They’re here, as usual. You may want to just go ahead and bookmark that, as I usually update it before writing the post. Anyway, the main happenings here are in the BCS, so let’s get to it.
Florida State assumes sole control of its own destiny for the slot behind Alabama. This means that the Sugar and Orange bowls get the first shot at replacements.
Let me lay the whole thing out for you. In addition to Alabama and Florida State, the following teams automatically qualify: Ohio State (as Big Ten champion, goes to the Rose Bowl), Stanford (as Pac-12 champion, goes to the Rose Bowl), Baylor (as Big 12 champion, goes to Fiesta Bowl), Central Florida (as AAC champion, earns BCS bid), Fresno State (as Mountain West champion ranked in the top 16 and higher than UCF). This means there are effectively three BCS at-large slots available. The candidates, according to my projections, are:
- a 1-loss Clemson
- a 2-loss Auburn
- a 2-loss Missouri (with the 2nd loss being in the SEC title game to Alabama)
- a 1-loss Oregon
- a 2-loss Oklahoma State (with the 2nd loss being to one of Texas, Baylor, or Oklahoma)
Remember, the selection order is Sugar, Orange, and then Orange again, followed by the Sugar again, and then the Fiesta. Those last two slots will almost certainly go to UCF and Fresno State in some order – the Orange took Northern Illinois last year and almost certain wants a marquee matchup this time around. The most appealing candidate for the Sugar is probably a 10-2 Auburn. This basically means the Orange can matchup whoever it wants. Right now I have Clemson and Oregon. Oregon hasn’t been that far east for a bowl game since the 1960 Liberty Bowl (back when that game was in Philadelphia), and a matchup against Clemson would be a good recipe for a breakneck, fast-paced game (hopefully).
Some other observations from this week’s predictions.
- There will not be a shortage of teams this year. If you’re wondering why I have some mid-major teams ahead of major conference teams for at-large spots, it’s because usually those games have agreements in place.
- The two major conference teams I’m having trouble placing are West Virginia and Utah.
- With realignment, I have to think matching up old rivals is a priority for the management of any second or third-rate bowl game. Hence the Backyard Brawl being transported to Shreveport.
- I have Georgia Tech in the Music City because don’t think we’ll go to the Russell Athletic Bowl if we win out, we will not go back to El Paso this year, and the Belk will probably take Duke because that’s how they roll.
- I try to avoid repeats if I can help it, but I’m sure the Ol’ Ball Coach can find some golf courses around Tampa he hasn’t played yet.