First off, once again, woo! We beat Georgia!
Second, we’ll have an unprecedented week 8 of predictions this year, since everyone is so tight-lipped this year. I’ll have a new set up next Sunday before the new rankings are released.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
I won’t post the image I’ve been posting again, but Miss State’s loss probably knocks them out of contention. My arguments for Baylor remain the same, but they definitely didn’t help themselves by struggling against Texas Tech on Saturday. I expect the committee’s top four tomorrow to be Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and TCU. If everything goes as expected Saturday, the main question will be if a Baylor win over Kansas State is enough to lift them over TCU. I think it should be, but I’m not entirely sure it will be. I’ll have to make that call again next week.
The other teams in the top three also play this weekend, all in conference championship games. Oregon has a chance to avenge their loss to Arizona, and with a healthier offensive line and a now fully effective Marcus Mariota I’d say they’re poised to do just that. I don’t think Alabama will have any problem with Missouri. As for Florida State, well, anything can happen, huh?
As for the other committee-affiliated bowls, Georgia Tech is pretty much in the Orange win or lose in the ACCCG (unless the committee really lowballs our ranking). The Orange then needs to select the next highest-ranked SEC or Big Ten team, which I think is going to be Ohio State. The other bowls are pretty much a guess in terms of what the teams are going to be ranked and how the committee will match them up. Yes, that is still three SEC teams. Also, Boise State pretty much has the Group-of-Five bid sewn up with Marshall and Colorado State losing last weekend.
There was no news from any ACC school this week, but if Ohio State or Michigan State does indeed wind up in the Orange Bowl, this has the potential to trigger a situation where the Citrus Bowl must select an ACC team instead of a Big Ten team. This means I was able to slot Clemson into the Citrus instead of the Russell Athletic. I figure Louisville will slot above Duke in terms of desirability at this point. I then tried to place the above .500 teams next. Pitt’s upset of Miami also got them in, which means that if the Citrus Bowl thing doesn’t happen the ACC will have an extra team.
No news from Big Ten country either. Without the Citrus Bowl slot, I figure Wisconsin will get sent out west (that may happen anyway). This also has the knock-on effect of Illinois probably needing an at-large bid somewhere, but as an eligible team from a major conference they shouldn’t have an issue.
The Big 12 is relatively easy. The only question is Texas-Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl will happen (probably everyone but the schools involved want it to happen, I’d guess), but that’s more on the SEC’s plate since there’s less play in terms of what Big 12 teams go where.
The Pac-12 is pretty easy as well, though there’s some question in terms of how many teams they can get in to the access bowls (i.e., it could be Arizona State or UCLA instead of Ole Miss). There’s some shuffling that may go on between the 7-5 and 6-6 schools, which a situation that will bear watching throughout the week.
Twelve of the fourteen SEC members are bowl eligible, and if the SEC gets three teams into the access bowls and/or playoffs, then they should be golden. Of course, an SEC team sure as heck isn’t going to be left out in the cold at the end of the bowl selection dance, but still. There is a bit of question of just where each team and the conference office will want particular teams to go at the end of the day. If you’re hoping against hope that Texas-Texas A&M will happen, then directing your prayers toward Birmingham on Sunday would be your best bet.
That’s about it. Tune in again late Saturday/early Sunday for my last stab at this before Sunday evening. Now that I think about it, this is a bit more like bracketology now, though at least we have a couple decades of precedent in terms knowing how the NCAA basketball tournament committee thinks.