College Football: BCS Bowl Projections, Week 8
Following last weekend's games, the first BCS rankings of the season were released and as usual, disagreements abounded.
Oklahoma, one of the nine remaining undefeated teams, topped the first poll, with Oregon and Boise State nipping at the Sooners' heels.
And as usual, the top ten BCS teams will change significantly before the nation's top two teams face off January 10, 2011.
Here's how I see the BCS playing out this season.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (Big 12) Vs. TCU (At-Large)
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While the Oklahoma Sooners begin the BCS season as the nation's top-ranked team, they will have a very tough time staying there.
With road tests against No. 11 Missouri and No. 14 Oklahoma State still left on the schedule, as well as a probable matchup with No. 16 Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game, seeing Bob Stoops and Co. finishing the season undefeated is highly unlikely.
As for TCU, a road matchup with No. 9 Utah is the only major test standing between the Horned Frogs and a second consecutive trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma ranks No. 17 in the nation with 458.3 yards of total offense per game and TCU allows only 9.3 points per game, the lowest mark in the country, so expect a great head-to-head battle when the Sooners have the ball.
FedEx Orange Bowl: Auburn (At-Large) Vs. Florida State (ACC)
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If you look up the word "vindication" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Auburn head coach Gene Chizik just grinning at you.
In just his second season in War Eagle territory, Chizik has the Tigers undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the BCS behind the stellar play of resurgent quarterback Cameron Newton.
Unfortunately for the Blue and Orange, their SEC and national championship hopes will come to an end in the Iron Bowl, but they will get a nice consolation prize in an Orange Bowl berth to play the ACC-champion Florida State Seminoles.
The 'Noles have had a great season under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher so far, dropping only one game to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners on the road in Norman.
Additionally, Florida State's two toughest remaining ACC games against Clemson and North Carolina are both at Doak Campbell Stadium.
With two great, close-by football programs playing in Miami, the FedEx Orange Bowl should see a great fan turnout from the folks at Auburn and Florida State.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama (SEC) Vs. West Virginia (Big East)
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The Alabama Crimson Tide will end up winning their second consecutive conference title, but they will be the first SEC champ not to advance to the BCS National Championship Game since the Georgia Bulldogs in 2005.
The 2010 regular season will end with multiple undefeated teams all vying for chance to go to Glendale and while a one-loss 'Bama carries a lot of clout, the BCS will instead opt for two unbeaten teams.
Yet, despite their disappointment, Nick Saban will make sure that the Tide come out fired up instead of playing poorly like they did in their last Sugar Bowl appearance against the Utah Utes in 2009.
And the team that will get to face the wrath of national championship-denied team will be West Virginia.
Clearly the class of the Big East, the Mountaineers will come in ready to face a quality SEC team after nearly knocking off the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge earlier this season.
Led by a defense that is surrendering only 12.3 points per game (the nation's third-best mark), West Virginia will have their hands full stopping Alabama's dynamic running back duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
Rose Bowl Game Presented By Vizio: Stanford (Pac 10) Vs. Michigan State (Big 10)
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When the No. 2 Oregon Ducks defeated the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal 52-31, it was, for all intents and purposes, the de facto Pac-10 Championship Game.
And since the Ducks will be pursuing their first national championship in school history, Stanford will fill the Pac-10 slot in the Rose Bowl Game.
Jim Harbaugh's team, led by star quarterback Andrew Luck, has become one of the nation's best offensive teams, ranking fifth nationally with 43.4 points per game.
And trying to stop that prolific attack will be surprise Big Ten champion No. 7 Michigan State.
The Spartans haven't been the best team in their conference this season, but with victories over Notre Dame, Michigan, and No. 13 Wisconsin, they have played their best football when it was needed most.
Boasting an offense that scores 34.4 points per game and a defense that yields only 16.6 points per game, Michigan State is a very good and balanced football team.
Add that to their desire to play their best for head coach Mark Dantonio, who suffered a heart attack following the Notre Dame game, and you have a group of guys that are very tough to beat.
BCS National Championship Game: Oregon (No. 1) Vs. Boise State (No. 2)
At the end of the season, Supwitchugirl may want to change the lyrics to "I smell crystal."
The Oregon Ducks have arguably the most explosive offense in college football, leading the nation with 54.3 points per game and ranking third nationally in rushing yards per game (314.8).
But Chip Kelly's team doesn't just outscore its opponents--he shuts them down.
Oregon has only given up an average of 16.3 points per game and is outscoring their opponents by 38 points per game.
However, should they meet Boise State in Glendale in the BCS National Championship Game, the Broncos will give the Ducks their toughest challenge of the season.
Boise State ranks third nationally in points per game (47.5) and points allowed per game (12.3), giving them a 35.2-point average margin of victory.
So, when two teams with blowout potential face each other, something's got to give.
Additionally, the Broncos have had more success in BCS games than Oregon, winning two games in two chances while the Ducks are just 1-1 in two trips.
College football should be so lucky if these two teams face off in biggest game of the season.