Late once again, but it did at least give a chance to absorb all the bowl announcements from this week. So let’s do this.
As usual, we’ll start with the BCS. With Boise’s upset, there were a few changes, to say the last. The top of the pile stays the same, though Auburn did finally pick up enough votes to pass Oregon. With Arkansas upsetting LSU, that also set up the Razorbacks to get into the Sugar Bowl, which will still probably take Ohio State as an at-large. From there, things get tricky. Wisconsin and TCU slot into the Rose, the winner of the Big 12 title game will go to the Fiesta, and the winner of the ACC title game to the Orange. This leaves two slots, one in the Orange and one in the Fiesta. The Orange gets first crack at the remaining pool of teams. However, this pool, as things currently stand, is limited to two teams. Stanford is currently #4 in the BCS, and as such is guaranteed a BCS bid. The Big East winner is as well. Neither is a super attractive option for either bowl (and until Boise and LSU lost I thought Stanford was going to be shut out of the BCS). Conventional wisdom at the moment says that if UConn wins the Big East, then the Orange will take the most attractive TV match-up and get Stanford, leaving the Fiesta with UConn. However, if West Virginia emerges at the top of the Big East pile and Virginia Tech wins the ACC, then the Orange could set up the first meeting of VPI and WVU since 2005. Right now I think UConn will tomorrow so the latter scenario is a moot point.
The ACC is a jumbled mess right now. Well, not at the top: the winner of the title game will go to the Orange and the loser will go to the Chick-fil-a. From there, it’s an absolute mess. I’ll just go down the list of ACC bowls and say which teams I think are possibilities for each game:
- Champs Sports Bowl: NC State, Maryland, Miami
- Sun Bowl: Miami, Maryland, NC State
- Car Care Bowl: NC State, Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland
- Music City Bowl: Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia Tech
- Independence Bowl: Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina
- Military Bowl: Maryland, Clemson, North Carolina, Boston College
- Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College, Georgia Tech
The rumor mill isn’t much better. What you see on the page are my best guesses, but really almost anything could happen. NC State’s loss to Maryland combined with Miami’s loss and subsequent firing of Randy Shannon really wrecked the ACC bowl picture and it’s tough to say what will happen to those three schools. (Somewhat ironically, the fact that GT didn’t get blown out as most folks predicted may have actually helped them in light of the above and also Clemson’s blowout loss to South Carolina.)
Ugh. With Notre Dame’s win over USC last weekend I expect them to get an invite to the Champs Sports Bowl, which pushes everything else in the Big East down and even gives them an extra team in Louisville. Otherwise, I don’t really want to talk about this much because all the teams play tomorrow and everything could change.
At this point, the Big 12 almost certainly won’t get two teams into the BCS, so the Cotton went ahead and grabbed Texas A&M. This means the Big 12 title game loser will probably end up in the Alamo Bowl. At issue now are the Insight and Holiday Bowls, which will likely be choosing between Oklahoma State and Missouri. From there, the Big 12 should shake out predictably, with K-State already in the Pinstripe Bowl and Baylor and Texas Tech remaining for the Texas and TicketCity Bowls. I like Baylor getting rewarded for their good season by getting the Texas Bow bid, leaving Texas Tech for the game in the Cotton Bowl that isn’t the Cotton Bowl.
The Big Ten is pretty straightforward. Wisconsin and Ohio State go to the Rose and Sugar, leaving the Capital One for Michigan State. I then like Penn State to the Outback Bowl, but they could swap places with Iowa and end up in the Gator Bowl. I then like Michigan for the Insight, Illinois to the Texas, and Northwestern left at the TicketCity. Easy. (Now watch me be totally wrong.)
Arizona State is 6-6, but played 2 DI-AA teams (despite the fact that Pac-10 teams only have 3 OOC games anyway) and is not eligible. This means there are currently 3 Pac-10 teams eligible: Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona. Washington and Oregon State can both get eligible with wins in their rivalry games, but I think it goes without saying that one of those teams is a lot more likely to win tomorrow than the other.
So the SEC will probably get its customary two BCS bids barring disaster in the SEC title game tomorrow. From there, Alabama will probably get the nod for the Capital One, leaving South Carolina for the Outback and LSU for the Cotton. I like Mississippi State to get the invitation to the Chick-fil-a, followed by the Gator reluctantly taking Florida. The rumor mill really likes Tennessee to the Music City, so that works for me, followed by UGA to the Liberty and, finally, Kentucky to the Compass.
Many mid-major bids have gone out already. The problem is the rumored moves and moves that have already happened. For instance, UTEP (from Conference USA) is in the New Mexico Bowl, which means that there was likely a swap with the New Orleans Bowl which will probably send a WAC team there. (The details of the swap are not yet known for certain though. There could be other swaps as well, engineered by the conferences and the bowls owned by ESPN (which are many). Also, it looks like Boise will likely end up at the Fight Hunger Bowl, eschewing the home blue turf, which may send Nevada there. Miscellaneous MAC teams will probably fill the gaps left by the Pac-10 and Big Ten, though I don’t know which ones will go where. Fortunately for bowl directors, though, there will be enough teams, and I predict there will be one extra.
Look for the final predictions to go up late Saturday or early Sunday, as by the time ESPN goes on the air with their selection show most of the bids will probably already be known.