With the Week 14 BCS standings officially coming out on Sunday night, the BCS bowl picture has changed quite a bit.
Over the past few seasons, we've seen some incredible upsets in the last few weeks of the season. This past week was certainly no exception, as the Baylor Bears and Oregon Ducks were both beaten quite easily by conference rivals.
Now, with those losses and a surprising jump in the rankings by one team, the stage for the BCS bowl games looks quite different. Below is a look at the most recent BCS standings, followed by the most likely scenarios for each BCS bowl game based off of current rankings and what each team will likely do for the rest of the season.
|Week 14 BCS Rankings|
|Projections for BCS Bowl Games|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||BCS National Championship||Florida State Seminoles|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||Rose Bowl||Stanford Cardinal|
|Clemson Tigers||Orange Bowl||Michigan State Spartans|
|Auburn Tigers||Sugar Bowl||UCF Knights|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||Fiesta Bowl||Northern Illinois Huskies|
The BCS National Championship Game is still preparing for a big-time matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State Seminoles. In order for them to make it to the big game, both teams will have to win out, and it really doesn't matter if the games are ugly.
With Baylor's loss, the Ohio State Buckeyes are now the only other undefeated team coming out of a top-tier conference. Assuming that they're able to keep their impressive win streak alive and pull out a victory in the Big Ten Championship, they will be heading to the Rose Bowl to play the Pac-12 champion.
The Pac-12 Championship Game will likely have the Stanford Cardinal taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils. With Stanford currently ranked higher, it will most likely be the team that takes the conference title.
A game between Braxton Miller and that Stanford defense would be a very intriguing matchup. Both sides bring a lot to the table, but this would certainly be Miller's biggest test by far.
If Florida State goes to the national championship, that would leave its spot as the ACC champions up for grabs in the Orange Bowl. The Clemson Tigers are currently right behind the Seminoles in the standings, which means that they would be the replacements.
As the first at-large bid, we would likely see a Big Ten team, which would either be the Michigan State Spartans or Wisconsin Badgers. Currently, the Spartans are the top team in the Big Ten Legends Division and have one of the best defenses in the nation, allowing just 12.5 points per game.
However, the Spartans will have to play the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game, and if they don't play well, it could be the Badgers who take their spot in the Orange Bowl. Still, I think the Spartans will play well enough to head to the bowl game.
Next up is the Sugar Bowl, which puts the SEC champions against another at-large team. With Alabama heading to the national championship, another SEC school would go in their place, and that team would be either Missouri or Auburn.
Both of those teams will be playing Alabama before the season is over, which makes it tricky to determine which one will go. However, since Auburn is ranked higher in the current rankings, I have them going, at least for now.
As the AAC champions, the UCF Knights would earn an automatic bid to a BCS game, giving them a spot in the Sugar Bowl. They would obviously be big underdogs against Auburn, but we've seen crazier things happen in these games.
Finally, the Fiesta Bowl would feature the Big 12 champion and the last at-large bid. With their big win over Baylor, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are now on top of the conference.
The big jump in the rankings was for the Northern Illinois Huskies, not because of how far they moved up, but because they moved ahead of the Fresno State Bulldogs. This gives them an opportunity to go to the Fiesta Bowl, but if they fall, the Bulldogs will be right there to snatch the bid up.
These are certainly some interesting matchups, and with what we've seen from these teams this season, these games could be very intense.