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2011 Bowl Projections: Penn State And Temple Predicted To Stumble Down The Stretch

Though both Penn State and Temple are leading their respective divisions in the Big Ten and MAC conferences, our bowl prediction expert Bill Connelly thinks both teams will struggle at the end of the season and miss out on their conference championship games.

As October turns into November, we at SB Nation begin eagerly awaiting the upcoming college football bowl season (and doubly so when there's no basketball to divert our attention just yet). Our own Bill Connelly did his first projection of the national bowl scene yesterday using the metrics of adjusted score and momentum to predict the field.

What did his projections have to say about the local football teams here in Philadelphia? Nothing good. Despite Penn State's unblemished 5-0 record in the Big Ten, Connelly predicts the Nittany Lions to miss out on the inaugural Leaders Division title due to an upcoming home game against Nebraska and road trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Instead, Connelly likes Wisconsin to battle back from its two-and-a-half-game deficit to claim the division crown and a trip to the Rose Bowl after a title-game victory over projected Legends Division champions Michigan State. Ultimately, Connelly sees Penn State settling for a date with Texas in the Insight Bowl.

Connelly is similarly down on Temple's future. The Owls lead the Mid-American Conference's East Division by a half-game, but Connelly predicts Ohio to come out on top, perhaps with a victory later tonight when the two teams play each other in Athens, Ohio. Instead, Conelly sees Temple making its way to New York to meet West Virginia in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Connelly's picks for the national game are below:

Jan. 2  Rose Bowl Wisconsin (11-2) Oregon (10-2)
Jan. 2  Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma (11-1) Boise State (12-0)
Jan. 3  Allstate Sugar Bowl LSU (11-1) Oklahoma State (11-1)
Jan. 4  Discover Orange Bowl Clemson (11-2) Cincinnati (11-1)
Jan. 9  Allstate BCS National Championship Game Alabama (13-0) Stanford (13-0)

For more on this year's college football postseason, check out our complete 2011 College Football Bowl Schedule.