BCS Standings 2013: Week 11 BCS Rankings and Bowl Game Projections  

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

BCS Standings 2013: Week 11 BCS Rankings and Bowl Game Projections  

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    We're a week closer to seeing which teams will finish the 2013 college football season in BCS games, yet it seems like we're still so far away from having things set in stone.

    Even with the latest BCS rankings, per ESPN, released for Week 11, there's so much uncertainty due to a bevy of big-time games yet to be played.

    Here's how the standings look as of now:

    1. Alabama
    2. Florida State
    3. Oregon
    4. Ohio State
    5. Stanford
    6. Baylor
    7. Clemson
    8. Missouri
    9. Auburn
    10. Oklahoma
    11. Miami (Fla.)
    12. South Carolina
    13. LSU
    14. Oklahoma State
    15. Texas A&M
    16. Fresno State
    17. Michigan State
    18. Northern Illinois
    19. UCLA
    20. Louisville
    21. UCF
    22. Arizona State
    23. Notre Dame
    24. Wisconsin
    25. Texas Tech

    So much will change in next week's standings thanks to the huge Thursday pairings of Oklahoma-Baylor and Stanford-Oregon, not to mention plenty of weekend competition that includes Alabama-LSU and UCF-Houston.

    Forty-nine teams are bowl-eligible, with many more that are sure to get to the six-win plateau this coming weekend.

    Check out our latest projections for who will play whom and where, then chime in on the comments about how much you love (or hate) the guesses.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    San Jose State vs. Washington

    When: Dec. 21, 2 p.m. ET

    Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico

    TV: ESPN


    San Jose State (5-3) will get another chance to knock off a Pac-12 team after having lost to Stanford in early September. The Spartans will put up points against whomever they face, thanks to stellar quarterback David Fales, and they will provide the presumably small crowd for this game with plenty of excitement.

    Washington (5-3) will have at least seven victories by season's end, which is good but far below what was expected after a 4-0 start. The Huskies hit a wall midseason, but they should be playing some of their best ball when they help christen the bowl season in what should be a very high-scoring game.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

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    Boise State vs. USC

    When: Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

    TV: ABC


    Boise State (6-3) probably had a good shot to beat Fresno State in the Mountain West title game if Joe Southwick hadn't been injured, but instead, the Broncos will probably lose that projected final and end up in Las Vegas yet again. This time it will be as the MWC's second-best team, though, with Fresno headed to loftier locales.

    USC (6-3) is going to get at least eight wins and, with games against both Stanford and UCLA at home, they will be a major player in how the Pac-12's standings play out. This will cap-off an amazing turnaround for a train wreck of a team that fired its coach after four games and has been hit with tons of injuries.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    San Diego State vs. Ball State

    When: Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Boise, Idaho

    TV: ESPN


    San Diego State (4-4) is not a lock to make a bowl. In fact, the Aztecs are going to have to beat someone that they're not expected to in order to get to six wins. Other than a trip to Hawaii, they play at San Jose State and UNLV and host Boise State over the rest of the season. But we're optimistic, so give this slot to SDSU for now.

    Ball State (8-1) could easily be unbeaten and almost certainly will get to 10 wins. But unless the Cardinals beat Northern Illinois on Nov. 13 (on the road), they're going to get relegated to a game like this one, despite a great season. 

R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

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    Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

    When: Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET

    Where: New Orleans, La.

    TV: ESPN


    Tulane (6-3) fell into a three-way tie for the Conference USA West Division lead after losing badly at Florida Atlantic, and the Green Wave have a pair of tough road games remaining. But becoming bowl eligible already takes some pressure off, and it's likely that Tulane will get to celebrate with a postseason contest in its own stadium.

    Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2) is listed as the tentative Sun Belt champion—and by tentative we mean "the team most likely to reverse the league's recent trend of having its best teams lose at home." The Ragin' Cajuns still must face their two toughest foes (Troy and Louisiana-Monroe) at home, so who knows what will happen.

Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl

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    Marshall vs. Toledo

    When: Dec. 23, 2 p.m. ET

    Where: St. Petersburg, Fla.

    TV: ESPN


    Marshall (5-3) will probably win its next three games, setting up a season-finale visit from East Carolina that will determine the Conference USA East Division champion. If the Thundering Herd were to make the C-USA final, it will end up somewhere better than the Florida Gulf Coast.

