Sugar Bowl 2013: At-Large Teams That Are Candidates to Land in BCS Game

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 7, 2013

Dec 7, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Lacoltan Bester (11) celebrates after the touchdown during the fourth quarter  against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a crazy few weeks in college football, and with just a few conference championships remaining, there are still a number of at-large teams that could theoretically play in the Sugar Bowl.

With Ohio State not playing yet, there's a chance that the winner of the SEC championship game will advance to the BCS National Championship game.  Their automatic spot in the Sugar Bowl would be taken by an SEC replacement, while the other spot would be taken by a team with an at-large bid.

Let's take a look at a few at-large teams that could take that other spot in the Sugar Bowl.


Oregon Ducks (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12)

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks throws a pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the 117th playing of the Civil War on November 29, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

After winning their first eight games of the season, things started to go downhill quickly for the Oregon Ducks, losing two of their next three games.  However, a big 36-35 win over Oregon State kept their BCS chances alive, and now they have a shot to go to the Sugar Bowl.

Offensively, the Ducks have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the country.  They've averaged over 570 total yards and 46.8 points per game, putting them near the top of the nation in both categories.  

Marcus Mariota was a Heisman Trophy front-runner for the majority of the season, but his stock has dropped over the past month.  Still, he's put up nearly 4,000 total yards along with 39 total touchdowns this season, making him one of the most explosive players in the nation.

That offense would certainly be put to the test against an SEC defense, but it would also be a chance for them to prove that they're a top-tier team that can play against the best that conference has to offer.


Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten)

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 30:  Michigan State Spartans players celebrate the victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Spartan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 14-3.  (Photo by Mark A
Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

With eight straight wins and an 11-1 record, the Michigan State Spartans are in great position to make a run at a BCS bowl game, regardless of whether they win or lose against Ohio State on Saturday night.

A win would make the Spartans the Big Ten champions and give them an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. However, if the lose, they can still have an at-large bid as long as they're in the Top 14 of the BCS rankings, and considering how well they've played, that's a very good possibility.

The Spartans have one of the best defenses in the country.  They've held five of their last six opponents to six points or less, allowing just 11.8 per game.  Meanwhile, they're also holding opponents to just 2.2 yards per carry and 237.7 total yards of offense per game.

That defense could hold a lot of offenses around the league, but there wouldn't be a bigger test for the Spartans than an SEC opponent like Auburn, Missouri or Alabama.  There's still a chance they go to the Rose Bowl, but they could also be a nice fit in the Sugar Bowl.


Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

Thanks to a big upset win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Oklahoma Sooners spoiled their rivals' Big 12 title hopes while simultaneously putting themselves in the BCS bowl picture with their biggest win of the year.

As a team, the Sooners average 31.8 points per game thanks to a heavy dose of the running game. They run for 242.3 yards per game, which is the 15th-best in the country, with six Sooners players running for at least 100 yards this season.

The Sooners have a number of big wins this season, including ones against Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Texas Tech.  Losses to Texas and Baylor have hurt them this season, but with three straight wins to end the year, it looks like Oklahoma has a real shot at grabbing an at-large bid.

Still, the real question would be if this team could play at the level of other SEC teams, but considering a team coming out of the Big Ten is being considered as well, I doubt many people would complain if Oklahoma got a bid to the Sugar Bowl.