Bowl Projections: The BCS Matchups That Would Draw the Biggest Interest
Like it or not, the pinnacle of FBS football is the Bowl Championship Series.
With just a few weeks left to decide who plays in what game, plenty of prognostication is cluttering the web regarding where teams will land in bowl season.
The matchups on this list are some of the options that could be available for your viewing pleasure starting January 2, 2012.
While SEC fans would turn out in droves for an LSU vs. Alabama rematch, it is not the only marquee BCS meeting for us to eagerly anticipate.
This list runs down the BCS matchups that would grab our attention and hold it.
18. Michigan vs. Oregon
This is a stretch, even for a Michigan fan to make, but bear with me.
Let's say the Wolverines beat both Nebraska and Ohio State, and Michigan State loses to both Indiana and Northwestern. Boom, the Wolverines are in the conference title game.
A win there, and we are likely to see a Denard Robinson vs. LaMichael James/Kenjon Barner speed-fest.
The athleticism on the field in this matchup would surely make for some dynamic plays.
While Robinson would likely dazzle with his feet, the Ducks would have a huge advantage in this one due to their balance on offense.
17. Boise State vs. Stanford
This one might be a long shot, especially considering that Boise State will likely not earn a BCS berth if Houston continues to win out.
That said, should Stanford win the rest of their games, they would be 11-1 and ranked in the top 10.
The same goes for Boise State.
Talk about a prime matchup of passers, this game would put the top Heisman candidate, Andrew Luck, and Kellen Moore, the guy who owns the record for most wins in college football history, on the same field.
I would watch it.
16. Michigan vs. Alabama
The "Fighting Denards" are a long shot for the Big Ten title.
However, with only two losses marring their record, should they win out, they might find themselves with an invite to the Sugar Bowl.
This could set up a massive, historic meeting between the Wolverines and an Alabama team powered by its vicious defense.
No Big Ten team will make a BCS game with three losses, and in all likelihood the Wolverines are likely to get left out of the conference title game.
But given their huge fan following, they would have a legit shot at an at-large bid.
That would be one ugly game for Michigan.
15. Virginia Tech vs. Stanford
Virginia Tech is quietly creeping toward the ACC Championship game again.
While it is no sure thing that they will make a BCS game, the possibility is there.
A rematch of last year's Orange Bowl with Stanford would provide the ACC with an opportunity to win a statement game against another quality BCS opponent.
After the rough few years the conference has had, a win would be huge for conference perception. Because Hokies fans are extremely dedicated, this would be a good draw.
It would be interesting to see Jayron Hosley matching up and trying to read Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense.
14. Any Game Not Involving the Big East
Thank heavens the BCS is considering major changes, particularly involving automatic qualifying conferences.
The years of seeing mediocre Big East champions manhandled by a far superior team in a BCS game might soon be over.
Last season's Fiesta Bowl was nearly unbearable, and wherever the Big East champ ends up this year, they have no shot.
It does not matter if it's Cincinnati, Rutgers or whomever, any game involving the Big East is one for the emotionally uninvested fan to avoid like the plague.
If Boise State has a gripe this season, it might be that the Big East champ is in the BCS unranked, while the Broncos could conceivably finish inside the top 10 and not get a berth.
13. Clemson vs. Stanford
This would be an opportunity to see two explosive offenses with underrated head coaches butt heads.
Dabo Swinney and David Shaw are both leading their teams to potential BCS berths, and they would have the chance to outsmart each other in this one.
The Tigers have quarterback Tajh Boyd, who throws lasers on a consistent basis, as well as super frosh Sammy Watkins, who has shredded every coverage defenses have thrown at him.
Throw into the mix a potential Heisman winner in Andrew Luck, and you have a recipe for a great matchup between two non-traditional powers.
Some fresh blood is never a bad thing.
12. Nebraska vs. Oregon
Nebraska needs some help, but the Rose Bowl is a possibility.
This game would feature enough option offense to make NFL fans sick.
Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead vs. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James would be an epic battle.
The key here would be the defenses.
Which team would be able to contain the other?
The Nebraska defense has been so inconsistent, there is no telling what could happen. But if they played to their potential, this could be an extremely memorable Rose Bowl.
11. Georgia vs. Boise State
Boise State still has a shot at sneaking into the BCS.
Georgia could end up as SEC champions.
The Broncos just suffered their first loss of the season, while the Bulldogs laid a whooping on a pretty decent Auburn team and have not lost since they fell to BSU and South Carolina in their first two contests.
Georgia fans would die to see this rematch in a BCS game, and the rest of us would love to see Boise State get a shot in the BCS at a BCS-conference opponent.
10. Wisconsin vs. Oregon
You want fireworks?
