With Alabama's loss to Texas A&M, things got much more simple, there are only 3 unbeaten bowl eligible teams left in FBS (Louisville lost Ohio State is not bowl eligible despite being 10-0 thanks to NCAA Sanctions). It's still possible for K State, Oregon, and Notre Dame to lose a game with difficult opponents on each teams schedule. If one of the 3 loses, it's easy to figure out. If 2 of the 3 lose, it's a little more difficult. If all 3 lose, I don't even want to think about what will happen. I've been saying all year, just wait.... thing's always work themselves out, and this year is no different. As every week, here is my take on each teams chance to reach the BCS Title game, along with conference and bowl predictions:
1 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .9674 (10-0) Sked: @ Baylor, Texas
At this point, Kansas State is almost guaranteed a spot in the BCS Title game should they win out. The offense was contained Saturday by a decent TCU defense, and Collin Klein was visibly not himself. The defense looked as strong as ever. It really doesn't matter anymore if Oregon passes them, which is possible, as long as Notre Dame doesn't, they're fine. Their lead in the BCS average over ND is so large, there is almost no chance of that happening unless the voters all of a sudden decide to make some drastic changes to their ballots.
2 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .9497 (10-0) Sked: Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game
Duck fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Like Kansas State, Oregon should be in Miami fairly easily if they win out. Again, as long as you are in the top 2, that's all that counts, being #1 is not important. There should be no worry about respect, Oregon has 90 of the 115 first place votes in the Harris Poll, and 44 of the 59 first place votes in the Coaches Poll, so the humans are clearly favoring Oregon. The computer average is 4, and could be higher once it's all said and done. There's very little chance that Notre Dame will pass them if both teams win out.
3 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .9396 (10-0) Sked: Wake Forest, @USC
Really the only way for Notre Dame to reach the BCS Title game is if Oregon or Kansas State lose, and they don't. Wake Forest should be easy this week, and USC the following week, not so much. Even though they are #1 in the computers, there is just way too much of a gap in the human polls to even things out, and they don't have any opportunities left to change the voters' minds. It's very difficult mathematically to catch up to either the Wildcats, or the Ducks.
4 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .8534 (9-1) Remaining Schedule: Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta
Bama still has a great shot at playing in Miami. If at least 2 of the top 3 lose, and they win out, they will be the highest ranked 1 loss team, and they will be in. It's not out of the question just yet. If all 3 of the top 3 lose 1 game, there's no question Bama gets in.
Can anyone outside of the top 4 play for the National Championship?
Yes. If 2 of the top 3 lose, and #5 Georgia wins the SEC title game, they will be in. That's the only chance, since 4 through 9 are all in the SEC. A 1 loss Florida will not get in over a 1 loss K State, Oregon, ND, Alabama, or Georgia, since they can't win the SEC.
Sure, there are other scenarios, but the chances of those happening are so incredibly slim, it's not worth getting into. We can tackle that next week if necessary.
Who Wins the BCS Conferences?
NORTH: If Oregon beats Stanford Saturday, they clinch the north. Stanford would need to beat Oregon and UCLA, or beat Oregon, lose to UCLA, and hope Oregon State beat's Oregon. My Pick: Oregon
SOUTH: The winner of UCLA/USC Saturday clinches the south. My Pick: USC
Conference Champion: Oregon
WEST: Alabama can clinch the west with a win over Auburn, or a Texas A&M loss to Missouri. Texas A&M with a win over Missouri AND an Alabama loss to Auburn. My Pick: Bama
EAST: Georgia has clinched the east.
Conference Champion: Alabama
Legends: Nebraska controlls their own destiny, wins over Minnesota and Iowa puts them in. Should they lose 1 of 2, they would need Michigan to lose to Iowa or Ohio State. Michigan is in with 2 wins and 1 Nebraska loss. My Pick: Nebraska
Leaders: Wisconsin has clinched the Leaders Division.
