Bowl Projections 2012: Squads Destined for BCS Games After Crazy Week 12 Action
With a new No. 1 team in the nation for the third consecutive week, the National Championship picture—and who lands in what Bowl Game—has become as convoluted as ever.
We know that the two teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS Standings will play for the National Championship, and that some BCS Bowl games have no choice but to take teams from certain conferences, but that still leaves plenty of spots open for debate.
Here's how we see the BCS Bowl picture shaking out when it's all said and done.
BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame (11-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (10-1)
Two of the best defenses in the nation collide in the National Championship Game as the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the SEC Champions, the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide.
While this isn't exactly how Alabama wanted to get into the game to defend its title, it will take it after being left for dead by many following its loss to Texas A&M in Week 10.
For Notre Dame, this has been a long time coming, having last won a National Championship in 1988 when Lou Holtz was running the show and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail was making defenders look foolish.
Rose Bowl: Nebraska (11-2) vs. Oregon (12-1)
There's no room for debate with the Rose Bowl, as they're contractually obligated to take the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12.
With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for postseason play, Nebraska will beat Wisconsin for the Big Ten title and make its third Rose Bowl appearance and the first for the school since 2002, when it lost 37-14 to the Miami Hurricanes in the National Championship Game.
On the heels of losing in overtime to Stanford, the Ducks will beat Oregon State next week while the Cardinal fall to an upstart UCLA squad—a UCLA team that will lose to the high-powered Ducks offense in the Pac-12 championship game.
This will be Oregon's second consecutive Rose Bowl appearance, scoring 10 unanswered fourth quarter points to beat Wisconsin 45-38.
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State (11-1) vs. UCLA (10-3)
Despite losing to the Baylor Bears, the Kansas State Wildcats will win the Big 12 and secure a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, which is contractually obligated to take the Big 12 champion.
While Stanford and UCLA will both be sitting with three losses on the season, UCLA's Week 13 victory over the Cardinal make it the pick over Stanford.
This would mark both school's third appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.
Kansas State last appeared in 2004, when it lost 35-28 to Ohio State. For the Bruins, it's their first Fiesta Bowl since 1985, when they beat the Miami Hurricanes 39-37.
Sugar Bowl: LSU (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
With Alabama playing for the National Championship and the Sugar Bowl taking place in New Orleans, it's a no-brainer for the LSU Tigers to be their choice to replace the Crimson Tide in the game as the SEC representative.
Oklahoma, the runner-up to Kansas State in the Big 12, is a solid at-large choice as an at-large selection.
LSU would be appearing in its 14th Sugar Bowl, breaking the tie it shares with Alabama for most appearances in the game. LSU last appeared in the game back in 2007 with JaMarcus Russell under center as the Tigers crushed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 41-14.
For Oklahoma, this marks its seventh Sugar Bowl, last appearing in 2004 when the Sooners fell to LSU by a score of 21-14.
Orange Bowl: Florida State (11-2) vs. Louisville (11-1)
Florida State will make it to the ACC Championship Game where it will have no trouble besting either Georgia Tech or Miami (Fla.) and represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl for the ninth time—and first time since 2006, when it fell to Penn State by a score of 26-23.
Louisville, after beating Rutgers in its regular-season finale, is the choice for this game by way of the Big East's automatic bid into a BCS Bowl game.
The Cardinals have only appeared in one other Orange Bowl, beating Wake Forest 24-13 in 2007.
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