Final Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — December 2nd

Once again we’ve come to the end of the college football season with questions to be answered about the BCS.

Final BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oregon vs. Kansas State
Scroll down for more

While Saturday was incredibly clarifying when it came to many of the BCS spots, as it always is, there is drama to be played out in the polls, the computer and the selection committees on Sunday.

The non-AQ debate rages. Will Northern Illinois or Boise State crack the set of BCS bowls?

Either way, it’s been as fun as it always is. Let’s get ready for bowl season.

BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)

Comment: It played out just right this year for Notre Dame and Alabama to meet in what could be the biggest name pairing in the history of the BCS title game. Two programs, each with big accomplishments in 2012 — Notre Dame’s undefeated season, Alabama’s SEC title — will meet for the BCS crown at the end of another expansive bowl season. The Crimson Tide just did enough against Georgia in the SEC title game to claim this spot and set up every BCS executive’s dream matchup.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Stanford did what it needed to do — beat UCLA twice in six days, including in the Pac-12 Championship Game — to make their way to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12’s champion. Nebraska, on the other hand, did not do what it needed against Wisconsin, instead slipping to the Badgers when it mattered most, and giving Wisconsin a third straight bid to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin’s Big Ten title comes in a year where they also recorded five losses, the most a BCS bowl bound team has ever had.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: Florida automatically qualifies for the BCS with its No. 3 final ranking, which they receive by just passing Georgia, who saw a chance at a national title shot slip away. Oklahoma, while unable to claim the Big 12’s BCS bid outright, instead makes their way to a BCS bowl on the strength of a season that came up just short of the top of the BCS. Losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame kept Oklahoma at bay, while a lone loss to Georgia kept Florida out of the SEC title game. But both find some sanctuary in the BCS anyways.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: One played in a de facto conference championship game, the other in a real one. But when it mattered the most, Florida State and Louisville stepped up against Georgia Tech and Rutgers, respectively, and will meet in the Orange Bowl as representatives of their respective conferences. For Florida State, a team that was once a perennial BCS contender, the Orange Bowl is its first since 2006, while Louisville heads to the BCS for just the second time in school history.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Both must wonder what could have been. Two teams seemingly destined for the BCS title game fell one November night within minutes of each other. And with too little time to climb back into the title race, Oregon and Kansas State are relegated to the Fiesta Bowl for what should be an incredibly interesting matchup. Oregon was left at home watching Stanford and UCLA battle for a Rose Bowl bid, but will land softly at the Fiesta Bowl, while Kansas State’s Big 12 regular season title locked them into this bowl.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — November 25th

A week remains, and although we’ve made sure to likely lock down one BCS title contender, nothing’s been guaranteed among the 10 BCS spots available.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oregon vs. Kansas State
Scroll down for more

That being said, the penultimate weekend of college football in 2012 did plenty to shine light on what will likely be a strong slate of BCS bowls, the title game included. Could this be the best slate of BCS bowls in the era?

Yes, Notre Dame is BCS title game bound, but there was plenty more to be found on college football’s showdown and rivalry Saturday.

BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Notre Dame will get its shot. With a victory over USC, the Fighting Irish are all but locked in to the BCS title game slot, where they will face the winner of an all-out national semifinal masquerading as the SEC title game when Alabama and Georgia show down. The Fighting Irish will get their shot to end a six-year streak of SEC champions, and with Alabama showing all of its colors against Auburn, we’ll project it’ll be the Crimson Tide aiming to repeat and continue that streak.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Stanford entered their regular season finale against UCLA knowing a few things well — a win would give them the Pac-12 North title and a berth in the Pac-12 title game. But the kicker was that a win would also mean another meeting with the Bruins — six days later — and that’s exactly what we got. Stanford will get a chance to gain a berth in the Rose Bowl with a repeat win over UCLA in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game.

