These are the penultimate bowl predictions in the predicting-who-goes-where phase. Next week I’ll try to take a more in-depth look at this next week. For now, here’s a quick overview.
- The SEC is going to send a very mediocre slate of teams to its bowls this year, which are (arguably) collectively the most high profile set of bowls of any conference. Alabama and Florida are both elite teams and will obviously end up in the BCS (more on that in a second, though) but after that it gets very dicey very quick. First off is the decided lack of Outback and Capital One Bowl stalwarts like Tennessee and Auburn. Georgia, expected to be among the elite this year (excuse me for a second: ahahahahahahahahaha) and in the Sugar Bowl has probably locked up the SEC’s best non-BCS Bowl (the Capital One) and will sport a 9-3 record and come off a loss. It drops off after that. The collective 3/4/5 picks (Cotton, Outback, and Peach) are particularly brutal. Ole Miss is probably the best looking team out of this group and they’re 8-4. I’ve slotted them into the Cotton. LSU and South Carolina are the only other teams with winning records, so they have to go to the Peach and Outback.
- So the BCS. Right now, if trends hold, we’ll have Alabama and Oklahoma in the title game. But what happens if Florida beats ‘Bama? Dr. Saturday points out it’s not necessarily automatic that Florida gets in. Even so the at-large situation is very important and rather confusing.
Provided that Alabama and Oklahoma get in, then the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls get first crack at the other available automatic qualifiers and at-large selections. They’ll probably take Florida and Texas. After that, we go in reverse order and that is where it gets interesting. The Fiesta can basically choose from Cincinnati, Utah, or an at-large team (probably Ohio State). The consensus among many professional types and Utah message board posters is that Utah will go to the Fiesta due to travel concerns. I usually tend to take a pessimistic view of the BCS selection process, but the bowl commissioners have cooperated in the past (though not last year, though I suspect Hawaii probably would not have travelled well to any bowl). So while this set of predictions has Ohio State, I’ll probably change it in next week’s edition (if not before then). So then we go to the Sugar, which will probably be left with Cincy, Ohio State, or Utah to face Florida. If Utah does go to the Fiesta like everyone thinks, then they’ll take OSU unless they really want Boise State for some reason. End result? One boring Orange Bowl, most likely.
- Tech will go to the Peach or Gator unless they get a shaft-job of epic proportions.
Anyway, that took a lot longer than I wanted. Tune in later this week for my take on the last weekend of the regular season.