The BCS — at least the part that everyone hated with an undying passion — ends Sunday. But the bowl games, which could range anywhere from epic showdowns to embarrassing blowouts, will stretch into January.
|BCS Bowl Projections
||Florida State vs. Auburn
||Stanford vs. Michigan State
||Alabama vs. Oklahoma
||Clemson vs. Ohio State
||Baylor vs. UCF
|Scroll down for more
When a BCS season ends like this one did, though, there isn’t much to say other than to just try as best as you can to relive the great games that filled the final week of the season.
It’s clear now that Auburn’s victory in the SEC championship game added to Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State will send the Tigers to the BCS title game. But where is everyone else headed? We project here:
BCS National Championship Game: Florida State Seminoles (BCS No. 1) vs. Auburn Tigers (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Auburn waited all day to see if they’d either have to bite their fingernails or be a little less frazzled come Sunday when it came to their national title hopes. It turned out that Michigan State was ready to help the Tigers out, so Auburn will be walking into Pasadena with a chance to close out the BCS era with another SEC national championship. They’ll meet No. 1 Florida State, the only team to finish the year undefeated in regular season play.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten champion)
Comment: Stanford certainly looked the part of Pac-12 champion against Arizona State in the conference title game, and for that the Cardinal will be on their way to the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 champs. They’ll get the chance to take on Big Ten champions Michigan State, who closed out its season with a huge victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, clinching their spot here.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)
Comment: Alabama will get the first look from the Sugar Bowl when it tries to replace its lost SEC champion in Auburn. Sure, the Orange Bowl will have a first shot to replace Florida State, but knowing the way the BCS bowls work, the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl are sure to work out a way to share the responsibility of getting their fans what they want. Oklahoma would be a nice pairing for the Sugar Bowl’s final BCS bow.
Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (At-large selection)
Comment: Clemson will be the first place the Orange Bowl will look when trying to replace Florida State, but the real question and big story here will be how the bowls treat Ohio State. The once-beaten Buckeyes looked ready for a trip to the BCS title game, but instead will be missing out on the chance to close out the BCS with a title. Instead, the Orange Bowl will have a chance to pick first and third, and could pick a variety of teams to square off with Clemson, but Ohio State looks like the pick.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears (Big 12 champion) vs. UCF Knights (AAC champion)
Comment: A final weekend of classic BCS football played right into Baylor hands. First, Northern Illinois dropped its final chance to secure a BCS bowl bid, opening up the door slightly for the Bears to get an at-large bid. But come Saturday night, Baylor was playing for it all — a Big 12 title opportunity after Oklahoma State faltered. And with a victory over Texas, Baylor is BCS bowl bound. They’ll likely get AAC champion UCF as the Fiesta Bowl will be saddled with the last pool choice pick, which in all likelihood will be the Knights.