Nebraska will get a similar shot against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, a meeting that has seemingly been in the cards for weeks, but is now official. A win there and the one-bid Big Ten will get its champion on its way to Pasadena.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: You might think that a national semifinal in the SEC Championship Game would mean the loser would end up landing softly in the BCS anyways. Unfortunately for Georgia, it is unlikely that if the Bulldogs were to lose to Alabama in the SEC title game, they would fall completely out of the BCS picture, with Florida’s win over Florida State all but assuring the Gators gaining a BCS bid if Alabama is title game bound. If the Gators finish as the top-ranked non-AQ conference champion in the top-four, Florida would be guaranteed a BCS bowl bid. If Georgia were to win, however, you might see Alabama get an at-large bid on the strength of their national profile.

Oklahoma, sneaking past Oklahoma State, gave themselves a do-or-die opportunity against TCU next weekend. A victory over the very game Horned Frogs likely means a BCS bid for the Sooners. And if the cards play out as projected, the Sugar Bowl would be quick to snap up the Sooners and pit them against the Gators.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: Two teams that had just one loss on the year both fell hard on Saturday. But with Florida State getting Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, the Seminoles will have a surprisingly down opponent to topple if they want a Orange Bowl bid, and they’ll get it.

As for the Big East, despite Louisville’s season-long dominance, has yet again turned into a mess in the final weeks of the season, with multiple teams still alive in the conference. Thankfully, we’ll get some likely closure when Rutgers and Louisville face off on Thursday. If Louisville is victorious, the highest-ranked Big East team in the BCS would BCS bowl bound, and Louisville is that projected team, with the Cardinals landing here in the Orange Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Oregon, despite an important victory against Oregon State, will miss out on the Pac-12 championship game, and in turn miss out on the Rose Bowl. But the once-defeated Ducks will likely be headed to a BCS bowl, and where better than in the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats. Of course, Oklahoma still has a shot at the Big 12 title and the Fiesta Bowl bid that comes with it, but we’ll project that Kansas State will top Texas next weekend and claim this spot, helping the Big 12 to two BCS bids once again.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — November 18th

Perhaps we should have seen it coming. For a week, the SEC’s hold on college football was at risk. One crazy Saturday later, and everything we thought we knew changed. The SEC is right back in it.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oregon vs. Kansas State
Scroll down for more

Yep, Alabama, sitting comfortably at home after ravaging Western Carolina, saw its BCS stock soar as Kansas State and then Oregon fell for the first time this season just a week after the teams ascended into the top two spots in the BCS.

We’ve said these things can shuffle. This week, the BCS bowl picture just resets starts all over again.

BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)

Comment: What happened Saturday night was made all the more important for Notre Dame and Alabama because the two teams easily handled lesser foes earlier in the day. Sitting at No. 3 and No. 4, the Irish and Tide probably didn’t expect to be in this spot when Saturday ended, but here they are. Win out and both teams will be here. But for both, and Alabama especially — with the SEC Championship Game in the way — that’s no easy task.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Lost in the hoopla over the fact that Oregon and Kansas State lost is this — Stanford beat Oregon, and controls its destiny for a Rose Bowl bid. The math is simple. If Stanford can beat UCLA next weekend, they’d win the Pac-12 North, and then get the Bruins again, six days later, with a trip to Pasadena on the line.

Sitting quietly on the weekend was the Big Ten, just watching the pieces fall around it. Nebraska still looks like the conference champion to be, but could the conference now be in line for two BCS bids despite a mostly underwhelming regular season conference-wide?

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (SEC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: If Alabama tops Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Sugar Bowl could be faced with a dilemma of significant proportions, especially given the bowl’s location in the heart of SEC territory. Given the choice between a Georgia team that would have lost its second game of the year and a once-beaten Florida team, which would the bowl choose? All this could be forgotten, however, as if the Gators beat Florida State and finish as the top-ranked non-AQ conference champion in the top-four, Florida would be guaranteed a BCS bowl bid.

After the Fiesta Bowl gets its chance to take a pick of the at-large selections, the Sugar Bowl will get a shot for the best and brightest remaining at-large BCS eligible participant, and who better than the Sooners of Oklahoma, which have been right at home in the BCS since it began.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: Two teams with one loss each could end up here, almost relegated to the Orange Bowl despite the fact that there could be just one, or zero, undefeated FBS schools eligible for BCS bowls at the end of the season. The Cardinals and Seminoles just don’t have the schedule to stack up, and land here as champions of their respective conferences.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Incredibly, if Kansas State is upended for a second straight game against Texas in two weeks, the Wildcats could go from national title game-bound to out of a BCS bowl. But if the Wildcats are able to overcome the hangover that will surely hit them hard, they’ll still be headed to a BCS bowl as the Big 12’s champion.

