BCS Rankings 2013 Week 15: Bowl Projections After Latest Standings

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on against the Michigan Wolverines during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If you think Saturday’s college football action was nerve-inducing, hold on tight for the next week of politicking and narrative spinning after the Week 15 BCS Standings were released. 

Here are the latest rankings:

Week 15 BCS Standings
RankingTeamAverage
1Florida State.9948
2Ohio State.9503
3Auburn.9233
4Alabama.8539
5Missouri.8428
6Oklahoma State.7629
7Stanford.7069
8South Carolina.7037
9Baylor.6623
10Michigan State.6529
11Arizona State.5833
12Oregon.5321
13Clemson.5201
14Northern Illinois.4812
15LSU.4213
16Central Florida.3858
17Oklahoma.3808
18UCLA.3506
19Louisville.2630
20Duke.2252
21Wisconsin.1988
22Georgia.1143
23Fresno State.1006
24Texas A&M.0995
25Texas.0666
ESPN.com

 

 

The most noteworthy thing from the poll is the fact that Ohio State is currently sitting in the No. 2 position. If the season ended today, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes would face off with No. 1 Florida State for the national championship, but unfortunately for Buckeye Nation that isn’t the case just yet.

The No. 3 Auburn Tigers, who are clearly the SEC’s best chance to continue its streak of championships considering where the rankings stand as of now, are breathing down the Buckeyes’ collective necks. Ohio State holds a tenuously narrow .027 margin over Auburn in the BCS average. 

However, that lead could change even if both teams win their respective conference title clashes. College football—rife with controversy, controlling media interests and politicking—is funny that way. Just ask Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated.

Ultimately, these standings are building toward the final year of the BCS bowls as we know them. There are 10 open BCS slots, and the outcome of the upcoming conference championship games will play a major role in who fills them.

Here are the latest projections after the most recent BCS standings:

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl GameTeamConferenceTeamConference
National Championship GameFlorida StateACCOhio StateBig Ten
Rose BowlMichigan StateBig TenStanfordPac-12
Orange BowlOregonPac-12AlabamaSEC
Fiesta BowlOklahoma StateBig 12Northern IllinoisMAC
Sugar BowlMissouriSECCentral FloridaAmerican Athletic Conference
Projections are solely personal opinion

The national title projection between the top two ranked teams speaks for itself, but let’s dig into some of the other predictions in more detail.

 

Rose Bowl

No bowl game loves its tradition more than the Rose Bowl, and it will get its desired Big Ten versus Pac-12 matchup even after the conference championship dust settles.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Head Coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal reacts to an official's personal foul call against his team for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the third quarter at Stanford Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Palo Alto, Cali
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stanford will beat Arizona State for the second time this season in the Pac-12 title clash, but Michigan State’s spot in the game is much more tenuous. The Spartans will lose to the Buckeyes in a tightly contested battle and remain in the Top 14 of the final standings. 

That is all the Rose Bowl will need to get its desired game.

 

Orange Bowl

Outside of Ohio State and of course Auburn, nobody benefited more from the Tigers’ upset victory against Alabama more than the Orange Bowl.

The bowl game will select the Crimson Tide as an at-large candidate and immediately have what could be the marquee game of the entire bowl season outside of the title contest. It’s not the game Alabama wanted, but Nick Saban will have his squad ready to go for a BCS showdown.

Many, including Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, believe that Clemson will be the team facing Alabama in the Orange Bowl. However, the thought process here is that the Oregon and Alabama matchup so many have been clamoring for in the national championship game the past few years will be too tempting to pass up. 

Not to mention, after getting blown out by Florida State and handled easily by South Carolina, Clemson isn’t exactly trending in the right direction against marquee teams.

 

Fiesta Bowl

Of every BCS bowl, the Fiesta Bowl may be the most straightforward.

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Mike Gundy, head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, calls a play against the Texas Longhorns during a game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State won the game 38-13.
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Big 12 champion is automatically slotted here, which explains Oklahoma State’s presence. Northern Illinois will be the Cowboys’ opponent for the simple fact that the Fiesta Bowl is last in the pecking for at-large selections.

Fair or not, the Huskies from the MAC will be the least attractive selection of the at-large pool, which will leave the Fiesta Bowl with no choice when it is time to pick.

 

Sugar Bowl

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29:  The Central Florida Knights mascot performs against the South Florida Bulls during the first half of the game at Bright House Networks Stadium on November 29, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Perhaps you noticed Auburn missing from the BCS bowl projections.

After what is sure to be an entire week of handwringing and politicking, the Tigers will be distracted and fall to Missouri in the SEC championship game. The Tigers of Missouri will find themselves in the Sugar Bowl as the SEC champions. Not bad for a program that was considered a Big 12 outsider to the mighty SEC a mere two years ago.

Missouri’s opponent will be Central Florida from the American Conference. The Knights are close enough geographically that selecting them over Northern Illinois from the MAC makes the most sense for the Sugar Bowl.