College Football: BCS Bowl Projections, Week 9

Erik YostCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2010

College Football: BCS Bowl Projections Week Nine

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    Who's No. 1? The question is always a topic for debate every college football when the BCS rankings are finally released. 

    However, much like in 2007, the really question at hand should be who wants to be No. 1. Three teams in the past three weeks have now all held the title of No. 1 and have fallen in defeat. 

    The new edition of the BCS Rankings were released Sunday night and the fourth straight we have a new No. 1, as Auburn has risen to the top followed by Oregon and Boise State to round out the top three. 

    Will Auburn make it through the rest of 2010 unscathed and reach the BCS title game? Here are current BCS Bowl projections for Week 9. 

BCS Championship Game: Oregon vs. Boise State

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    Neither team may be No. 1 in the BCS rankings now, but Oregon and Boise State will both be playing for the crystal football come January in Glendale. 

    The Oregon Ducks were thought to be a Pac-10 contender but with the transfer of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, no one was dreaming of a trip to Arizona.

    But thanks to LaMichael James and Chip Kelly's quick scoring offense, the Ducks now find themselves controlling their own destiny to playing for a National Championship.

    They still have a trip to Tuscon looming against Arizona, who shattered Oregon's BCS hopes in 2007 and the Civil War against Oregon State ahead. But the Ducks have been scoring at will and no team has shown they can contain them. 

    Boise State is one of the most talented teams in the nation, and despite what skeptics say about their schedule, should make a worthy selection for the game.

    They won two showcase games in front of national audiences against Virginia Tech and Oregon State and should remain in the top two in the polls. Outside of a trip to Reno to play Nevada, there is no team that should beat the Broncos. 

    Boise State beat the Ducks 19-8 last year in a game overshadowed by the LaGarrette Blount punch after the game. It would be no less intriguing to see these teams go at it again in Arizona. 

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Auburn

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    Auburn might be the new No. 1 this week in the BCS, but don't expect the Tigers to go unscathed through the rest of the SEC schedule. 

    The Tigers looked very impressive in their win over LSU Saturday but have not looked immortal. They were taken to overtime at home by Clemson and barely escaped a scrappy Kentucky team in Lexington.

    They have two easy games against Ole Miss and Chattanooga before hosting an offensively hot Georgia Bulldog team before making the trip to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl in a game that will likely decide the SEC West. 

    Outside of a last-minute defeat to Boise State in the opener and a terrible loss to FCS school James Madison, Virginia Tech has taken the ACC by storm, winning six straight games and sitting atop the ACC Coastal division.

    The Hokies also have two challenges on the schedule as well: A mid-week showdown with defending champion Georgia Tech before traveling to Miami to take on the Hurricanes. 

    Auburn should get through the next three games outside of a possible challenge in Georgia before likely meeting their match against hated rival Alabama. At 11-1, the Auburn Tigers would be an enticing at-large selection and should be snapped up by the Orange Bowl. 

    Virginia Tech will likely face Florida State in the ACC Championship and should ride their momentum to a 10-2 record and clinch the ACC tie-in berth to go to Miami. 

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Wisconsin

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    Alabama may not get back to defend their National Championship from a year ago, but the Crimson Tide should be ready to redeem themselves from two years ago as they should represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl. 

    The Crimson Tide started the season No. 1 and were rolling along without concern until they were shell-shocked at South Carolina. Alabama still has a tough schedule ahead of them with a trip to Baton Rouge against LSU before hosting Mississippi State and new No. 1 Auburn.

    Alabama has the talent to beat all three of these teams when focused and should run the table the rest of the way, including in a possible rematch against South Carolina for the SEC Championship. 

    The Sugar Bowl has the second choice in at-large selections this year and will likely scoop up an 11-1 Wisconsin Badger team. The Badgers have a history of dropping games to lower opponents and the only real test is the Denard Robinson-led Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

    There is no reason the Badgers shouldn't beat the teams left on their schedule and likely gain a BCS at-large berth. 

Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh

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    Although it would seem that Missouri vs Oklahoma Big 12 Championship game in a rematch is a popular pick after Tigers upended the Sooners Saturday night, Nebraska is still very talented and when they play to their capacity, the Cornhuskers can play with anyone. 

    Nebraska looked impressive offensively and were able to go punch for punch against the highly potent offensive attack of Oklahoma State.

    They are still probably the best team in the Big 12 North and have a good chance to take down Missouri at home. Oklahoma/Missouri may be a chic Big 12 pick, but don't sleep on Nebraska to party in Glendale. 

    The Big East has looked atrocious, but someone has to go as a representative for the conference. With the last choice in the at-large selection, the Fiesta Bowl has the unfortunate luxury of being stuck with the Big East champion.

    Look for the winner of the Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pittsburgh to ultimately decide the Big East champion, in this case being the Panthers. 

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. TCU

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    A new rule in the BCS selection process has forced the Rose Bowl to vary from the traditional Pac 10-Big 10 selections if one of those champions qualify for the BCS Championship Game.

    Instead of having its normal choice of any BCS school, it must invite a non automatic qualifier if it meets the normal requirements to warrant BCS selection. 

    With the projected Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks expected to reach the BCS Championship along with Boise State, the logical non-AQ selection here would be TCU. 

    The Horned Frogs have dominated opponents all season including quality wins over Oregon State and Baylor. They have one truly tough game remaining against fellow undefeated Utah and should defeat the yet to be tested Utes.

    Currently the No. 4 team in the BCS, they should remain in the top five and warrant a Rose Bowl berth. 

    Michigan State seemingly lucked out when Ohio State was left off their schedule in 2010, outside the top 25 to start the season, the Spartans have used a combo of skill, balance and a little bit of luck to jump out to an 8-0 start.

    With Penn State having a down year, the Spartans last true test will be this Saturday when they travel to Iowa. 

    Even if they fall to the Hawkeyes, expect the Spartans to finish atop the standings in at least a tie. If Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State finish in a three way tie, the tie-breaker is years between appearances, which would then go to the Spartans.