    Toledo (6-3) has won four straight but now has to face both Mid-American Conference division leaders (Buffalo and Northern Illinois) in consecutive weeks. If they are able to win one or both of those, the Rockets might not have to settle for getting into this game by virtue of the American Athletic Conference coming up short on bowl-eligible teams.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

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    North Texas vs. UNLV

    When: Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ET

    Where: Honolulu, Hawaii

    TV: ESPN


    North Texas (6-3) is making a heck of a first impression in Conference USA, knocking off division leader Rice on Thursday to forge a three-way tie atop the West. If the Mean Green win out, they could get into the C-USA title game if Rice beats Tulane later this season. But for now, look for the former Sun Belt powers to make their first bowl trip since 2004 in Hawaii.

    UNLV (5-4) just needs one more win to get into its first bowl since 2000 and for just the fifth time ever, but that win will either need to come at home against Utah State or San Diego State or at Air Force. All of those are doable, but considering the Runnin' Rebels' history, they could also drop all three and miss out on the postseason.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Buffalo vs. North Carolina

    When: Dec. 26, 6 p.m. ET

    Where: Detroit, Mich.

    TV: ESPN


    Buffalo (6-2) still has its three toughest Mid-American opponents remaining, but two of those are at home. Winning at least one of those three games, along with beating a winless Miami (Ohio) squad, will ensure that the Bulls make a bowl game—preferably this one that is not far from home.

    North Carolina (3-5) was left for dead after a 1-5 start, especially with that fifth loss coming via a blown lead at home against unbeaten Miami. But with back-to-back wins bringing the Tar Heels some confidence—not to mention a favorable schedule in which every remaining game is very winnable—expect this team that entered the season with a lot of potential to finally live up to it.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

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    Utah State vs. Notre Dame

    When: Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET

    Where: San Diego, Calif.

    TV: ESPN


    Utah State (5-4) has survived the loss of its best player and now has a very good shot of finishing with eight victories. The Aggies could even make the Mountain West title game if Boise were to lose another game. For now though, look for them to head to San Diego to face a very unlikely opponent.

    Notre Dame (7-2) is going to end up in a matchup like this unless it can win out and climb high enough in the BCS standings, which is very possible with games left to play against BYU and Stanford. But if that doesn't happen, the Fighting Irish will have to take whatever is left over when the dust has settled, which is likely this game, because Army isn't likely to win its last three to fill its commitment here.

Northrop Grunman Military Bowl

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    Middle Tennessee vs. Boston College

    When: Dec. 27, 2:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Annapolis, Md.

    TV: ESPN


    Middle Tennessee (5-4) has no challenges left on its schedule, but with two league losses already, the Blue Raiders aren't likely to get a shot at the Conference USA title game. But going 8-4 in its first season since moving from the Sun Belt has been considered a major success in Murfreesboro, especially if the year also includes a strong showing against an ACC opponent.

    Boston College (4-4) moved back into the bowl picture with its home win over a floundering Virginia Tech team on Saturday. Now, they head to woeful New Mexico State, an almost automatic victory that would put the Eagles in position to make the postseason with just one more victory in their final three contests.

Texas Bowl

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    Nebraska vs. Kansas State

    When: Dec. 27, 6 p.m. ET

    Where: Houston, Tex.

    TV: ESPN


    Nebraska (6-2) was a Hail Mary away from having its season fall to pieces. But even with their last-second win over Northwestern, the Cornhuskers have an uphill battle to keep this year from being a disappointment, with Michigan and Michigan State up next.

    Kansas State (4-4) has two winnable games left on its schedule, at least, so the Wildcats are going to make a bowl. Whether it's better than this low-end journey to Houston will depend on if it can knock off a big foe like Oklahoma or this week's opponent, Texas Tech.

Fight Hunger Bowl

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    BYU vs. Oregon State

    When: Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. ET

    Where: San Francisco, Calif.

    TV: ESPN


    BYU (6-2) isn't in the BCS standings, but even if it slips in there, the Cougars are going to get shut out, because they already agreed to play in San Francisco as part of a prearranged deal to avoid being left in the cold without a conference bowl affiliation. That is too bad, because with games at Wisconsin and BYU left on the schedule, a 10-2 BYU team—not to mention its voracious fan base—could have been a very enticing option.

