Chances of Two Big 12 Teams Earning BCS Bowl Bids Are Slim

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Chances of Two Big 12 Teams Earning BCS Bowl Bids Are Slim
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For having zero national title implications, Week 15 in the Big 12 is about as exciting as it can get. 

Three teams will have a chance to win the conference: Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas. The Cowboys, who hold a tiebreaker over the Bears and Longhorns, can win it with a victory in Bedlam over Oklahoma. Baylor and Texas, who play each other, need to win and Oklahoma State would have to lose. 

However the standings finally shake out, though, chances are there's only going to be one BCS bowl berth for the conference: the Fiesta Bowl, which takes the winner of the Big 12. In other words, don't bank on an at-large berth for, say, Oklahoma State or Baylor. 

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It begins with a crowded field atop the BCS rankings with several teams having unofficial relationships with bowls because of conference tie-ins.

While it's a leap of faith to predict who will win in Week 15, the generally accepted BCS National Championship matchup is Florida State and Ohio State. That's what both Jerry Palm of CBS Sports and Brad Edwards of ESPN project. 

Sticking with that scenario, the Orange Bowl, which selects first among BCS bowls, would then have two slots to fill since the ACC champion is playing for the national title. 

The Orange Bowl would basically be the only landing spot for a Big 12 at-large. However, Alabama will be available as will Clemson. Because Clemson is ranked 13th and therefore eligible for an at-large spot, the Orange Bowl would probably select the Tigers to keep the relationship with the ACC alive. 

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The Sugar Bowl will select the SEC champion, either Auburn or Missouri, and the Fiesta Bowl will take the Big 12 champion. UCF out of the American Athletic Conference will likely be selected next-to-last in the at-large pool, putting it in the Sugar. Northern Illinois, assuming it wins the MAC, would be selected last to go to the Fiesta Bowl. 

The Rose Bowl will always stick with the Big Ten and Pac-12 unless there's no realistic scenario where that can happen. Expect Michigan State to play the Pac-12 champion, either Arizona State or Stanford, there. 

The other possibility is that the BCS National Championship does not get the Florida State vs. Ohio State matchup. That could make the odds of an at-large berth for the Big 12 even slimmer. If Duke were to win the ACC championship, for example, it would go to the Orange Bowl and Florida State surely would be selected for an at-large berth. 

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If Michigan State beats Ohio State in the Big Ten title, the Spartans would still end up in the Rose Bowl, but Ohio State would likely be picked up quickly in the at-large pool. Mark Schlabach of ESPN predicts, in that situation, that Baylor would go to the Sugar Bowl. Point being, there are still a lot of different possibilities. 

But the scenario that would most likely result in two Big 12 teams making it to BCS bowls is NIU losing the MAC championship game to Bowling Green. The Huskies have won 23-straight regular-season games. However, the higher-ranked team has lost the MAC title game in three of the past five years. 

The Big 12's BCS at-large hopes aren't dead yet, but there are a couple of things that would need to happen for it to come to fruition. 

 

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. Follow him on Twitter @BenKercheval

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