We've got 'em.
These two teams are third (Oregon) and fourth (Sconnie) in scoring per game.
They average a combined—get this—93.2 points per game.
Both defenses are statistically pretty good as well, but there is no question, this one would be about the offenses.
Montee Ball vs. LaMichael James.
Darron Thomas and Russell Wilson.
Midwest substance vs West Coast style.
Old fashioned, smash-mouth, play-action vs. new, flashy and innovative.
Two different styles, pouring on the points in the Rose Bowl.
Both teams must win out—including their conference title games—for this matchup to be a possibility, but that is really not that far-fetched when considering their remaining regular season schedules.
9. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Hello dream matchup.
Should the Sooners win out, they need some help to make the BCS title game.
That said, a BCS berth would be virtually assured.
Imagine a matchup with former Big 12 rival Nebraska.
Given the Huskers' inconsistencies this season, this one could get ugly for them, especially if the Sooners feel cheated of a shot at the title.
8. LSU vs. Alabama
West of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon Line, no one wants to see this.
The "Game of the Century" between these two featured special teams miscues and no touchdowns.
However, for the crazy group of individuals also known as SEC fans, a rematch of these two in the BCS title game would be nirvana.
If Oklahoma wins Bedlam and these teams win out, we might get stuck with a 10-6 score in the title game.
7. LSU vs. Oregon
Yet another rematch.
Oregon has jumped up to No. 4 in the current BCS rankings, and with a little help they could make the title game.
This would set up a prime-time matchup that would be extremely interesting.
The level of interest for this game would be through the roof because both teams will likely be at full strength.
As long as both teams can stay away from activities that result in suspensions, we would see an LSU team with its best squad against an Oregon team fielding its best.
6. Stanford vs. Oklahoma
David Shaw has had a fairly successful first season as head coach, even when you consider the Stanford's loss to Oregon.
If the Cardinal can win out, an at-large berth is almost a certainty.
Unless the teams ahead of Oklahoma all falter, the Sooners will not be in the title game.
Therefore, their main target right now is the Fiesta Bowl.
While a matchup with Stanford might not appeal to SEC or Big Ten fans, the fan bases of the respective teams would be pumped for this one.
Even without Ryan Broyles, this would be a matchup of some of the best offensive players in the country.
5. Any Matchup Involving Houston
Houston just needs to keep winning.
Now that Boise State has fallen and might not end up as MWC champion, the Cougars are set up to invade the BCS.
Any game involving the Cougars would pull immense interest across the country.
Imagine a matchup between the Cougs and one of the Oklahoma schools.
Or how about Boise State vs Houston?
What about Andrew Luck and Case Keenum on the same field?
The Cougars are a solid team, not just a one-man show, and should they get a BCS invite, they will have an opportunity to make a statement for the "little guys."
4. Oklahoma vs. Oregon
If the Ducks somehow falter in the Pac-12 Championship game, they would be eliminated from the Rose Bowl.
While that is not likely, we can dream about this incredible matchup possibly taking place in the Fiesta Bowl.
Landry Jones and the Sooners' potent passing game is crippled without Ryan Broyles, but it's still reasonably effective.
Could they keep up with the Ducks' "Quack Attack" offense in a track meet?
3. LSU vs. Oklahoma State
If the BCS standings remain as they are, this will be our title game matchup.
Is there anyone in the country (other than Oklahoma fans) that would not want to see Justin Blackmon matchup with Morris Claiborne and/or Tyrann Mathieu?
This would be the battle between a perennial power and a program that has never made a BCS bowl.
It would be an incredible matchup of one of the top defenses in the country against the most explosive offense to be found in a BCS conference.
The Cowboys and Tigers both have some tough games before this one becomes a reality, but should that happen, it would be one of the better matchups of the bowl season.
2. Any Game Involving Penn State
The chances of Penn State getting an at-large bid are tiny; this is the same for every other team in the Big Ten.
So the Rose Bowl has to be their goal, and it is attainable.
No matter what opponent the Lions would face in the "Grandaddy of them all" (it would likely be Oregon), the media and fan interest in this one would be off the charts.
The Sandusky scandal, coupled with Paterno's firing and a Big Ten Championship, adds plenty of fuel to the fire and would make any game involving the Lions a must-see.
1. Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
We all know how dedicated the Crimson Tide fan base is.
Now, couple the dedication of those fans with the intensity of Oklahoma State folks seeing their program make it to the BCS for the first time.
The hype for this one would be great.
Okie Lite has the best offense in a BCS conference, and they would be facing the best defense (arguably) in the country.
How well would the Cowboys offensive line hold up under the onslaught of rushers the Tide would throw at them?