As usual, the predictions are right over here. Let’s do this.
- Oregon and Auburn control their destinies. I had multiple people ask me Saturday if TCU had any chance of passing either of them, and while TCU got close this week after shellacking Utah, the answer is “no”. TCU plays a decent San Diego State team Saturday, but after that their only remaining game is in two weeks against a New Mexico outfit that is, by virtue of a turnover fueled win over Wyoming last weekend, probably only the second worst team in the country. That will hurt their SoS a bit. Honestly, what might happen is Auburn and Oregon switch places in the polls again, but either way TCU will be on the outside looking in. Unless one of them loses.
It’s all part of the plan….
- If Oregon loses, I would say it’s pretty certain TCU will get a shot. However, I agree with ESPN’s Brad Edwards that a 1-loss SEC champion Auburn team could very well vault its way back up into the top two. Auburn is currently #1 in all but 1 computer poll (and the highest and lowest polls are thrown out by the BCS), so a loss to, say, Alabama and then a title game win over Florida or South Carolina would probably get good enough to keep them at around #2 in the computers. If the humans, say, put them back up at #3, they could very well get in. At this point, I don’t think any other 1-loss teams have a shot, except for maybe LSU. (If Auburn loses Saturday to Georgia, I will go ahead and project LSU into the title game. There would be no other explanation for why Auburn would lose to UGA other than to set up LSU to win the SEC and vault its way into the BCS title game. Just no other reason.)
- Right now, I think Wisconsin has the easiest path to the Big Ten title, so I’m projecting them into the Rose. However, Ohio State has a good shot of being rewarded with a BCS berth provided they win out. In the Big 12, I’m now projecting Oklahoma State to win the conference. Note that’s highly subject to change pretty much whenever.
- Whither Boise State? They could very well be 12-0, no lower than #4 in the any of the polls the entire year, and be shut out of the BCS entirely. Only the top ranked non-automatic qualifying conference team is rewarded with an automatic bid to the BCS, so right now that looks like TCU. (Said team also gets a Rose Bowl bid if Oregon wins out.) Right now I think Boise is still in, but other folks doing this sort of thing have projected them out. But how bad will it look when a team they beat (Virginia Tech) is in a BCS bowl and they aren’t? Also, if I’m the Fiesta Bowl, I have to think that Boise is probably going to travel better than Stanford.
- I actually had a glut of qualifying teams this week, as you can see by the extra MAC and C-USA teams I have sitting around at the bottom. Thanks the NCAA scrapping the “winning records must be picked first” rule, a 6-6 Iowa State will almost certainly get an at-large bid before an 8-4 Toledo team.
- Some other notes: I could easily swap a few teams around here, like NC State and Florida State, for instance. Army, with a win over Kent State this weekend, could clink their first bowl berth since 1996. I hated to send Miami out to the Sun Bowl, but, well, someone’s got to go and I was running out of ACC teams to get picked in front of them. I still think Texas will make a bowl, just not a good one. Yes, Notre Dame’s not in. Hard to see them getting to 6-6 with games against Utah and USC left. And finally, I have no idea what the C-USA pecking order is. Those are almost guesses other than that I am desperately trying to avoid sending Southern Miss to the New Orleans Bowl yet again.