In most years, we would all be thrilled with the chaos of the BCS because it would make the argument for a future playoff that much more convincing. Now that a four team playoff has already been scheduled for 2014, the only benefit to all of the chaos is for people like me to have something to talk about. It looks like a simple reality at the moment. Notre Dame and the SEC champ have the inside track to the national championship game, while a total of 6 teams are still alive. Below I have given a breakdown of what each team with a chance needs to do to reach the big game, along with each conference’s championship picture, and what I believe the BCS Bowl selections will look like. Next Sunday night will be my 7th and final installment of this blog series, as the final BCS Standings and BCS Bowls will be revealed Sunday December 2nd.
For the first time since the BCS was implemented in 1998, Notre Dame holds the top spot. It’s simple for the Irish, beat USC on the road Saturday, and you play for your first National Championship since 1988. With Matt Barkley officially ruled out for Saturday’s game, the Irish will most definitely be the favorite, and will be expected to win.
2 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9333 (10-1) Sked: Auburn, SEC Title Game vs Georgia
The SEC is now almost guaranteed a spot in the title game for the 7th straight season, producing the champion in every season since 2006. Alabama needs to beat an awful Auburn team at home on Saturday, then beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game, and they will be in Miami regardless of what happens with anyone else.
3 - GEORGIA - BCS Avg: .8763 (10-1) - Sked: Georgia Tech, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (vs Bama LSU, or A&M)
Now that the Bulldogs are #3, they control their own destiny. They shouldn’t have any trouble with Georgia Tech, and have already locked up a spot in the conference championship. If they win, they play for the national championship for the first time in the BCS era. Their last title game in 1980 with Hershel Walker in the backfield, and have not been in the top 2 of the BCS standings at any point.
Florida has a much more difficult road. The fact that they are even in contention considering they were a minute and a half away from going to overtime with Louisiana Lafayette, and avoided that thanks to a blocked punt, and struggled offensively vs FCS Jacksonville State this week. They need to win at Florida State Saturday, hope for a Notre Dame loss to USC, and hope Oregon doesn’t win the Pac-12 title. If the Ducks do win, they will have beaten a top 15 Oregon State this week, and a top 15 UCLA next week, and because the BCS average is so close between Florida and Oregon, the Ducks will jump the Gators. If all that does happen in the Gators favor, it will be an all-sec final for the second straight year.
5 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .8318 (10-1) Sked: @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game vs UCLA (possibly)
The Ducks title hopes aren’t dead yet. They didn’t take care of business vs Stanford Saturday, I’ll leave the commentary on that for our radio show. First, they have to beat Oregon State this weekend. They also need USC to beat Notre Dame. If UCLA beats Stanford this week, the Ducks will host the Bruins in the conference championship with a win over the Beavers. If they win that, and everything else happens their way, they will jump Florida, and play for the National Title, knowing either Georgia or Alabama will lose in the SEC title game. If Stanford beats UCLA, the Ducks don’t play for the conference crown, but still have a shot. They need Florida State to beat Florida, meaning 4 of the teams ahead of the Ducks will have lost, and they will be #2 and play the SEC winner. Kansas State will not jump the Ducks with a win over Texas, and anyone below 7 (LSU, Stanford, Texas A&M and Florida State) will not move ahead of the Ducks either. Long story short, if Oregon wins the Civil War, and USC beats Notre Dame, Oregon has a very good chance at still going to Miami.
Kansas State has the worst chance of any of the 6 at reaching the BCS Title Game. They need Notre Dame to lose to USC, Florida to lose to FSU, and Oregon to either lose to Oregon State, or the Ducks to reach the Pac-12 title game and lose to UCLA. Oh yeah, they need to beat Texas too.
Who Wins the BCS Conferences?
NORTH: If Stanford beats UCLA, they are in. If Stanford loses, and Oregon beats Oregon State, the Ducks go.
SOUTH: UCLA wins the South. Conference Champion: Stanford
WEST: Alabama clinches with a win vs Auburn. Texas A&M and LSU are still alive, LSU plays Arkansas, and A&M plays Missouri. If there is a 3 way tie, the team with the highest BCS ranking wins the division, that is likely LSU. LEAST: Georgia has clinched the east. Conference Champion: Alabama
Legends: Nebraska wins with a win at Iowa, or a Michigan loss at Ohio State. Michigan is in with a win AND a Nebraska loss.
Leaders: Wisconsin has clinched the Leaders Division. Conference Champion: Nebraska
There is no conference championship game. K State wins with a win vs Texas. Oklahoma is the only other team with 1 conference loss, they play Oklahoma State. The Cowboys and Longhorns also still have a shot. If Texas and OK State win this weekend, there will be a 4 way tie and the highest ranked team wins. Conference Champion: Kansas State
Atlantic: Florida State has clinched the Atlantic.
Coastal: Miami wins with a win over Duke. Should Miami lose, Georgia Tech wins the Coastal. Conference Champion: Florida State
Rutgers and Louisville both control their destiny, if they win out, either wins the conference. They face each other a week from Thursday at Rutgers. They both have 2 games left, both winnable, Louisville hosts UConn, Rutgers is at Pitt. There is a slight possibility of a 4 way tie with Syracuse and Cincinnati in the mix as well, but it’s a long shot. Conference Champion: Louisville
BCS BOWL SELECTION PROCESS:
1 – BCS #1 plays BCS #2 in the championship game.
2 – Automatic conference champion affiliations: Pac-12 – Rose, Big Ten – Rose, Big XII – Fiesta, ACC – Orange.
3 – The bowl that loses their automatic qualifier to the #1 ranking gets first pick. The bowl that loses their automatic qualifier to the #2 pick has the next selection. On a rotating basis this years order of selecting at-large teams is Fiesta, then Sugar, then Orange. If there is one spot left, and the Big East champion has not been selected, the Orange Bowl must select the Big East Champion.
4 – In order for a team to be eligible for an at-large selection they must finish in the top 14 of the final BCS Standings if from an automatic qualifying conference. Since only 2 schools per conference are eligible, if there are no schools eligible in the top 14, the selecting bowl can go to the #15 ranked team, and so on. For a school from a non automatic qualifying conference to be selected, they get an automatic bid if ranked in the top 6, or can be eligible for selection by being in the top 16, and ranked higher than an automatic qualifying conferences champion.
BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:
Based on the above criteria, I have projected who will play in the BCS Bowls based on select scenarios. There are more scenarios than what I have listed. I’m assuming Florida State wins the ACC, Nebraska wins the Big Ten, and Louisville wins the Big East. If they don’t, the actual conference champion will replace them, it will not change who goes where in these scenarios.
IF Notre Dame beats USC, Stanford wins the Pac-12, and Florida loses to Florida State. (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)
BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Notre Dame vs (2) Alabama ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Oregon ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
IF Notre Dame beats USC, Oregon wins the Pac-12, and Florida loses to Florida State. (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)
BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Notre Dame vs (2) Alabama ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Oregon FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Clemson ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
IF USC beats Notre Dame, Stanford wins the Pac-12, and Florida beats Florida State:
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Florida ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Oregon ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile SUGAR BOWL: Notre Dame vs Oklahoma
If USC beats Notre Dame, Stanford wins the Pac-12 and Florida loses to Florida State
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Oregon ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Notre Dame ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
IF USC beats Notre Dame, Oregon wins the Pac-12, Florida loses to Florida State (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Oregon ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Notre Dame FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Clemson ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
There are dozens of other scenarios. These scenarios are assuming UCLA does not finish in the top 14, and Clemson beats South Carolina. We will have a more clear picture after this weekend.
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.