Bowl Projections 2012: Breaking Down Candidates for BCS At-Large Berths
While most of the focus this time of year is on the BCS National Championship Game, there are a bunch of teams hoping to earn a spot in any of the BCS bowl games.
There is a lot of prestige, as well as a lot of money, involved in being selected to one of these games. Therefore, the top teams that did not earn an automatic bid will be eagerly waiting for one of the at-large spots.
Notre Dame earned an at-large spot in the title game, so there are only three bids remaining.
These teams should get the most consideration from the various bowl committees.
The winner of the SEC Championship Game will likely be the No. 2 team in the BCS Standings and get a chance to play for the national championship.
However, things get a little bit more confusing for the loser.
Only two teams per conference are allowed to be included in the BCS, and there is a lot of competition in the SEC.
Georgia would be a hard sell with two losses, with the first one by 28 points at South Carolina. Alabama has a better chance as the defending national champions, but the Crimson Tide do not have many quality wins this season.
It seems that there is a pretty big gap, in terms of bowl destination, between winning and losing in the upcoming game for these two teams.
No one in the nation has a better resume than Florida.
During the year, this team has wins over LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida State. All of which are near the top of the polls entering the final week of the year.
Although the Gators are not in the SEC Championship Game, they should move up to No. 3 in the standings following the game. At that point, it would be impossible to leave them out of one of the BCS games.
Like Florida, Oregon will not take part in its conference championship game. Instead, Stanford will represent the Pac-12 North division after defeating the Ducks in Eugene.
Still, Oregon is a very attractive team for those running bowl games.
The Ducks can score as well as any team in the country, averaging over 50 points per game. Only once did the offense fail to top 40.
Although their wins are not as impressive—only Oregon State is currently in the Top 25—the high BCS standing will keep the Ducks in consideration.
The Tigers have put together a solid season, winning 10 games despite having a difficult schedule.
However, this squad has been less than dominant throughout the year. Only one of LSU's six conference wins was by more than a touchdown.
There is little chance the committees decide that LSU is more deserving of a bid than fellow SEC teams like Florida, Georgia or Alabama.
If Florida State wins the ACC as expected, Clemson has an opportunity to be the second team from the conference in a BCS game.
The problem is that the computer numbers have not been helping the Tigers, and that could be enough to disqualify them from an at-large bid.
In addition, the lack of success from the ACC in past years could also decrease the likelihood of Clemson getting another chance at the BCS.
Two home losses derailed what could have been a great season for Oklahoma. However, those losses don't seem as bad, looking back.
Notre Dame will play for the national championship, while Kansas State is still in the Top 10.
Meanwhile, the Sooners were able to handle the rest of a very deep Big 12, including a 63-21 win over rival Texas.
Considering the team's history and wide fanbase, Oklahoma is likely to be a selection for a marquee bowl.
One of the three spots will certainly go to the SEC, but the question is which team.
Florida will be the only one remaining with only one loss, and it has the best wins. That means the Gators should probably make it to the Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma and Oregon also have the combination of top resumes and fan support to make them great picks for one of the top bowls.
While it is not a perfect process, the result will be some very interesting games in January.
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