College Football Bowl Projections: Ohio State, TCU Will Play for Title
Yes, it's early, but it's never too early to talk about BCS bowls.
After three games, we are getting a feel for what teams are and what they are not. We know that injuries and suspensions have affected some teams, and they will get better when those players return.
Other than that, the great teams have been great (Alabama, Ohio State), bad teams awful (you know who you are), and the mediocre...
But some teams remain a mystery (Florida, USC?), so there is more to find out this year.
All that said, let's take a look at where folks will eventually end up.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Florida State Vs. Auburn
December 31, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga.
This bowl pits the No. 2 team in the ACC against either the fourth- or fifth-ranked SEC team.
Why Florida State is here: Even though the Sooners pummeled them by 30 points, the Seminoles bounced back this past weekend with an impressive win over BYU. They will lose to the Hurricanes but beat Clemson head-up to take the No. 2 spot.
Why Auburn is here: Though they narrowly escaped the Clemson game, a win is a win. The problem is, very few of the good teams on their schedule will make the mistakes Clemson made. Auburn will drop to four or five in the conference after losses to South Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama.
What could change: Everything for Auburn; with a few upsets they could win their division, though this is very unlikely.
Prediction: Florida State 31, Auburn 28. Jimbo Fisher ends his first season in style.
Valero Alamo Bowl: Arizona Vs Texas
December 29, 2010, in San Antonio, Tex.
As of this season, the Alamo Bowl will feature the No. 2 team from the Big 12 versus the No. 2 team from the Pac-10, unless one or both of those teams receive a BCS bowl bid.
This bowl is pretty much locked in, unless one of these teams falls apart.
Why Arizona is here: Arizona showed Iowa that the desert heat and great defense are tough to overcome. But unless they can upset the offensive parade of the Oregon Ducks, they will slot into the No. 2 Pac-10 spot.
Why Texas is here: The Longhorns are here because both Oklahoma and Nebraska look as if they are headed to BCS bowls. Unfortunately for Texas, this isn't much of a consolation prize—Arizona will be one of their toughest opponents of the year.
What can change: If Arizona runs the table and things break right, they could end up playing for the national title in their home state. If they beat everyone but Oregon, they might sneak into the BCS. Texas must survive back-to-back games versus Oklahoma and Nebraska to improve their BCS chances.
Prediction: Arizona 24, Texas 21. Desert Swarm II prevails.
Outback Bowl: Michigan Vs. Arkansas
January 1, 2011, in Tampa, Fla.
This game will probably pit the No. 3 team from the Big Ten with either the third-, fourth-, or sometimes fifth-ranked team from the SEC.
Why Michigan is here: Ohio State and Iowa will end up in BCS bowl games, giving the Outback Bowl an opportunity to host Denard Robinson and his merry men. Technically, they would be the fourth-best team from the Big Ten because Wisconsin will end up as the first pick after the BCS takes what it wants.
Why Arkansas is here: The Razorbacks will have a great remainder of the season, but I see them losing to South Carolina, which will slot them right after the Gamecocks.
What can change: Michigan could either upset Ohio State or Iowa or lose to Penn State or Michigan State. That means they could end up as high as the BCS or in a much lower-tiered bowl. The SEC is up for grabs after the Tide rolls.
Prediction: Michigan 27, Arkansas 21. On a national stage, Robinson puts up a performance to start next year's Heisman campaign.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin Vs. LSU
January 1, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.
The Capital One Bowl will pit the Big Ten's No. 2 team vs. the SEC No. 2 team.
Why Wisconsin is here: The Badgers will unfortunately have to play Ohio State and Iowa in back-to-back weeks. Losing those but beating everyone else will make Wisconsin the top choice from the Big Ten after the BCS takes the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes.
Why LSU is here: The defense is looking good and Jordan Jefferson is learning on the job. They should be favored in most, if not all, of their remaining games with the exception of the Alabama game.
What can change: An upset win over Alabama could certainly send the Tigers BCS bowling. If Wisconsin beats Iowa and Ohio State, they will play for the National Title.
Prediction: LSU runs away from Wisconsin, 31-21.
AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic: Oklahoma Vs. South Carolina
January 2, 2011, in Arlington, Tex.
The Cotton Bowl will most likely match the No. 2 team from the Big 12 with the No. 3 team from the SEC.
