What a Crazy BCS Year It Will Be!
The system is designed to pick the national championship game, not the other BCS Bowl games. That is left up to the bowls themselves to choose. With Texas almost assured a national title game berth, (barring an unlikely upset), and Florida and Alabama playing in the SEC title game to decide the other national championship participant, where does that leave the four other bowls?
There could be five undefeated teams in the FBS at season's end: Florida/Alabama, Texas, TCU, Boise State, and Cincinnati. While it would be nice to just give them automatic bids into BCS games, it doesn't work that way. When it is all said and done, an undefeated team could be left out of the BCS and sent to play in the Pizza Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.
For a little background on the BCS Bowl games, here is how the BCS conferences are generally slated.
Rose Bowl (Jan. 1): Pac-10 Champion vs. Big 10 Champion
Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1): SEC Champion vs. At-Large (generally Big East Champion)
Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 4): Big 12 Champion vs. At-Large
Orange Bowl (Jan. 5): ACC Champion vs. At-Large
National Championship (Jan. 7): BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2
We know one thing for sure: Ohio State is the Big 10 Champion and will be playing in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl has always kept its tradition of having the Big 10 vs. Pac-10 game. Even when the Big 10 champion was in the national championship in Ohio State, they put Michigan in against USC.
This year will be no different, the winner of the "Civil War Game" this weekend between Oregon and Oregon State will face Ohio State on New Year's Day. I am picking Oregon to take that game for an Ohio State vs. Oregon matchup.
This will be Ohio State's record eighth BCS appearance. They are 4-3 with a 1-2 record in the national championship. This is their 14th Rose Bowl appearance and first since 1997. This will be Oregon's second BCS game and first since their 38-16 win over Colorado in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. This will be the Ducks' fifth Rose Bowl appearance and first since 1995.
For all intensive purposes, we will assume Florida beats Alabama on December 5 in the SEC title game and goes on to play Texas in the national championship in Pasadena on Jan. 7. Two things happen when Texas and Florida go to the national championship game. The Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl open up their guaranteed conference champion slots.
In the past, the Fiesta Bowl has liked Big 10 teams. Ohio State has played in the game three times besides the national title game in 2002. I believe the first at-large slot of the Fiesta Bowl will go to Iowa. They are currently ranked 11th in the BCS. Most people are saying that the Big 10 will get a second BCS team. But the debate is raging as to if it should be Iowa or Penn State.
There are three things weighing against Penn State to be sent to the Capital One Bowl. One, they are ranked lower (13) in the BCS than Iowa. Two, they LOST to Iowa! Three, in the two games that mattered in their schedule against Iowa and Ohio State, they LOST! One thing for them: Jo Pa. I don't feel that that will push them over Iowa. This will be Iowa's second BCS appearance. They lost 38-17 in the 2003 Orange Bowl to USC.
The second Fiesta Bowl at-large bid will be Oklahoma State, if they beat Oklahoma on Saturday. With the Fiesta Bowl being the Big 12's bowl game in the BCS, it will take the next-best Big 12 team. Last year, the Fiesta Bowl chose Texas, being the Big 12 champion, and Big 10 Co-Champion Ohio State. This will be the Cowboys' first BCS game appearance.
Things could change with an Oklahoma State loss. It then opens the door for the undefeated Boise State to play in another Fiesta Bowl. They beat Oklahoma in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl in one of the most memorable BCS games in recent memory.
With the Big East not tied to any specific BCS game, it is kind of up in the air as to where they will be sent. I believe Cincinnati will be undefeated and will be sent to the Sugar Bowl. This will be the second consecutive BCS appearance for the Bearcats. They lost to Virginia Tech 20-7 in last year's Orange Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl is locked into the SEC Champion. But with the SEC Champion going to the national title game with the Gators, it will stick with its SEC tradition and take possibly the second-best team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide. This will be the second BCS appearance for the Tide and first since their 35-34 loss to Michigan in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
The final BCS game to slate is the FedEx Orange Bowl. They are locked into the ACC Champion, who will more than likely be Georgia Tech. They play Clemson in the ACC title game on Dec. 5, but I see the Yellow Jackets walking away victorious. This will be Georgia Tech's first BCS appearance. The last time they played in a bowl game that is now a part of the current BCS slate of games was in 1967, when they lost to Florida 27-12 in the Orange Bowl.
Georgia Tech's opponent will be another at-large team. Between Boise State and TCU and both being undefeated, the nod will go to TCU. They are just a better team than Boise and deserve the BCS game more. They have never played in a BCS game, and the last time they were in a bowl that is now a part of the current BCS bowls was a 40-26 loss to Georgia in the 1942 Orange Bowl.
So to recap:
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Cincinnati
Fiesta Bowl: Iowa vs. Oklahoma State
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. TCU
This will leave out an undefeated Boise State team, which will be tough to swallow for Bronco fans, but sometimes the system doesn't work in your favor.
This is set to be a fun and exciting bowl and BCS season. Things could change before the final games are played on December 5th, but I am confident that things will work out this way.
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