BCS Bowl Projections: What Happens If Auburn Loses to South Carolina?
What happens if Auburn loses to South Carolina in the SEC title game?
It sounds like a very unlikely but shocking turn of events for the last week of college football. After this week's impressive 24-point, come-from-behind win against Auburn, it appears to be one of those magical BCS title-bound seasons for the Tigers.
They've pretty much played their way into a national championship berth.
How much will the BCS bowl projections change if Auburn does lose? Let's find out.
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn vs. TCU
If the Gamecocks do manage to pull off a monumental upset in the SEC title game, Auburn will be dealt their first loss of the season.
But will that loss be enough to drop them from the top two spots in the BCS rankings?
It's hard to believe that it would. The last four national champions have come out of the SEC, and having the Tigers fall out of the national title match with one loss doesn't sound very realistic.
The Tigers are fresh from defeating the defending national champions Alabama Crimson Tide in their annual Iron Bowl rivalry game. That accomplishment alone arguably solidified their spot as the best team out of the SEC and perhaps the best in the nation.
If anything, that win against Alabama will probably catapult them over the Oregon Ducks for the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings. If they do lose to the Gamecocks in the SEC title game, they will have room to drop to No. 2 in the standings and still earn a spot in the national title game.
There's no way South Carolina makes it to the BCS title game, even if they upset Auburn and win the SEC title.
You're probably wondering, where's Oregon? Well, if the Tigers can lose, so can Oregon. In fact, they're more likely to fall in the last week of season against a very gritty Oregon State Beavers squad than the streaking Tigers.
If the Ducks do pull a disappearing act, TCU makes history as the first non-BCS team to make it to the title game.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers
The Ducks are on a roll, and the only team standing in their way are the Oregon State Beavers.
Heading into the last week of the regular season, their in-state and bitter Pac-10 rivals could play the role of spoilers.
Oregon has not lost the Civil War since 2007, and if they want to remain atop the BCS, they need to win this annual matchup one more time.
But an upset could be brewing. If Oregon falls, they'll drop out of the top two spots making room for TCU in the title game and locking them in for the Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin will be the winner of a three-way Big Ten title championship by virtue of their BCS rankings.
Sugar Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Stanford Cardinal
The SEC champion gets a berth to this bowl game, and if the Tigers do fall on December 4, Steve Spurrier and his gang will be locked in for this matchup.
One of the top at-large qualifiers will possibly be Stanford since the Ducks have at least a share of the Pac-10 title locked in, even with a loss against Oregon State.
Another candidate could be one of the one-loss squads out of the Big Ten. But the possibility of a prime SEC vs. Pac-10 game could be too tempting to pass up.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Connecticut Huskies
The Hokies have a perfect 8-0 record in the ACC and are on their way to a win in the ACC title game.
If all goes according to plan, the Hokies will earn the bid to play in the Orange bowl.
With a bid most likely going to the winner of the Big East because of geographical reasons, that spot will either go to the Connecticut Huskies or the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Huskies are the favorites to win and will only lose out on the title if they get upset by South Florida in the final week of play.
Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Big 12 title game could come down between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the winner of Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game late Saturday.
Although the Cowboys are a very sound offensive team, they have already been dealt a loss by the 'Huskers this season, while the Sooners have losses against Missouri and Texas A&M under their belt.
Nebraska will be playing with plenty of purpose in the title game after losing last year to Texas. It's tough not seeing them coming out on top of the Big Ten title game.
With the Wisconsin Badgers likely heading to the Rose Bowl, one of the at-large picks will be the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Cotton Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Traditionally, the second-best team out of the SEC gets this invitation to the Cotton Bowl.
But the Auburn Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks could find themselves in other bowl games.
The next best team on the list will likely be the Arkansas Razorbacks. They just finished off the top-ranked LSU Tigers, 31-23, in Week 12.
Oklahoma State could also be headed for the Cotton Bowl if they fall to the Cornhuskers in the Big 12 title game.
Capital One Bowl: Michigan State Spartans vs. LSU Tigers
With Ohio State likely to get plucked to play for one of the top four bowl games as an at-large qualifier, the Spartans, who could also end the season with a share of the Big Ten title, could be headed to the Capital One Bowl.
LSU could be the candidate to be their opponents after a very solid season with only two losses, with their most recent loss last Saturday to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
There you have it: LSU vs. Michigan State.
Gator Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Now that the Gator Bowl is inviting Big Ten opponents, there's no other team that fits the most ideal matchup for the Gators than the Nittany Lions.
Joe Pa and his team are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, much like the Gators.
It would be a sweeter draw if this was Joe Pa's last game as head coach. But Paterno's going to keep coaching into his 90s, it seems.
Outback Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Who else is left?
We've still got the Big Ten's Iowa Hawkeyes, who will likely be the best Big Ten team left once Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all get their invitations.
And of course, who wouldn't want the defending national title champions in their bowl game. A three-loss Alabama team would be the next SEC team up for a bowl bid.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Florida State Seminoles
Of course, we've got another SEC team looking to fill out this bowl games list of invitees.
The 7-4 Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 25 in the BCS standings with one more game left to play, will likely earn this invitation.
The Seminoles will also be headed for this bowl game, assuming they don't upset the VaTech Hokies in the ACC title game.