As we update the BCS bowl projections following the results of Week 7 it seems that both nothing has changed and that everything has changed. The actual matchups that are projected have changed very little, but the landscape has changed dramatically in a way that seems poised to eventually seep up to the surface. The four most notable developments would be the following…
*Stanford’s loss to Utah has disrupted the clarity of November’s Oregon-Stanford game in Palo Alto being a clear “national semi-final” type of game. TheSportsNotebook elevated the Ducks over the Cardinals into the national championship game a week ago, so this does not affect the final matchups. But now, should Stanford beat Oregon at home (an eminently reasonable result) it opens the door to the Clemson-Florida State winner or Ohio State to get a spot alongside the SEC champ in Pasadena on January 7.
*Texas’ win over Oklahoma promises a chaotic race for the Big 12 conference championship. The Longhorns are now 3-0 in the league after looking dead in the water. Baylor is undefeated. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are still factors. With no one looking particularly good this race looks like it will be exciting, if not necessarily high-quality. I’ve got Texas back in this slot, but it’s a subject that will require further scrutiny and regular updating.
*TheSportsNotebook’s college football coverage took a closer look at the SEC bowl projections last week, with the primary focus being the race for the league’s at-large spot. Georgia’s loss to Missouri opens up the SEC East race and by extension, the race for this spot. But when push comes to shove, the frontrunner is going to be the winner of the LSU-Texas A&M game, and for now I’ve got the Tigers.
*And bringing this full circle to Stanford, while I still have the Cardinal qualifying for the BCS as an at-large, the race for what seems a very likely second bid going to the Pac-12. UCLA is still undefeated, and even if you don’t take them seriously as a national title contender, if they can beat Stanford head-to-head and win all their games besides Oregon (a regular season meeting and if this scenario holds, another one in the Pac-12 Championship Game), the Bruins would be in good shape to pick up a Rose Bowl nod.
THE FIELD OF TEN
Big 12: Texas
Big Ten: Ohio State
American Athletic (old Big East): Louisville
At-Larges (4): LSU, Stanford, Florida State, Wisconsin
BCS National Championship: Alabama-Oregon
Sugar: LSU-Florida State
Rose: Stanford-Ohio State