A handful of losses among last week’s top 12 have shaken things up in the BCS picture, and provided a few teams with added hope for a BCS bid.
A blowout loss to Oklahoma dropped the previously 12th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys down to No. 16, and out of the BCS picture entirely.
Additionally, losses by Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech this weekend have hurt each team’s chances for an at-large bid, and will put more pressure on them to win their respective conferences. The Yellow Jackets will have to beat Clemson in the ACC championship game next week, and the Panthers have an end-of-season meeting with No. 5 Cincinnati to decide the Big East champion.
In order to be eligible for an at-large bid into one of the BCS bowls, a team must finish the season ranked in the top 12 of the BCS poll. With the losses, both Penn State and Virginia Tech have been pushed into eligibility, taking the 11th and 12th spots respectively.
Another bit of intrigue added to the picture thanks to Oklahoma State’s fall, is that the Fiesta Bowl could feature a battle of two at-large bids. The Big XII champion is typically selected to participate in the Fiesta Bowl, but Texas is likely headed to the BCS Championship, and no other Big XII member is eligible for an at-large.
If the projected conference champions hold up, then Florida and Texas will play in the BCS Championship, the Rose Bowl will see Ohio State and Oregon face off, Alabama will host the Sugar Bowl, Georgia Tech will host the Orange Bowl, and the Fiesta will have to pick two teams from among the remaining automatic qualifiers, Cincinnati and TCU, and the eligible at-large teams.
With this scenario, the at-large teams to be chosen from for all remaining bowl bids will be No. 6 Boise State, No. 9 Iowa, No. 11 Penn State, and No. 12 Virginia Tech.
However, this situation is hardly settled.
- Florida and Alabama still have to play the SEC championship game, which will essentially earn the winner an automatic bid to the BCS Championship Game.
- Texas still has to beat Nebraska in the Big XII championship, and will steal an at-large bid if they should lose and allow Nebraska to take the conference’s automatic bid into the Fiesta Bowl. A Longhorns loss would also allow TCU or possibly an undefeated Cincinnati into the BCS Title Game.
- Cincinnati could also steal an at-large bid, if they were to lose to Pittsburgh this weekend. The Panthers can tie Cincinnati by beating them, and would get the Big East’s automatic bid with the tie-breaker, leaving Cincy 11-1 and likely still eligible for an at-large bid.
- Georgia Tech and Clemson will play the ACC Championship for the league’s automatic bid. However, if the Yellow Jackets lose, neither team will finish in the top 12 so it’s the automatic bid or nothing for both teams.