    Oregon State (6-3) has gone from a dark horse to take the Pac-12's North Division and get into the BCS to just another part of the pack after back-to-back home losses to Stanford and USC. The Beavers could very well lose their remaining three games (at Arizona State, vs. Washington, at Oregon) and fall even further than this slot.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

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    Cincinnati vs. West Virginia

    When: Dec. 28, 12 p.m. ET

    Where: Bronx, NY

    TV: ESPN


    Cincinnati (6-2) isn't out of the picture for the American Athletic Conference's BCS bid, and the fact it doesn't have to play UCF could make for some interesting tiebreakers if a bunch of teams end up tied for the top spot with one or two losses. But the Bearcats are most likely going to end up in New York City.

    West Virginia (4-5) put itself back into the conversation for a bowl berth by winning in overtime at TCU on Saturday and now gets Texas at home before finishing up with the Big 12 bottom-feeders (at Kansas, vs. Iowa State). The Mountaineers haven't missed a bowl since 2003.

Belk Bowl

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    Louisville vs. Virginia Tech

    When: Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET

    Where: Charlotte, NC

    TV: ESPN


    Louisville (7-1) can still get into the BCS, but it needs to have Houston beat UCF on Saturday and then beat Houston itself later this season. The Cardinals will either be playing in the Orange Bowl or drop down to something like this tussle with a relatively close foe that it last faced in the 2006 Gator Bowl.

    Virginia Tech (6-3) has fallen hard the last two weeks, going from possibly contending for an ACC title-game bid to now just trying to avoid playing a bottom-of-the-barrel bowl. The Hokies are going to need to get their offense in order if they want to finish strong.

Russell Athletic Bowl

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    Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    Georgia Tech vs. Houston

    When: Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. ET

    Where: Orlando, Fla.

    TV: ESPN


    Georgia Tech (6-3) still has Clemson and Georgia left on the schedule, so where the Yellowjackets end up is still very fluid. But they're playing better now and could win the Georgia game (along with one against FCS Alabama A&M) to make it to eight victories, which would probably put them in Orlando.

    Houston (7-1) could be in Florida for a different bowl game, representing the American Athletic Conference in the Orange Bowl if it knocks off UCF this week and wins at Louisville later on. For now though, slot the Cougars into this interesting matchup, pitting their potent pass atttack against a very dynamic run game.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    Minnesota vs. Oklahoma

    When: Dec. 28, 10:15 p.m. ET

    Where: Tempe, Ariz.

    TV: ESPN


    Minnesota (7-2) escaped Indiana with a win on Saturday, setting it up for the Golden Gophers to have the Big Ten's hierarchy be determined by them with games against Michigan State and Wisconsin to end the season. Minnesota has played spirited ball ever since coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence to treat his epilepsy.

    Oklahoma (7-1) is slotted down this far because, well, someone among the Big 12's quintet of powers has to. The Sooners visit Baylor on Saturday and still have Oklahoma State to play, so they could easily move up the ladder if they take both of those. The BCS is still very much in play.

Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl

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    Colorado State vs. Navy

    When: Dec. 30, 11:45 a.m. ET

    Where: Fort Worth, Texas

    TV: ESPN


    Colorado State (4-5) is in a bit of a pickle after being unable to knock off Boise State at home on Saturday. By adding a 13th game as compensation for playing at Hawaii, the Rams need to win seven games to be bowl-eligible. That will mean needing to win three-of-four to end the season, but it's doable against a slate that includes three teams with three or fewer losses, two of which will be at home.

    Navy (4-4) didn't beat Notre Dame, but it played well enough to make it very likely that the Midshipmen will win two or three against a slate of Hawaii, South Alabama, San Jose State and Army.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

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    Ole Miss vs. Maryland

    When: Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m. ET

    Where: Nashville, Tenn.

    TV: ESPN


    Ole Miss (5-3) will become bowl-eligible by Nov. 16 at the latest, as home games with Arkansas and Troy are up next before a tough finish against Missouri and at Mississippi State. The Rebels can still finish a little higher up in the SEC's bowl lineup, but that might require at least eight victories to do so.

    Maryland (5-3) has the talent to win each of its remaining four games, but they also have the injury situation that could lead to all of them ending as losses. Expect the Terrapins to knock off at least one more, earning them a trip to Nashville in Randy Edsall's third season.


Valero Alamo Bowl

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    Arizona State vs. Texas

    When: Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. ET

    Where: San Antonio, Tex.

