Arizona, Arizona State, and Washington

USC 7-5  Steve’s Prediction 60% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Arizona 7-5  Steve’s Prediction 15% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Arizona State 7-5  Steve’s Prediction 15% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Washington 7-5  Steve’s Prediction 10% chance of playing in Hyundai Sun Bowl

Steve’s Analysis: Despite four teams from the Pac 12 with a record of 7-5, the USC Trojans are the clear pick here. Matt Barkley’s shoulder injury could keep him out of the bowl game, but Lane Kiffin’s team was not expected to fall to the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Arizona, Arizona State, and Washington all bring intriguing teams to the equation (as well s traveling parties), but USC does not become available very often. After Oregon and either Stanford/UCLA goes to the BCS, UCLA/Oregon State goes to the Holiday Bowl and Oregon State goes to the Alamo Bowl, the Sun Bowl Association will have the chance to pick the remaining 7-5 teams. 

 

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