See last year’s first post for my general thought process. (The Big Ten writeup rings especially true, even a year later. Well, except the Ohio State part, I guess.) Basically, I sat down after the standing came out and tried to project the record of every remaining BCS conference team. This will hopefully bear fruit in terms of sensible predictions, because at the least it require to look at everyone’s schedule and make some decisions and prevents me from magicking 6-6 teams from thin air. (I had some help with this, as well. Kudos to my brother and a friend of mine for contributing! Y’all know who you are.)
Right now, for BCS purposes I am projecting Alabama and Texas to win out. I also assumed that the ACC 3-way Circle of Death would continue, and that USC would beat Oregon but that Oregon would recover in time for the final BCS standings. A lot of folks think that the Orange and Fiesta will want to foist Boise or TCU upon the Sugar, but I’m not so sure. Especially with the Fiesta and Boise, which as you may recall have a little history now. I also think for a bowl in Arizona Cincinnati and Boise would travel equally well.
Unfortunately, with at-large teams like USC, Florida, Penn State, or Oregon around the chances of the ACC, even with 3 10-win and better teams, will not get multiple BCS bids. In fact, the only way I think this could happen is if someone other than Miami wins the tiebreaker, which frees the Sugar to try to engineer Florida-Miami. Even then, if Miami takes a late loss, it may knock them right out of the top 14, especially considering the remaining schedule.
We are, once again, in a very precarious position with regards to 6+ win at-large teams. The only BCS conference team with a 6-6 or better record that was available was UConn. Even after that, I only had one spare, though I will be completely honest and say I didn’t look at all the MAC teams to see if they could eke out 6-6 or 7-5 records. (Remember, the NCAA requires all 7-5 teams to be picked before 6-6 teams.) With 34 bowls again this year, and more on the way next year (there’s at least 2 new bowls, and maybe another 1 or 2 on the way), I am convinced that this scenario will need to be dealt with next year. On the flip side, if some of these games do badly enough (especially independents that aren’t propped up by ESPN Regional TV so people have something to watch on New Year’s Eve other than old Christmas specials) perhaps some will fold and we’ll get back to maybe 30 bowls or so. (Hah, yeah right.)
Anyway, let’s hit up some Non-Obvious Matchups and call it a day.
- BYU-Washington, Poinsettia Bowl: a.k.a, The Tyrone Willingham Memorial Bowl, as BYU’s controversial win on a last-second field goal in Seattle last was the first nail in Ty’s coffin. Of course, U-Dub is better this year (I’d say they couldn’t have been worse, but Washington State keeps proving that saying wrong.) but may not make a bowl, so I’m crossing my fingers for this one. Note if TCU makes the BCS instead of Boise, BYU probably ends up in Las Vegas. Again.
- Kansas-Georgia, Independence Bowl: aahahahahahahaha. (ahem) I’m sorry, where was I? Oh, right, this is the Disappointing Season Bowl, Part I. Kansas still has to play Nebraska and Mizzou, and after losing to Colorado it’s hard to predict them to win anything. As for UGA, well, I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Air Force-Houston, Armed Forces Bowl: isn’t it at least a tinge ironic that the Air Force Academy almost never throws the ball and the school featuring the land-based mammal as a mascot runs the Air Raid offense? Well, is it at least Alanis-level irony? No? Oh.
- LSU-Michigan, Capital One Bowl: a.k.a, the Les Miles Bowl. Though maybe Michigan fans are over it now?
- Oklahoma-Ohio State, Alamo Bowl: a.k.a, the Disappointing Season Bowl, Part II. Both these teams aimed for the national title and ended up in San Antonio.