Notre Dame (12-0) completed its perfect season with a win over Southern Cal, and finished as the only bowl-eligible undefeated team. Overtime survivals over Stanford and Pittsburgh saved the Domers’ perfect mark. Alabama awaits in the Irish in Miami on January 7.
Brigham Young (7-5) completed its first independent season with the 5th-best scoring defense in the nation. Only Oregon State put up more than 24 points against them. The Cougars will head to San Diego for clean-living entertainment before taking on San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Navy (8-4) outlasted Army, 17-13, in their traditional year-end struggle. The Midshipmen now head to San Francisco and the home of the world champion Giants (AT&T Park) to face Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
- Little Caesars Bowl
- GoDaddy.com Bowl
- Famous Idaho Potatoes Bowl
The MAC, of course, outdid itself in every way in 2012. First, by sending Northern Illinois into the Orange Bowl to take on Florida State. And, second, by using its depth to pluck off a number of other bids left unfilled by the major conferences.
Northern Illinois (12-1) lost only by a single point to Big Ten member Iowa (although, admittedly, not a particularly strong Big Ten member), and then ran the table. The Huskies capped off the 12-game run with an overtime win over Kent State in the MAC title game. Of course, NIU only averages about 17,000 per game at its home games, so a huge turnout in Miami is unlikely.
The loser in that conference title tilt, Kent State (11-2), was on the verge of grabbing that BCS spot itself, and the Golden Flashes at least had a significant win (over Rutgers). They now head to the GoDaddy.com Bowl to face Arkansas State. Not name brands, but two of the better teams in a “lesser” bowl.
Although the Little Caesars Bowl is listed as having first choice, somehow it ended up with 6-6 Central Michigan. Apparently other bowls bid more for the other teams. The Chippawas will face Western Kentucky.
Ball State (9-3) may not know what a Beef O’Brady’s is (did you guess it’s a restaurant? right!), but it’s about to find out. The Cardinals face Central Florida in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg.
Toledo (9-3) will rocket to Boise to face Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potatoes Bowl on the blue turf.
Bowling Green (8-4) might have been confused playing on blue turf (what with the “green” in the name … or not), but it will head to Washington, D.C. to play San Jose State in the Military Bowl.
Ohio (8-4) finished the year in a disappointing slide (losing four out of five), but didn’t slide enough to miss out on a chance to play in the Independence Bowl against Louisiana-Monroe.