Conference Champion: Nebraska
With no conference champion, the team with the best record wins the conference. If Kansas State beats Baylor OR Texas, they win the conference. Oklahoma wins with wins over WVU, OK State, and TCU and 2 losses by K State.
Conference Champion: Kansas State
Atlantic: Florida State clinches with a win over Maryland OR a Clemson loss to NC State. Clemson wins with a win over NC State AND an FSU loss to Maryland. My Pick: Florida State
Coastal: Miami is in with a win over Duke OR a Georgia Tech loss to Duke. Duke, yes Duke is in with wins over Miami AND Georgia Tech. My Pick: Miami. Duke has not looked very good the last 2 weeks in losses to FSU and Clemson, but I wouldn't be shocked if Duke gets there. I'm rooting for it to happen.
Conference Champion: Florida State
Rutgers is in by winning out (Cincy, Pitt, Louisville), Louisville is in by winning out (UConn, Rutgers), Cincinnati is in by winning out (Rutgers, USF, UConn) and a Louisville loss to Rutgers. That's the simple explanation. There are more scenarios.
Conference Champion: Louisville
BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:
Keep in mind, in order to reach a BCS game, you have to either win your automatic qualifying conference, be in the top 14 to be an AQ at large. Things could get interesting, as 6 SEC teams are currently in the top 14, meaning any team in the top 14 not in the SEC would automatically get in.
Whichever Bowl loses an automatic conference tie in, they get first pick. Remember, only 2 teams per conference are eligible. Current Rankings in parenthesis. Below are my projections based on current standings, the selection process is listed below the projections.
BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Kansas State (BCS #1/BIG XII CHAMP) vs (2) OREGON (BCS #2/Pac 12 CHAMP)
ROSE BOWL: (14) NEBRASKA (BIG TEN CHAMP) vs (12) OKLAHOMA (AT LARGE)
FIESTA BOWL: (3) NOTRE DAME vs (6) FLORIDA (AT LARGE)
ORANGE BOWL: (10) FLORIDA STATE (ACC CHAMP) vs (19) LOUISVILLE (BIG EAST CHAMP)
SUGAR BOWL: (4) ALABAMA (SEC CHAMP) vs (11) CLEMSON (AT LARGE)
Title Game is automatically BCS #1 vs BCS #2
The Fiesta Bowl gets first pick since they lose the #1 team to the championship game, they Pick Notre Dame.
The Rose Bowl is next since they lose the #2 team, they would select Oklahoma to play against Nebraska, who gets the automatic spot. The Rose Bowl has been very public with the fact they want to keep tradition and select a Pac-12 team to play, but there may not be one eligible. Stanford (13), Oregon State (16), UCLA (17), and USC (18) would all lose again in this scenario, and may all be 15 or lower. Because of where the Rose Bowl selects, they would not have the option of taking a team outside of the top 14. Oklahoma offers the best draw for travel, and the opportunity to have former conference rivals squaring off would be very attractive.
The Fiesta Bowl has the next pick based on yearly rotation, they pick Florida.
The Sugar Bowl has the next pick based on yearly rotation, they pick Clemson, who would play Alabama, who plays in this game based on their automatic conference tie in.
The Orange Bowl gets the final pick based on yearly rotation, they would be stuck with Louisville, Florida State has an automatic conference tie in.
If my projections are correct, 4 SEC teams in the top 14 would be left out, Texas could be in the top 14 and get left out with Kansas State and Oklahoma getting in. There is a possibility that a Pac-12 Team could be ranked in the top 14, Stanford could lose to Oregon and still be there, UCLA would be if they beat USC and lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, and they would play in the Rose Bowl. USC could be there by winning out, and losing to Oregon, Oregon State could (unlikely) get in by beating Cal and losing to Oregon. If that happens, Clemson probably gets left out. If that does happen, here are my Bowl projections.
Title Game: Kansas State vs Oregon
Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs UCLA/USC/Stanford/Oregon State
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs Florida
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs Louisville
For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app.