Bowl Projections 2012: Updated Look at BCS Bowls After Week 11
For the first time this season, there's chaos atop the BCS standings. No. 1 Alabama has gone down at the hands of Texas A&M, as they exit the national spotlight in favor of other teams grasping for a spot in the BCS national championship game.
The rest of the four games (Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and Rose) have all seen significant shakeups after Week 11 brought other upsets to the front of the BCS picture.
Alabama hasn't lost out on a potential marquee game. They have lost out on a national championship game bid, unless two of the remaining teams find a way to stumble down the stretch of these last three weeks.
Here's a look at every bowl game that's qualified as a BCS showdown, and what two teams are on track to adorn the sidelines in early January.
BCS National Championship
Oregon vs. Kansas State
These two will top the BCS standings in Week 12. Things could be a little easier for Oregon, as the civil war with Oregon State is still on the schedule, as is a matchup with Stanford in Week 12. The Beavers are even more dangerous after losing a second game.
Kansas State has the clearest path to the title game. No championship game in the Big 12 means no chance for an upset after the regular season, and the final two opponents (Baylor and No. 17 Texas) will be enough to impress voters down the stretch.
Unless a bigger upset happens in the final three weeks, we're looking at a national champion not in the SEC for the first time in six years.
Rose Bowl Game
Stanford vs. Nebraska
There are still plenty of variables left in this game. Nebraska is no sure winner against a Wisconsin team that seems to have found Montee Ball late in the season. Michigan is also still in the picture, and any loss by Nebraska would help open the door for the Wolverines.
If Stanford can win out, they would knock Oregon out of the championship game, but even a loss to the Ducks won't take them out of the picture here.
Notre Dame vs. Florida
With Kansas State in the title game, these two spots are basically at-large. There's no way the selection committee will pass on the Irish, whether or not they have a loss at the end of the regular season.
Notre Dame is destined for a BCS bowl, and they will land either here or in the national championship game. Florida has just one loss and survived a big scare against the Louisiana-Lafayette upset bid on Saturday.
This would be a classic clash of defense between the athletes of Florida and the old-school mentality of the Irish. Both teams have been resilient all season, and this would be a good matchup in the marquee game.
Alabama vs. Oklahoma
If that holds true, the SEC's No. 1 slot will still belong to Nick Saban, just not in the national championship game. Awaiting 'Bama will be Bob Stoops and Oklahoma, the at-large pick, which only has losses to top-three teams.
It will give Stoops a chance to improve upon his poor record in BCS bowls (3-5) while giving Alabama a platform to take out some frustration from not being in the title game they had their sights set on for most of the season.
Which BCS bowl is the best matchup of teams?
Florida State vs. Louisville
The Cardinals messed up any chance at claiming they deserved a shot at the national title, but they still managed to keep hope alive in the Big East even after a demoralizing loss to Syracuse.
Florida State kept rolling against Virginia Tech and is a win away from representing the division in the ACC championship game against Miami or Duke. The computers hate the Seminoles, but the No. 4 defense in the country resides with Jimbo Fisher's team.
This game would be somewhat evenly matched, and a paradox of teams that had claims toward the national title but lack of big-time opponents to make a case with the BCS computers. Teddy Bridgewater and EJ Manuel could both be playing in the NFL next season, so it would be a quality matchup between these two QBs and their teams.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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