There is still a lot of football left to be played and this weekend's games will go a long way in narrowing down the teams competing for BCS Bowl games. But where is the fun in waiting for the games to be played to speculate on what will happen?
There are some potential monster matchups looming for the first week of January. This season would have been the perfect time to start a four-team playoff, as there are four elite teams that deserve a shot at the crown.
But this season there can be only two.
Boise State could be guaranteed a BCS game by virtue of the BCS selection criteria, listed below. At this point I'm predicting the Broncos do not crack the Top 12 and that Nebraska will surpass them in the standings. That would do football fans a great service since it would eliminate them from being guaranteed a spot in a BCS game.
By order of when the games are played, here are the pairings and predictions for the five BCS bowl games.
Who: Nebraska vs. Oregon State
When: Jan. 1, 5:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
I have Nebraska beating Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game. This will give the Cornhuskers the opportunity to right their recent postseason wrongs.
There will be some quality teams eligible for an at-large berth for the Rose Bowl, and Georgia will be tough to pass up.
As a purist, I see the Rose Bowl featuring a very good team from the Pac-12.
Prediction: Oregon State 21, Nebraska 17
Who: Florida State vs. Louisville
When: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
The ACC champion gets an automatic berth in the Orange Bowl. The committee is left with taking the last remaining team that is guaranteed a BCS bowl game, or selecting an at-large school if no guaranteed berths are outstanding.
Louisville is guaranteed a BCS game by virtue of winning the Big East. The Cardinals are not in the same class as the other BCS conferences and will be last to be taken.
Prediction: Florida State 48, Louisville 17
Who: Notre Dame vs. LSU
When: Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Super Dome, New Orleans, Louisiana
The Sugar Bowl is supposed to feature the SEC champion, but that seems odd since the SEC will almost always land in the BCS Championship Game.
Instead of getting Alabama, the Sugar Bowl will get first-dibs at an at-large team because the Tide will likely be ranked No. 1.
I'd be surprised to see the Sugar Bowl pass on grabbing the high-profile Fighting Irish. Their fans will be ready to travel, and they offer a huge national TV audience.
The Orange Bowl will then pick after the Fiesta Bowl during the at-large round.
If Florida can beat Florida State then they will likely secure this spot. I see them losing that game, though, and falling out of a BCS game.
LSU can stay in consideration with a good showing against Alabama. Oklahoma and South Carolina will also be in the mix.
Prediction: Notre Dame 20, LSU 13
Who: Kansas State vs. Georgia
When: Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Kansas State gets the automatic berth as the Big 12 champion. The Fiesta Bowl also gets the first pick of at-large teams once the five committed berths are settled.
It will be hard to pass up the loser of the SEC Championship Game.
If the Wildcats can dominate the Bulldogs then there could be some questions in the minds of voters when deciding a national champion, particularly if Alabama loses.
Prediction: Kansas State 34, Georgia 27
BCS National Championship Game
Who: Oregon vs. Alabama
When: Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Oregon currently sits fourth in the BCS Rankings, but Notre Dame and Kansas will see their strength of schedule decline slightly over the last month of the season.
The Ducks could face Top 25 teams in four of their last five games, including the Pac-12 Championship Game. This will help push them up in the computer rankings and squeeze them into the title game.
Alabama will secure a spot if it wins its remaining games.
This game should be an epic, physical matchup. Oregon has a very strong offense, and there isn't a better defense in college football than the one it would face.
Alabama will pit a good offense against an equally-good Oregon defense.
Strength against strength will decide this game.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Oregon 20
1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings shall play in the National Championship Game.
2. The champions of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern conferences will have automatic berths in one of the participating bowls through the 2013 regular season.
3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:
A. Such team is ranked in the Top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,
B. Such team is ranked in the Top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.
If there are fewer than 10 automatic qualifiers, then the bowls will select at-large participants to fill the remaining berths. An at-large team is any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible and meets the following requirements:
A. Has won at least nine regular-season games, and
B. Is among the Top 14 teams in the final BCS Standings.
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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