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Updated BCS Projections and 3 Teams That Could Replace Northern Illinois

Dec 6, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) leaves the field after being defeated by Bowling Green Falcons 47-27 at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Scott CarasikContributor IINovember 27, 2016

Northern Illinois losing in the MAC Championship game means no MACtion in the BCS. It also means that three teams could have legitimate shots at earning the tenth-and-final spot within the BCS bowl arrangement now that the Huskies are out of it.

According to Samuel Chi—Bleacher Report's resident BCS guru—the BCS Bowl Matchups looked like this going into the MAC Championship game:

Projected BCS Bowl Matchups - Pre-MAC Championship Game
BowlMatchup
BCS ChampionshipFlorida State vs. Ohio State
Rose BowlStanford vs. Michigan State
Orange BowlAlabama vs. Oregon
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. Central Florida
Fiesta BowlOklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois
Samuel Chi

However, with the Northern Illinois loss, there's a replacement that needs to be found. At this point, nine spots out of the ten are essentially locked up. The conference champions from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, AAC, ACC and Pac 12 all get a spot.

Then, Alabama, Michigan State and Oregon all make sense due to the immense fanbase of each of those teams, their top-12 standing in the BCS and conference bowl tie-ins. 

So that leaves the SEC Championship game loser, Baylor, South Carolina, the Pac-12 Championship game loser, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, UCLA, Wisconsin and Louisville as the best options remaining.

SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 teams would have to be removed because there can only be two teams from each conference represented in the BCS. Barring an upset in the ACC title game or the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game, the remaining options would be just Louisville, Clemson and Baylor.

 

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Clemson

Projected BCS Bowl Matchups with Clemson
BowlMatchup
BCS ChampionshipFlorida State vs. Ohio State
Rose BowlStanford vs. Michigan State
Orange BowlAlabama vs. Clemson
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. Central Florida
Fiesta BowlOklahoma State vs. Oregon
Oregon slides to the Fiesta Bowl, Clemson plays in the Orange Bowl

Clemson is the team most likely to grab the final BCS spot. Folks will try to look at their two losses as something to disqualify them, but the Tigers are an entertaining team and should be in the top-12 of the BCS after Saturday's action finishes and the Pac-12 championship game drops either Arizona State or Stanford.

After eliminating the teams that would be the third from their conferences, Clemson is a top option. Clemson makes sense for the Orange Bowl because the traditional Orange Bowl tie-ins include an ACC team.

A matchup with Alabama isn't ideal, as Clemson would get destroyed by the SEC power, but BCS bowls mean facing the best talent. Another possibility here could be moving Central Florida from the Sugar Bowl to the Orange Bowl.

However, that would lead to an Alabama-Auburn rematch or a Missouri-Alabama matchup. If it's Alabama and Auburn, it wouldn't make sense to have them face each other again. However, having a conference matchup in a bowl game is unheard of unless it's the National Championship.

 

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 30:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears celebrates a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Baylor

Projected BCS Bowl Matchups with Baylor
BowlMatchup
BCS ChampionshipFlorida State vs. Ohio State
Rose BowlStanford vs. Michigan State
Orange BowlAlabama vs. Baylor
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. Central Florida
Fiesta BowlOklahoma State vs. Oregon
Oregon moves to Fiesta, Baylor plugs into the Orange

Baylor could really show they belong in the BCS if they beat Texas handily. Their addition would move Oregon to the Fiesta Bowl and would create a logical matchup either in the Sugar Bowl with the SEC Champion or the Orange with Alabama.

Baylor's offense needs to be showcased in a BCS bowl, and they might be an even better option than Clemson. They would only have one loss, and it would be against the likely Big 12 champion in Oklahoma State.

The Bears most interesting matchup is easily Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, but that would mean that Oklahoma State would have to move from the Big 12 Champion's tie-in to another bowl. And that hasn't happened in the BCS era.

 

 

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 23:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals throws the ball during the game against the Memphis Tigers at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Louisville

Projected BCS Bowl Matchups with Louisville
BowlMatchup
BCS ChampionshipFlorida State vs. Ohio State
Rose BowlStanford vs. Michigan State
Orange BowlAlabama vs. Louisville
Sugar BowlAuburn vs. Central Florida
Fiesta BowlOklahoma State vs. Oregon
Oregon moves to Fiesta, Louisville plugs into the Orange

The dark horse of all of these teams would be Louisville. In order for the Cardinals to get a berth the powers that be would need to be convinced that they were a better fit for an Orange Bowl berth than a two-loss Clemson team. Baylor would also have to lose for the Cardinals to be a legitimate option.

 

All stats used are either from ESPN or CFBStats.com. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.

Follow @ScottCarasik

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