    TV: ESPN


    Arizona State (6-2) is on a collision course for its Nov. 23 game at UCLA, which as of now, will determine the Pac-12's South champ and the team that will get to try and take down Oregon or Stanford to get into the Rose Bowl. Even without a rosy finish, the Sun Devils are going to head to a good bowl game and will be a challenge for whomever they face.

    Texas (6-2) still has three biggies left, starting with Nov. 17 against Oklahoma State before finishing with Texas Tech and Baylor. The team that long ago was 1-2 and headed backwards is in complete control of its destiny, and the Longhorns could easily be atop the Big 12 when everything is said and done.

National University Holiday Bowl

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Texas Tech vs. UCLA

    When: Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. ET

    Where: San Diego, Calif.

    TV: ESPN


    Texas Tech (7-2) has gone from a surprising unbeaten to just another good team with two losses, and the Red Raiders could fall further with games remaining against Baylor and Texas. Expect at least eight victories though, with a nice reward of a trip to San Diego for Kliff Kingsbury in his first season.

    UCLA (6-2) is showing a lot of rust left over from the two-week headache that was playing at (and losing to) Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back games. The Bruins haven't been the same in a while, and with a game at Arizona on Saturday looming large, they could fall even further. Though playing in the Rose Bowl is still a strong possibility, UCLA might instead have to head south for its bowl.

AdvoCare V100 Bowl

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    Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

    Mississippi State vs. Syracuse

    When: Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Shreveport, La.

    TV: ESPN


    Mississippi State (4-4) is not a lock to play in this (or any bowl), as its last four games are all potential losses. The Bulldogs play at Texas A&M and Arkansas and host Alabama and Ole Miss, an end-of-season stretch that will make or break them and possibly determine coach Dan Mullen's fate.

    Syracuse (4-4) rose into bowl contention with an impressive home shutout of Wake Forest, but the Orange still have work to do. They will be on the road at Maryland and Florida State before finishing at home with Pittsburgh and Boston College, meaning the Orange might have to win two straight in the Carrier Dome just to become eligible.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Duke vs. Arizona

    When: Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET

    Where: El Paso, Texas

    TV: CBS


    Schools much more known for their basketball prowess could meet along the border in a battle of teams having breakout seasons.

    Duke (6-2) is bowl-eligible for a second-straight season, a first in school history. But the Blue Devils lost their last five to end the 2012 season, so for them to get to this game, they'll need to finish strong against a schedule that features three games with in-state rivals and a chance to knock off a beaten-up Miami (Fla.) team.

    Arizona (6-2) will be bowling for the second year in a row under Rich Rodriguez, the first coach in school history to lead the Wildcats to postseason appearances in both of his first two seasons. The Wildcats feature the nation's top running back in Ka'Deem Carey and a rising dual-threat quarterback in B.J. Denker. And with home games against UCLA and Oregon this month, they've got a shot to have a big impact on the Pac-12 standings.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

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    Florida vs. East Carolina

    When: Dec. 31, 4 p.m. ET

    Where: Memphis, Tenn.

    TV: ESPN


    It's very unlikely that Florida (4-4) will fail to reach six wins since it has games with Vanderbilt and FCS Georgia Southern still on the home schedule. But whether the Gators will go higher than that depends on if they can summon the same kind of effort they showed Saturday against Georgia for their remaining games against South Carolina and Florida State.

    East Carolina (6-2) is on the easier side of Conference USA, but the Pirates can't lock up a trip to the league title game until their finale at Marshall. Before then, they get to beat up on some C-USA doormats and get another shot to take down a BCS conference foe with a trip to North Carolina State.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

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    South Carolina vs. Miami (Fla.)

    When: Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET

    Where: Atlanta, Ga.

    TV: ESPN


    South Carolina (7-2) will wrap up SEC play early after it hosts Florida on Nov. 16, and with a win in that one, the Gamecocks will have to sit back and see if Missouri and Georgia lose more games and give the East Division title to them. But South Carolina also has a big one against Clemson that can impact where it plays its bowl, so there is still a lot left to get sorted out.

    Miami (7-1) is out of the national championship picture after their loss to Florida State on Saturday, and the injury to Duke Johnson makes the chances of the Hurricanes getting a BCS at-large bid difficult. They're also no longer a lock to hold onto the ACC's Coastal Division title.

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

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    Georgia vs. Michigan

    When: Jan 1, 12 p.m. ET

    Where: Jacksonville, Fla.

    TV: ESPN2


    Georgia (5-3) might not be in the national title picture anymore, but the Bulldogs still have a lot to play for and could still get into the BCS if the SEC East keeps producing crazy results. As for now though, it looks like the season will end with another visit to the place where it just won.

