Bowl Predictions 2012: Week 5

Well, it just wouldn’t do have the This Weekend in College Football up before the end of the bowl predictions are. The predictions themselves have been up since Sunday, but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to write anything yet. So here’s some thing quick, focusing mainly on the BCS situation.

I have Oregon and Kansas State in the title game, and note also that I have Oregon in the #1 slot. I still think that if they go undefeated over their remaining schedule (Stanford, Oregon State, and the Pac-12 South winner) they will gain enough favor with the computers to pass Kansas State. So let’s talk about the other BCS bowls.

Though some think Louisiana Tech has a shot, they have no currency with the computers and little chance to gain it. They also need a whole bunch of teams in front of them to lose. It’s not impossible that they enter the Top 16 and pass the Big East or Big Ten winner, but it’s improbable.

So let’s get to the automatic winners: Alabama (SEC, Sugar), Florida State (ACC, Orange), and Nebraska (Big Ten, Rose). With the first selection from the at-large pool, the Rose is likely to take Notre Dame now, especially if the Irish remain undefeated. (If Notre Dame loses, then they could take Oklahoma.) With the second selection is the Fiesta, and I think if they’re available they’ll take Oklahoma. The Fiesta also gets the next pick from the at-large pool. After ND and Oklahoma, the remaining candidates are less obvious. We have a gaggle of SEC teams, from which only one can be chosen, a one-or-two loss Clemson, and Louisville. On the fringes are a few three-loss teams, like Oregon State and Stanford, but I really don’t think they’ll be selected. Basically, given the above scenario, I think the Fiesta will take any available 1-loss SEC team. Right now I am still projecting that team to be Florida. LSU, South Carolina, and a three-loss Texas A&M are also in the mix. (Note that UGA is not.) The Sugar at this point will want someone other than Louisville, but by now the only other possible someone is Clemson, who can still make it with two-losses but they will be doing themselves a huge favor if they beat South Carolina. And finally, Louisville goes to Miami.

Otherwise, the rest of the grid is still very much in flux these last couple of weeks. This week I had exactly 70 teams qualify for a bowl. Good news for the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt, but not so good for nervous bowl commissioners.

Notable matchups:

  • Cotton Bowl, Texas A&M vs. Texas: I’m perhaps just blinded by the potential of this, but it almost just has to happen, doesn’t it? Fortunately Texas has been playing well enough recently to get there. That said, it also depends on where TAMU gets up to – does the Capital One Bowl get frisky and take them? What about a BCS bowl even, as ESPN’s Brad Edwards predicted? If TAMU does fall to to the Cotton, I am almost certain they would take them over LSU at this point.
  • Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Florida: a matchup of a team with a good offense versus a team whose best offense literally is their defense.
  • Potato Bowl, Louisiana Tech vs. Northern Illinois: this game would be the way any game played on blue turf in the late afternoon of the first day of bowl games: chock full o’ points, as the NIU ground game meets LaTech’s Air Raid attack.

Don’t forget to have a look at a5’s rundown of the ACC Coastal’s tiebreaker scenarios, and otherwise, enjoy the remaining portion of the week!