And who would be there to join them in at the Fiesta Bowl? Well, none other than the Oregon Ducks, knocked from Pasadena after a loss to Stanford, but prime at-large candidates. With the first pick of the remaining teams after the Sugar Bowl replaces Alabama, the Fiesta Bowl welcomes Oregon back into town.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — November 11th

It’s weekends like these that the whole “every game counts” mantra of the BCS looks all the more cunning.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Kansas State vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Florida vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

Yes, we might be headed to a non-SEC BCS champion in 2012, after just one game — a SEC showdown between mainstay Alabama and newcomer Texas A&M turned the national title race on its head, giving us the first real shock of the season.

There’s no doubt the role that one, single game plays in the layout of the BCS race. It’s completely different. It’s starts at the top, sure. But from there? It gets a little crazy. Let’s dive in.

BCS National Championship Game: Kansas State Wildcats (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: The change starts right at the top, of course, as for the first time in seven years, we might be headed for a non-SEC national champion. When the BCS standings are released tomorrow, we wont see an SEC team occupying the top spot, or the No. 2 spot. That shock to the system opens up the BCS title game to Wildcats and Ducks, which have been battling all season for an elusive No. 2 spot. Now both can win out and claim a spot.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (At-large selection) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: With Oregon headed to the title game, the Rose Bowl jumps at the chance to grab the Pac-12’s second-best team, Stanford. The Cardinal proved as much with their victory over Oregon State on Saturday, a game that might have served as an entrance exam for the Rose Bowl.

Nebraska used a late rally to squeak by Penn State, and it looks like the Cornhuskers could be headed to the Rose Bowl as the Big 12 champions.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC champion) vs. Clemson Tigers (At-large selection)

Comment: It’s odd to see the term ‘SEC champion’ next to a non-BCS title game contender, but that’s exactly what we’ll get if Oregon and Kansas State can win out. As the SEC’s champion, the Crimson Tide would get a Sugar Bowl bid by the nature of the conference’s agreement with the Sugar Bowl.

Clemson grabs this BCS bid largely because of the glut of SEC teams that can’t all get into the BCS — in fact, just two of them can — leaving the door open for a second ACC squad to grab a spot at the table.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: As far as losses go, Louisville’s loss this weekend was largely overshadowed by a much more visible and important one — Alabama’s defeat. But the two might have been equally as shocking. Louisville was unable to hang with Syracuse, putting their hold on the Big East at risk. Winning out would still spell a BCS bid for the Cardinals with Rutgers still on the schedule, so for now, Louisville sticks against the ACC champion Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: Yes, Notre Dame, even if it wins out, is squarely on the outside looking in at the national title picture if Kansas State and Oregon continue to perform to expectations. So given their outsider’s shot at the title game, the Irish land instead at the Fiesta Bowl, hungry to pick the Irish in their return trip to the BCS. For their opponent? The bowl lucks into having consecutive at-large selections, and goes with the one-loss Gators instead of the two-loss Bulldogs (their second loss coming in the SEC title game to Alabama in this projection).

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — November 4th

LSU-Alabama might not have been the earth-shattering game we anticipated last season and USC-Oregon might not have been an all-undefeated showdown of top-five squads, but it’s never a bad sign when you feel like things are still to come.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Kansas State
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

Like last week, we are left with four undefeated teams set to occupy the four top spots in the BCS. A fifth undefeated team, Louisville, trails, but is positioning itself for a BCS bid nonetheless.

Victories this weekend doesn’t do much to shift the BCS bowl projections, but trap games and key showdowns, including championship games, loom. Crunch time and November are here.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Threatened early and late, Alabama completed a comeback and proved its spot as the nation’s top team behind AJ McCarron’s game-winning drive. With three SEC games and the SEC Championship Game looming, Alabama’s tests are not complete, but it sure looks like the Crimson Tide are headed back to the title game.