Why South Carolina is here: The Ole Ball Coach Steve Spurrier is one year away from making a return to BCS play. His running back, Marcus Lattimore, will lead the Gamecocks to the BCS next year. One SEC road loss too many will keep them from playing for bigger stakes.
Why Oklahoma is here: Losing in the Big 12 championship to Nebraska will mean a trip to the historic Cotton Bowl instead of the BCS.
What can change: If Lattimore proves to be unstoppable in the SEC and OU beats the Cornhuskers, both of these teams could be off to bigger games.
Prediction: The freshman beats up the Sooners late in the game to carry home a Gamecocks victory, 24-21.
The Rose Bowl: Oregon Vs. Iowa
January 1, 2011, in Pasadena, Cal.
The best of the Pac-10 versus the best—well, second-best— of the Big Ten.
Why Oregon is here: Because the BCS will find a way to mess things up as usual. A high-powered Ducks team will be undefeated and asking why they aren't in the championship game. No one will know the answer.
Why Iowa is here: They will lose to Ohio State but be the best of the rest in the Big Ten. Contractually, that will get you roses.
What can change: Upsets by higher-ranked teams are Oregon's only hope. Iowa can beat Ohio State and still find themselves playing in the Rose Bowl.
Prediction: Oregon takes out their frustration on the Hawkeyes, 49-31.
The Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska Vs. West Virginia
January 1, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz.
This will be the Big 12's No. 1 team versus the best of the Big East.
Because I hope for anarchy when it comes to the BCS, I hope Nebraska makes it undefeated as well.
Why Nebraska is here: If the Cornhuskers remain dominant but none of the teams ahead of them lose, which is possible since none of them are in the same conference, they will also wonder why they aren't in the BCS National Championship.
Why West Virginia is here: If the Mountaineers make it here, it will be like climbing the mountaintop (pun intended). No more talk of Pat White and Rich Rod.
What can change: Pitt may rise up and beat West Virginia. Or the Blackshirts from Nebraska may riot at BCS headquarters after going undefeated.
Prediction: Nebraska in a romp, 35-14.
The Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Florida
January 3, 2011, in Miami, Fla.
The Orange Bowl takes the ACC No. 1 and pits them against the Gators to guarantee a sellout at the stadium.
Why Miami is here: The 'Canes rebound from the Ohio State beating and salvage the season by winning the division.
Why Florida is here: Because even with a couple of losses, they will be worth the booking for the Orange Bowl folks. And even if they do lose during the year, because they were ranked so high in the preseason, they will still be ranked high enough that the non-SEC fans won't whine too much.
What can change: Not much here, really. If both teams win the games that they should, everyone will be happy with this matchup.
Prediction: The game will be tight throughout, with Jacory Harris and his Hurricanes winning on a last second play, 27-24.
The Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State
January 4, 2011, in New Orleans, La.
The Sugar Bowl pits the SEC's No. 1 team against a BCS at-large, which in this case will be the Broncos.
Why Alabama is here: Though SEC fans will be up in arms and screaming from their rooftops, all it will take is one loss to knock the Tide from the title game. Is it fair? Probably not.
Why Boise State is here: Even though they will finish undefeated, wins against Virginia Tech and Oregon State help very little as both teams go on to have mediocre seasons. And the rest of BSU's schedule? Ugh.
What can change: Alabama can go undefeated, the Hokies and Beavers can start knocking off teams to help BSU out, or the Broncos can lose to Oregon State and get their BCS ticket revoked.
Prediction: Another Cinderella-esque Statue of Liberty play and BSU upset, 31-30.
BCS Championship: Ohio State vs. TCU
January 10, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz.
In the game everyone said wouldn't happen, it's a BCS No. 1 versus a BCS buster!
Why Ohio State is here: Terrell Pryor proves all of his critics wrong and navigates through all the land mines to lead the Buckeyes to the title game.
Why TCU is here: The polls were very, very good to them. Wins over Virginia Tech and Oregon State aren't much help to Boise State's cause, but a win over a highly ranked Utah squad is enough to put the Horned Frogs in over one-loss Alabama and undefeated Nebraska, Boise State and Oregon.
How? Ask the BCS.
What can change: Umm, everything.
Prediction: Pryor turns the ball over one too many times and the BCS buster wins, 31-28!