BCS and January Bowl Projections: Round Two
As we saw yesterday, a lot can change in a week, with many BCS bowl contenders falling, opening the door for others to possibly squeak into the BCS.
BCS National Championship: Florida vs. Texas
I firmly believe that Texas is the best team in the nation. Their week schedule might come back to haunt them in the National Championship, but there is no reason to believe they won't get there. Florida, on the other hand, is playing very good football right now and looks like it will be the SEC champion. And we've known from day one that the SEC champion is basically locked to the National Championship this season.
FedEx Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech and Cincinnati
Both teams will receive automatic bids for winning their respective conferences. Georgia Tech has locked up the ACC Atlantic, but needs to look out against a feisty Clemson team that has a shot at knocking them off in the ACC Championship Game. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is projected to be the Big East champion, but has got to be careful after almost losing to West Virginia. The Bearcats get Pitt in a couple weeks, and that game will decide the Big East Championship.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Iowa vs. Boise State
Most "experts" expected Iowa to be blown out of the Horseshoe on Saturday playing with a back-up quarterback who was making his first start. But the Hawkeyes were very impressive, falling only in overtime 27-24. Since no Big 12 team is projected available as a replacement pick, the Fiesta Bowl will select Iowa as their first at-large team because of the Hawkeyes' rabid fan base and alumni base in Arizona. Boise State was helped by USC's loss to Stanford, which knocked the Trojans out of BCS contention, and may have paved the way for a second non-Big Six team to reach the BCS.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. TCU
The SEC championship game loser is locked to the Sugar Bowl since it gets a replacement pick due to one SEC team being in the National Championship. TCU continues to impress week after week. This week, they demolished Utah 55-28, and while a National Championship still isn't likely, the Horned Frogs have played their way into the conversation if Texas is to lose. But the Sugar Bowl isn't a bad consolation prize, and TCU will try to become the second Mountain West team in as many years to knock off Alabama in New Orleans.
Rose Bowl presented by Citi: Ohio State vs. Oregon
I was about to choose Stanford for this game, but since Oregon controls its own destiny, I decided to go with the Ducks. But Arizona and Stanford are right on their heels. Arizona will probably lose to USC so they won't be an issue, but Stanford holds the tiebreaker against Oregon. Stanford needs to win out, and Oregon needs to lose a game, but the Ducks need to be extremely careful. Last year, they ruined Oregon State's Rose Bowl chances in Corvales, and the Beavers would like nothing less than to ruin Oregon's this year in Eugene. And they definitely are capable of pulling it off. But with all the drama in the Pac-10 comes an easy pick in the Big Ten. Ohio State is almost certainly locked to the Rose Bowl after beating Iowa at home this past weekend.
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Auburn
This was an easy choice from the Big 12, as Oklahoma State is clearly the second best team in that conference. But this was a much harder pick from the muddled SEC. Outside of Florida, Alabama, and LSU, the conference is extremely average at best, even though it might kill SEC fans to hear that. This pick basically comes down to Auburn and Ole Miss, and since Ole Miss played here last year, the Tigers get the nod.
Konica Gator Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
Notre Dame will likely receive a bid to this game if they win out, but I don't see that happening, as they still must play red hot Stanford. In that case, Pitt, the Big East runner-up, would play in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech. Miami looked to have a solid case for this game until Saturday's loss to North Carolina. That makes room for the Hokies to move back up in the bowl pecking order.
Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs. LSU
LSU is basically locked to the Capital One Bowl, the SEC's best bowl outside of the BCS games, if they win out. And even though the Tigers will likely be ranked in the Top 14, only two teams from each conference are allowed to play in BCS bowls. The Capital One Bowl will likely have either Penn State or Wisconsin to choose from, as Iowa will probably go to a BCS bowl. If the Hawkeyes don't go to the BCS, they will be the probable choice for this game because of their history with LSU in Orlando. But out of Penn State and Wisconsin, the Capital One Bowl will likely choose Penn State because of their great traveling fan base.
Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Georgia
Wisconsin will likely be the last of the 10-2 Big Ten teams that will be left and will be a lock for this game. Georgia, on the other hand, definitely helped itself last week with a win over Auburn. The Bulldogs have had an extremely disappointing season to date, but a win over the Tigers puts them in good position to play in this game. Their only opponent for this spot is Tennessee, who definitely did not help themselves this week with a 42-17 loss to Ole Miss.
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