Projected 2012 BCS Bowls – September 11th
Two weeks in the books and we might be beginning to see some of the national favorites define themselves, while others are quickly fading away.
Yes, some of the more visible teams took the week off, but for those who played, much was learned. Teams like Notre Dame might have already seen its BCS hopes go out the window at the Big House, while Oregon looks like a loss to LSU was just a bump in the road back to the offensive firework show they gave us last season.
The latest projection may not have changed much, but the further we are into the college football season, the more we can say for sure.
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. Oklahoma Sooners (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Neither team played this weekend, but both continue to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to making it all the way to New Orleans for the national championship game. Win out, and both of these teams will be in. Of course, with just one game under each team’s belt, we’re plenty of weeks from being able to say that either could do that with any sort of confidence.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: Both of these teams looked every bit the part of their respective conference favorites early in the season, even if their days were spent playing non-conference foes. Wisconsin pitched a shutout against beleaguered Oregon State and Stanford got over a slow start against Duke to cruise to victory.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)
Comment: Yet again, it looks as though the Sugar Bowl will have the chance to snatch an SEC team that didn’t make the national championship game. If the No. 1 team happens to be an SEC squad, the Sugar Bowl will in fact have the very first pick among the at-large teams. With power and convincing play these past two weeks, Alabama seems to fit the mold perfectly.
The Sugar Bowl would also receive the fourth overall pick, and an undefeated Boise State team (very likely given its schedule) could be waiting, ready to pit a non-AQ against Alabama once again (that didn’t turn out so well the last time).
Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. South Florida Bulls (Big East Champion)
Comment: Both Florida squads had no trouble at all with less than stellar opponents and continue to look like the teams to beat in their conferences. Florida State gets their first true test against Oklahoma next week, but even a loss there would not be the end of the Seminoles hopes for an Orange Bowl bid, as the ACC schedule would provide plenty of opportunity to bounce back.
South Florida will not start its Big East schedule until the end of this month, but in an always unpredictable league, plenty can happen between now and then that could change or alter the face off the Big East and change the conference favorite.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (At-large selection)
Comment: The Fiesta Bowl, looking to replace Oklahoma, might look no further than the Ducks, who have been to the bowl before and could very well be an attractive at-large fill in. Yes, Oregon did not look like a BCS team against LSU, but the shades of the 2010 squad that put on shows every week for the nation were there Saturday afternoon, and the Ducks could be headed back in the right direction.
The Fiesta Bowl will have two of the first three picks if they do lose the Big 12 champ to the NCG, and with the second of its picks, it might opt for a replacement to the Oklahoma-area crowd. Could they look to Oklahoma State? If the Cowboys top Texas A&M at home in two weeks, they could come into a last-weekend matchup with Oklahoma undefeated, and even a loss there could allow just enough for the Cowboys to make a BCS bowl.
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