BCS Rankings Week 13: BCS Bowl Projections Based on Sixth BCS Rankings
The BCS rankings for Week 13 are now safely tucked away in our minds, for good or ill.
The good news, as always, is that the latest rankings give us a pretty good idea of what the BCS bowls are going to look like.
On the one hand, we have a clear picture of who would be playing in what bowl game if the season were to end today.
And on the other hand, the new rankings always help with all the crystal ball "what if" scenarios.
We're going to talk about both here. Start the slideshow for a detailed rundown on each of the five BCS bowls.
The Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh
The Big 12 champion is tied to the Fiesta Bowl, and it looks like that's finally going to be somebody else besides Texas, Oklahoma or Nebraska.
Last week the Cornhuskers looked like a lock to win the Big 12 North, and then the Big 12 Championship Game, but there are all sorts of question marks around them now.
But no matter, the Cowboys are a damn fun team to watch. Brandon Weeden is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, and Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter are beasts at wide receiver and running back, respectively.
The Fiesta Bowl gets the last at-large pick, so the Big East champion is the logical pick. The Big East is a mess, but Pitt is currently on top of the heap. So they would be in it if the season ended today.
The Pokes have played in just one Fiesta Bowl, beating BYU in 1974. Pittsburgh hasn't been since 2004, when it lost to Utah 35-7.
The Fiesta Bowl: Speculative Version
Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia
The Pokes face a pretty tough test against Oklahoma on Saturday, but the Sooners' struggles on the road make me confident that Oklahoma State can pull it off.
And I do think they can beat whatever the Big 12 North throws at them, whether it's Missouri or Nebraska.
West Virginia needs to beat Pitt on Friday, and then have a couple other things fall into place, but they're clearly the most deserving team in what is a pretty weak Big East crop.
And this would actually be a pretty good matchup. The Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the country, and the Mountaineers have one of the best defenses. Good show.
West Virginia won the Fiesta Bowl in 2008, beating Oklahoma 48-28.
The Orange Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State
The ACC champion is tied to the Orange Bowl, and the Hokies look like they're a lock to wrap that up without much trouble.
The Orange Bowl then gets the second at-large selection after the Sugar Bowl, and picking projected Big Ten runner-up Ohio State looks like the best option at this point.
Good matchup of quarterbacks in this one, with Terrelle Pryor going up against Tyrod Taylor.
The Hokies last played in the Orange Bowl in 2009, beating Cincinnati 20-7. Ohio State has played in just one Orange Bowl. That was in 1977 when they beat Colorado, 27-10.
The Orange Bowl: Speculative Version
Virginia Tech vs. TCU
The other option for the Orange Bowl would be to take an undefeated TCU team, provided the Frogs do indeed win out, of course.
One of the things that would have to happen in order for this to become a reality is an LSU loss to Arkansas. That would knock the Tigers out of the top 10, and then neither the Sugar Bowl nor the Orange Bowl would have to worry about satisfying them.
This would also be a good matchup as well, as it would perhaps finally provide TCU's top-ranked defense with a proper test.
TCU has made just one Orange Bowl appearance. That was back in 1942, when they lost to Georgia by a score of 40-26.
The Sugar Bowl
LSU vs. TCU
The SEC champion is tied to the Sugar Bowl. That obviously looks like it's going to be Auburn right now, but they would instead be headed to Glendale, Ariz., for the BCS National Championship Game.
If LSU beats Arkansas and ends the season with one loss, they are a logical replacement given that they're just around the block from the Superdome, and their fans could fill plenty of hotel rooms.
The Sugar Bowl gets the first at-large pick, and an undefeated TCU team will be the logical choice.
It's hard to imagine anything less than a defensive struggle taking place, as this matchup would pit two top 10 defenses against one another.
The Tigers have been to 13 Sugar Bowls, the last time being when JaMarcus Russell out-dueled Brady Quinn and the Irish in 2007.
The Horned Frogs have two Sugar Bowl appearances in their history and have won both of them. But that was way back in 1936 and 1939.
The Sugar Bowl: Speculative Version
Auburn vs. Michigan State
I'm thinking Auburn will lose to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, thus ending their perfect season and a shot at the BCS National Championship Game.
But they should still be able to beat South Carolina for the SEC Championship Game, and I'm sure they'll take a Sugar Bowl appearance as an apt replacement for a title shot.
As for Michigan State, they would obviously have to finish the season 11-1 and in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Ohio State. The team with the highest-BCS ranking would then go to the Rose Bowl, and the Spartans and Buckeyes would be eligible for at-large picks.
And while I suspect that the Sugar Bowl would rather have Ohio State, I for one would like to see the Spartans get their due with a BCS Bowl. It's not going to happen, but I still want to see it.
Auburn has been to five Sugar Bowls, the last one coming in 2005. This would be Michigan State's first.
The Rose Bowl
Wisconsin vs. Boise State
The Rose Bowl traditionally pits the Pac-10 champ and the Big Ten champ against each other, but Oregon is currently a lock for the BCS Championship Game.
Who goes to the Rose Bowl in the event of a three-way tie is based on BCS ranking, and right now, that means it would be Wisconsin.
Because Boise would end the season undefeated, the Rose Bowl would have to snub a one-loss Stanford team so they could fit in an obligatory non-automatic qualifier.
You get all that? Good.
The Badgers haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 2000.
The Broncos have never been to one.
The Rose Bowl: Speculative Version
Stanford vs. Wisconsin
If Auburn does indeed fall, it's likely going to be Boise going to Glendale. And that means that Stanford would basically be a lock for a much-deserved Rose Bowl appearance.
We'd be looking at a rematch of the 2000 Rose Bowl if this does indeed come to pass. Wisconsin won that game 17-9.
The BCS Championship Game
Oregon vs. Auburn
Ho hum. This has been the projected matchup for several weeks now, and it's not going to change if both teams win out.
The good news is that this still looks like it would be a real humdinger, with two great offenses racking up all kinds of numbers on either side.
Sounds like a hoot to me.
The BCS Championship Game: Speculative Version
Oregon vs. Boise State
If Boise State wins out, which would include a win over current No. 19 Nevada, they are going to end up leapfrogging TCU (no pun intended). And if Auburn does indeed lose to either Alabama or South Carolina, then Boise will be your new No. 2.
And I don't know about you, but having a BCS Championship Game without an SEC team for the first time since 2005 sounds awesome to me. Enough is enough, in my humble opinion.
Instead, we'd get a championship game that would ultimately result in the first national championship for either team.
And it would be a good game too. One suspects that Oregon's offense will easily get back on track after their near-disaster in Berkeley, and they would be going up against quite possibly the most balanced team in the country.