Kansas State was too tested against ranked Oklahoma State, but made the final margin as convincing as anything they’ve accomplished thus far this season. Because of their body of work, Kansas State just gets the edge over Oregon in the No. 2 spot and is title game bound.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champions) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Having won three straight conference games, Nebraska looks to be getting hot at the right time, and with three more conference meetings to go before a possible berth in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Cornhuskers seem to be just what the Big Ten needed — a team that could convincingly win the conference in light of Ohio State’s ineligibility.

Oregon, in danger of missing the national championship game because of BCS math, would land in the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 champion if not in the title game as an undefeated team.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Clemson Tigers (At-large selection)

Comment: It’s funny what a dominant conference will do. With so many SEC teams filling up the BCS standings, the system itself is almost handcuffed by its own rules. Capped at two teams from any conference, the BCS will have to go looking elsewhere for its at-large teams when December comes, and sitting there might be Clemson, an impressive team, no doubt. After picking Florida as a replacement for the SEC champion Alabama, Clemson seems like a good spot filler here, replacing what could have been a Boise State squad before the Broncos were upset late Saturday night.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: Louisville was locked in a battle with Temple on Saturday until the Cardinals were finally able to pull away and complete a blowout. The performance again solidified the Cardinals’ role as Big East favorites. A conference title would likely land the Cardinals here against the ACC champion. Florida State, resting while the ACC continues to beat up on itself, looks to be the favorite to accomplish that.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: In the strange process that is the BCS bowl selection process, some things get lost in the shuffle. Among them is the draft that the bowls partake in on that fateful selection Sunday. If the national championship game is to feature Alabama and Kansas State, that would create a selection order that would see the Fiesta Bowl collect two consecutive picks. With those picks, wouldn’t they love to select a traditional Big 12 participant and an undefeated or once-beaten Notre Dame?

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — October 28th

The later we get into the season, the clearer the BCS picture. At least that’s the idea. And yet, despite the thinning of the ranks of the undefeated, the BCS picture is as murky as we’ve seen it in 2012.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Kansas State
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Scroll down for more

Florida’s loss, USC’s stumble and Notre Dame’s triumph were just some of the results that send the BCS into a murky November state. With just five weekends remaining, there are more than a few questions to answer.

The most pressing, of course, is how Oregon is to be treated moving forward. It might not make the Duck faithful happy to hear it, but Oregon is likely at the mercy of its own schedule, and at the mercy of the rest of the Pac-12. Still chasing Kansas State in the computers, the Ducks might still need some help.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama had a tough test. As did Kansas State. Things keep looking up for the Wildcats, given Florida’s loss this weekend. Kansas State is the No. 2 team in the BCS this weekend. That in and of itself has an interesting impact on the nation. When the media — and ESPN specifically — starts referring to K-State as the No. 2 team in the country, the country starts to believe it. So an undefeated end to their season could mean a shift of support their way. And with an already strong computer profile, Kansas State could be BCS title game bound. Keep reading to find out more.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champions) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Sounds like a broken record at this point, but beyond Ohio State, the Big Ten has been anything but predictable. Wisconsin looking like the team they were supposed to be headed into the season? Well, here’s a shocking overtime loss. Nebraska faltering midway through 2012? A key victory over Michigan changes that tune. So Nebraska reclaims this spot in the Rose Bowl as Big Ten champs.

Oregon is on the outside looking in at the title game. But the Pac-12 seems ripe for the taking. What to watch for if you’re a Oregon fan? The perceived level of difficulty of Oregon’s remaining schedule. It wont be so much about the computers, know that. Games remain for the Ducks against USC, Oregon State and a Pac-12 South champion. Will victories there truly reflect that of the No. 2 team in the country? That will be up to the voters. With a computer deficit to make up, Oregon will need to do much more than win, they will need to convince.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: If the Sugar Bowl is to lose its SEC champ to the BCS title game, they might be faced with an interesting conundrum — one they’ve faced before. If they can run the table the rest of the way, Georgia is likely to head to the SEC Championship Game, where they could suffer a second loss on the year. Florida, if they run off victories to end the season, would fall short. So which does the Sugar Bowl pick to replace a title-game bound Alabama?

