Bowl game projections 2012: Irish to face Alabama, Northern Illinois likely headed to Orange Bowl

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame is expected to face Nick Saban's Crimson Tide for the BCS title, while Northern Illinois aims to make history with an Orange Bowl trip.

After a thrilling championship week in college football, the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish are now projected to square off with the SEC-champion Alabama Crimson Tide next month for the BCS national championship, according to SB Nation's latest bowl predictions.

The Crimson Tide appear to hold a slight edge over both Kansas State and Oregon for the right to take on Brian Kelly's Irish, following an extremely hard-fought victory over Georgia in Saturday's SEC title game. Due to its strong strength-of-schedule numbers from playing in the SEC, Alabama remains the frontrunner to finish at No. 2 in the BCS computers.

Fresh off a double overtime MAC championship victory over Kent State, the Northern Illinois Huskies and star quarterback Jordan Lynch are also currently projected in a BCS bowl. The Huskies rank No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll after a promising 12-1 campaign, and are slotted to face the Florida State Seminoles on New Year's Day in the Orange Bowl at the moment.

Here are SB Nation's latest BCS bowl projections:

Bowl
Team Date Matchup

BCS National Championship (Miami) Notre Dame Alabama 1/7/2013 BCS 1 vs. BCS 2

Fiesta (Glendale, AZ) Kansas State Oregon 1/3/2013 Big 12 1 vs. At-large 1

Sugar (New Orleans) Florida Louisville 1/2/2013 SEC 1 vs. At-large 2

Orange (Miami) Florida State NIU 1/1/2013 ACC 1 vs. At-large 3

Rose (Pasadena) Stanford Wisconsin 1/1/2013 Pac-12 1 vs. Big Ten 1

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