    Michigan (6-2) is out of the Big Ten title picture with its second league loss, so look for the Wolverines to do no better than the third- or fourth-best spot for the league. The Wolverines could fall even further though, since every game left on the schedule is a possible loss.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

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    Iowa vs. Rice

    When: Jan 1, 12 p.m. ET

    Where: Dallas, Tex.



    Iowa (5-4) could make a bowl without doing anything special—no big wins or bad losses. But the Hawkeyes still have a chance to go off script, possibly losing at Purdue or knocking off Michigan or Nebraska. However, Iowa will most likely finish 6-6.

    Rice (6-3) fell into a three-way tie for the Conference USA West Division lead, going from a shot at the league title to a lower-level bowl slot. But considering this bowl would take place in their home state, that's not such a bad thing. It would probably be preferable to playing in Hawaii or somewhere else far away, where fan support would be minimal compared to in Dallas.

Capital One Bowl

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    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    Missouri vs. Michigan State

    When: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET

    Where: Orlando, Fla.

    TV: ABC


    Missouri (8-1) shook off any hangover from its fall-from-ahead-loss to South Carolina by easily beating Tennessee, and the Tigers remain on pace to win the SEC East. But they've still got to go to Ole Miss and then host Texas A&M, with just one loss among those two throwing the East standings into a lurch again. The Tigers could rise or fall a lot between now and BCS Selection Day.

    Michigan State (8-1) is the frontrunner for the Big Ten Legends title and has a chance to knock off Ohio State. But the Spartans have a very tough road still ahead, starting with Saturday's trip to Nebraska. With the defense they've been playing though, no game is unwinnable.

Outback Bowl

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    LSU vs. Wisconsin

    When: Jan. 1, 11 p.m. ET

    Where: Tampa, Fla.

    TV: ESPN

    LSU (7-2) still has its eyes on a BCS bid, whether it be as an at-large team or through a very complicated (yet still plausible) scenario in which it wins the SEC West and takes the league's automatic bid. But the Tigers still have Alabama and Texas A&M to deal with, so let's not get too ahead of ourselves. For now, LSU is third or fourth on the SEC bowl list.

    Wisconsin (6-2) is doing everything it can to get into the BCS at-large conversation, steamrolling through everyone in the Big Ten other than Ohio State. Going 10-2 would make the Badgers a very attractive choice if enough teams above them fall, but they've got a tough non-league home game against a hot BYU team this weekend that could derail everything.

AT&T Cotton Bowl

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    Auburn vs. Oklahoma State

    When: Jan 3, 7:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Arlington, Tex.

    TV: FOX


    Auburn (8-1) is a Miss America runner-up of sorts when it comes to the BCS. The Tigers are probably first in line to step into an at-large bid if one of the current projected participants is unable to fulfill their duties. However, Auburn can still force its way into the picture if it continues to win out, especially if it were to beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

    Oklahoma State (7-1) still hasn't figured out its quarterback situation, but it might not need to with how its running the ball and playing on defense. The Cowboys still have that hard-to-explain loss at West Virginia to dwell on, but with games yet to be played against Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas, they have as much of a say on the Big 12 title as anyone.

BBVA Compass Bowl

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Tennessee vs. Rutgers

    When: Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET

    Where: Birmingham, Ala.

    TV: ESPN


    It's quite ambitious to project Tennessee (4-5) as a bowl participant with it currently holding a losing record and with a red-hot Auburn team coming into town this weekend. But the Volunteers end with Vanderbilt at home and a trip to Kentucky, both winnable games that would earn Butch Jones a 13th game in his first season. That would spell success.

    Rutgers (5-3) should still win seven games, though its lackluster performance against a one-win Temple squad on Saturday makes even that an uncertainty. The Scarlet Knights would be the fifth American Athletic Conference team to be eligible if they finish 7-5, which means getting to tussle with a low-end SEC team.

GoDaddy Bowl

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    Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana-Monroe

    When: Jan. 5, 9 p.m. ET

    Where: Mobile, Ala.

    TV: ESPN


    Northern Illinois (9-0) has fallen behind Fresno State in the standings, which would knock the Huskies out of the BCS conversation and down to this woefully less-glamorous visit to Mobile against a team no better than a middle-of-the-pack Mid-American team. It would be a sad end to a great career for electric quarterback Jordan Lynch, but so it goes for the non-automatic qualifiers.

