Week 9 of the college football season is in the books and that means it’s time for updated BCS bowl projections. The most notable developments this week were as follows…
*Oregon’s 42-14 thrashing of UCLA moved the Ducks past Florida State and into the #2 spot alongside Alabama for the January 7 BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena. This has ripple effects on all the matchups. Now it’s the Rose Bowl who has a bid to fill, and the Orange Bowl gets to have Florida State as the ACC champion.
*I’ve put two Big 12 teams into the field for the first time in several weeks. Oklahoma’s win over Texas Tech makes it highly likely the Sooners will finish 10-2. OU has just one loss (to Texas) and it’s tough games ahead are Baylor and Oklahoma State. So long as Bob Stoops’ team gets a split and wins the rest, they’ll be ranked high enough to be selected. The fact Oklahoma is going to be an attractive brand to any of the bowls making selections certainly won’t hurt.
*Oklahoma’s entry bounced Wisconsin out. I have taken it as an article of faith that a 10-2 Badger team would get an at-large bid, and they still have a good shot. But if the Sooners don’t get the automatic Big 12 berth–right now that belongs to sixth-ranked Baylor in the projections–Oklahoma will be ranked too high to ignore.
*Wisconsin–and the rest of the power conference contenders–also have to deal with two threats from the non-BCS leagues in Fresno State and Northern Illinois. I don’t have either team making it right now, but they’re both ranked high enough–16th and 17th respectively–that the BCS will required to take them if they end up undefeated.
Please note that only one non-BCS team would be guaranteed a spot if they finish in the top 16. If both NIU and Fresno run the table, that sparks a whole new debate on which one to pick.
*I’ve held firm with Clemson as the at-large team out of the ACC, but Miami is going to be a threat for this spot. The Hurricanes are undefeated and even if you allow them two losses–to Florida State next week and then to either Virginia Tech or to Florida State again in the conference championship game. If we also assume a Clemson loss to South Carolina that would leave the choice between the Hurricanes at 10-2 or 11-2 and the Tigers at 10-2. And, given that neither team looked all that impressive in wins on Saturday, let’s keep in mind that there’s no guarantee the ACC gets a second team after Florida State. This conference could lose its bid to the Big 12, Big Ten or midmajors.
*We can still say with certainty that the SEC and Pac-12 are going to claim two of the four at-large bids. The Pac-12 results of this week–Stanford beating Oregon State and Oregon’s win over UCLA–make it even more certain that the Cardinal and Ducks will be the two teams. The race for the SEC at-large is jam-packed, with Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M all ranked between 11th and 14th.
Below is the projected field of ten and then the matchups predicted to come out of those…
THE FIELD OF TEN
ACC: Florida State
Big Ten: Ohio State
Big 12: Baylor:
American Athletic (old Big East): Central Florida
At-Larges (4): Stanford, Clemson, Oklahoma, Auburn
BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS
BCS National Championship: Alabama-Oregon
Orange: Florida State-Central Florida
Rose: Ohio State-Stanford