Projected 2012 BCS Bowls – November 20th
Some weeks go by with no impactful upsets. Others have a couple that shake things up, but really have little bearing on the end of the season.
And then there was this past weekend in college football.
BCS Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 7 all took a tumble this weekend against lesser foes, giving us the most upheaval in the BCS picture that we’ve seen in quite some time as a result of just one weekend.
Who remains at the top of the heap? How would the Sugar Bowl replace two SEC teams if we are to have a all-SEC title game? How does Houston still fit into this messy picture?
All the answers to these questions are just temporary, at least for now. Who knows what’s next?
For reference, the at-large selection order for the 2012 bowl slate (after hosting contracts have been filled and the NCG is filled) is: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.
BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Above all of the turmoil in the BCS, LSU cruised to victory against Ole Miss. The equation is simple for the Tigers, beat Arkansas and win the SEC title game, and they’re in the BCS title game. But that is certainly no easy task.
Alabama sat back and watched as chaos enveloped the BCS picture. A victory over Georgia Southern seemed like nothing Saturday morning, but without Oregon, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma chasing the Tide, they now hold the cards to a rematch in the BCS title game. Beat Auburn next week, and Alabama would be sitting pretty. And yes, that’s two SEC teams in the title game.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: Taking care of business since losing two straight games during the middle of Big Ten play, Wisconsin is now in control of its own destiny to make its way to a Rose Bowl. If the Badgers can beat Penn State next weekend, they’ll represent the Leaders division in the conference title game, where they will have a chance to make their way to Pasadena.
Oregon had the chance Saturday night to give the nation a taste of just what it could do, and stake a claim to a bid for the BCS title game. Instead, the Ducks faltered, as a late comeback fell short. The Ducks can still secure this bid to the Rose Bowl with a victory next week against Oregon State (which would clinch the Pac-12 North for the Ducks) and then a victory in the Pac-12 championship game.
Sugar Bowl: Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection) vs. Houston Cougars (At-large selection)
Comment: By losing both Alabama and LSU to the title game, the Sugar Bowl is in an odd situation. Usually, the bowl has the chance to replace an SEC team with another, but unless the two SEC teams in the title game prove to non-conference champs, the bowl’s hands are tied. They will receive both the first replacement pick and the second draft pick. Looking to first replace an SEC host with a crowd-pleaser, the bowl might select the resurgent Michigan Wolverines. If the Wolverines can top the Buckeyes next week, they’ll be a very attractive at-large selection.
With the second pick, the bowl might just try to grab some geographic crowd support and select the Houston Cougars. Houston is still in the driver’s seat for the non-AQ BCS bowl bid as the highest ranking non-AQ conference champion in the top 16. TCU would also have a chance at this spot if they can win out, but for now, the Cougars are riding high and would provide the bowl with a very interesting matchup.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC Champion) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East Champion)
Comment: Virginia Tech now looks the class of the ACC after Clemson took a tumble against NC State. The Hokies will of course need to win the ACC title game to get to the Orange Bowl, but if they are able to just that, and are not part of the BCS national title game discussion, they’ll be on their way to play for the oranges.
The Big East, not surprisingly, is a jumbled mess with just two weeks remaining in the college football season. For now, the team we’re going to go with is West Virginia. Only because their losses are more impressive, and voters are often inclined to give the Mountaineers the benefit of the doubt — important if the tiebreaker becomes the BCS standings. The Mountaineers are one of five teams in the conference with two losses. At this point, your guess is as good as mine.
Fiesta Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Champion)
Comment: Oklahoma State spent weeks in the BCS title game driver’s seat. But in classic BCS fashion, Oklahoma State slipped up just when the Cowboys were getting comfortable. Combined with Oklahoma’s second loss of the season, the Cowboys now are just in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 conference championship. A win over Oklahoma would give the Cowboys a bid to the Fiesta Bowl.
Stanford’s record, although battered slightly by losing to Oregon, will prove quite attractive to the Fiesta Bowl, picking first among the pool selectors. Even if the Cardinal don’t make their way to the Pac-12 championship game, if they finish the season by winning out, they’ll likely be a top-five BCS team and will command plenty of respect from the BCS bowls. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinal make a trip to Arizona.
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