    Louisiana-Monroe (5-4) has jumped up to second in the Sun Belt, as the league continues to have its home teams lose most games. The Warhawks' impressive win at Troy on Thursday was made possible by quarterback Kolton Browning's five touchdown passes. If he were matched up with NIU's Lynch, it could make for one of the highest-scoring bowl games not involving Baylor.

Vizio Rose Bowl

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    Stanford vs. Ohio State

    When: Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET

    Where: Pasadena, Calif.

    TV: ESPN


    Stanford (7-1) is slotted into this game as the de facto Pac-12 representative by virtue of Oregon being in the BCS title game. But if Oregon were to fall out of the top two, the Cardinal would lose this spot to the Ducks. However, the most likely way Oregon would drop from second would be due to a loss to Stanford, something that can happen when the teams meet Thursday in Palo Alto, Calif.

    Ohio State (9-0) has done everything it could over the past two weeks to beef up its BCS resume, short of keeping starters in all game for a chance to hit triple-digits. But wins by 49 and 56 points, respectively, don't mean much when the opponents aren't that solid, and the Buckeyes' next two foes (at Illinois, vs. Indiana) aren't any better. OSU is kind of stuck in limbo until the Michigan finale and the Big Ten title game.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

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    Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

    Baylor vs. Fresno State

    When: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Glendale, Ariz.

    TV: ESPN


    Where Baylor (7-0) ends up will be heavily influenced by how it fares in Thursday's showdown with Oklahoma. But with the Bears have still yet to play Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech, and they probably have the most uncertain future of all the BCS contenders. Baylor could end up anywhere from the national championship game to the Big 12's fourth- or fifth-best bowl slot, but for now, the team is slotted for a trip to the desert.

    Fresno State (8-0) got enough of a boost from the voters and computers via its win over Nevada to slip past Northern Illinois for the top ranking of a non-automatic qualifier, but it's unclear if the Bulldogs' remaining schedule will provide enough oomph to stay there if both they and the Huskies remain unbeaten. A lot will depend on who each would play in their respective conference title games.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Texas A&M vs. Clemson

    When: Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Where: New Orleans, La.

    TV: ESPN


    College football wants Johnny Manziel in the BCS, but for that to happen, Texas A&M (7-2) is probably going to need to win out, which means winning at LSU and Missouri back-to-back to end the regular season. That's no easy task, but if the Aggies can pull it off, they'll be more than deserving of a BCS bid and might even get one with one more loss if they stay high enough in the rankings.

    Clemson (8-1) can count on a trip to the Big Easy if it wins out, too, though that means winning at South Carolina to end the year. The Tigers won't make the ACC title game, unless Florida State decides not to play its last two league games. So to get to the BCS, it will require Clemson to beat everyone left on the schedule. Look out for a tricky visit from Georgia Tech on Nov. 14 though.

Discover Orange Bowl

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    Florida State vs. Central Florida

    When: Jan. 3, time TBD

    Where: Miami, Fla.

    TV: ESPN


    After just whooping the team that normally plays in this stadium, the last thing Florida State (8-0) wants is to have to end its season there, mostly because it means the Seminoles missed out on the title game. But that's where FSU sits unless something changes above them in the standings. The Seminoles will face a middling Florida in the regular season finale and likely Miami (Fla.) again the ACC championship. But as things stand, that won't be enough to get to No. 2 in the BCS standings.

    Central Florida (6-1) is the American Athletic Conference qualifier...for now. Whether the Knights are still that pick to click next week depends on how they do Saturday against fellow league unbeaten Houston. Win that one, and UCF can start planning a trip down south for early January. Lose it, and the AAC gets muddled.

Vizio BCS National Championship

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Alabama vs. Oregon

    When: Jan. 6, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Where: Pasadena, Calif.

    TV: ESPN


    If there was a way to write Alabama (8-0) into this game in the computer version of permanent ink, we'd do that. The Crimson Tide are locked into the title game as long as they continue to win, though it has an actual challenge this week with LSU coming into Tuscaloosa. But if Alabama loses, will it be able to hold off the many challengers itching for a BCS title-game slot?

    Oregon's (8-0) placement in this game is hanging by a thread. And with Thursday's trip to Stanford looming large, this could either be the end of the Ducks' hold on the No. 2 slot or a way for them to further strengthen how deserving the best of the West is.