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:
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.
It's the coaches poll. If it comes down to it next week, don't put it past a few SEC coaches voting OSU No. 4.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 1, 2013
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:
|National Championship Game||Florida State||ACC||Ohio State||Big Ten|
|Rose Bowl||Michigan State||Big Ten||Stanford||Pac-12|
|Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma State||Big 12||Northern Illinois||MAC|
|Sugar Bowl||Missouri||SEC||Central Florida||American 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.
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.
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.
Outside of Ohio State and of course Auburn, nobody benefited more from the Tigers’ upset victory against Alabama more than the Orange Bowl.
Who should the Orange Bowl take?
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.
Of every BCS bowl, the Fiesta Bowl may be the most straightforward.
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.
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.