Notre Dame, now all but assured a BCS bid, locks into the Sugar Bowl as New Orleans lucks into a strange confluence of factors the Fiesta Bowl has to deal with (explained below) and gets a fantastic matchup featuring the Irish.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: Florida State silenced Duke on the weekend, while Louisville snuck by Cincinnati as both remain in prime position to claim their respective conference titles and in turn, spots in the Orange Bowl. The Cardinals still could land elsewhere, given their opportunity now to finish as the Big East’s lone undefeated — both in conference and out of conference. But for now, let’s stay with the Orange Bowl as the landing spot for the Big East champ.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 champion) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)

Comment: With Kansas State now off to the title game, the Fiesta Bowl scrambles and attempts to fill the Big 12 slot vacated by the Wildcats with Oklahoma, a strong two-loss team. Of course, a trip here is reliant upon the Sooners being able to bounce back from a tough loss to Notre Dame.

Attempting to avoid the Oklahoma-Notre Dame rematch, the Fiesta Bowl is somewhat handcuffed into skipping the Irish here, instead pitting Oklahoma against a one-loss Boise State. Whether the Broncos are automatically qualified for the BCS or not remains to be seen. But they’re an attractive choice here either way.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — October 21st

An in-conference demonstration of strength is about the best thing any team with BCS aspirations can hope to do on any given October weekend. If you’re looking for a team to do just that this weekend, look no further than Kansas State.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Oregon vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl USC vs. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Boise State
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

While a close victory over Oklahoma might have seemed like an upset at the time, the Wildcats pummeling of West Virginia on Saturday would make anyone think that K-State is for real.

So the Wildcats make their statement against a Mountaineers squad seeing their BCS stock slip week-to-week, opening up a gap in the projections, but more importantly reminding us that we’ve got ways to go before anything here settles.

For now, we’ve got more college football to come — let’s enjoy it.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: The later we get in the season, the more this matchup seems like the kind of matchup college football’s purists and addicts would salivate over. Both Alabama and Oregon had little trouble putting together victories over conference foes. If Oregon can survive a revived USC squad and Alabama a lively group of SEC teams, they’ll get here sure enough.

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Week after week, it seems the story out of the Big Ten is Ohio State. Still undefeated — though barely — the Buckeyes can’t actually make a bowl this year. But they’re very impressive. So when picking a Big Ten champ, you have to find a school pushing for an impression of their own.

It certainly wasn’t Nebraska this weekend, so let’s go with a seemingly revived Wisconsin squad to take on the Pac-12’s second-best, USC.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)

Comment: A slow, steady climb to an 11-1 record would likely mean the Broncos would finish highest among non-BCS ranked schools in the top 12, or ranked ahead of the lowest-ranked AQ conference champion (likely the Big Ten’s) in the top 16, which guarantees a BCS bowl bid.

Even without the selection procedure, an 11-1 Boise State would still represent a strong pick for any bowl — with growing  name recognition and a strong national profile. For the Sugar Bowl, which could set up a matchup for the Broncos with Florida, this is a great, unusual showdown.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)

Comment: Both Florida State and Louisville survived tests this weekend. With an ACC championship, Florida State would be headed here. Louisville, as the Big East’s champion, would have an automatic entrance to one of these bowls, and would likely fall here or to the Sugar Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: The Wildcats now clearly in the Big 12’s drivers seat, they’ll be headed to the Fiesta Bowl as the conference’s champ if they can’t catch up to and pass the trio of squads ahead of them in the BCS. They’ll likely to see Notre Dame on the opposite sideline, even if the Irish drop a few games between here and the end of the year.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — October 14th

The middle of October can mean only one thing — BCS rankings. With Sunday’s release of the first set of BCS rankings, these bowl projections begin to hold real weight. Who is headed where when all is said and done?

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Oregon vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl USC vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. West Virginia
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

Surely, losses from some of the nation’s best — West Virginia, South Carolina, Stanford — shake things up a bit. But it’s not as much as you might expect. Teams are beginning to take hold of their own destiny, starting with the conference that has held its destiny in its hands each of the last six seasons, the SEC.

Despite the rough and tumble road an SEC team must pass through each season, their champion has been all but assured a spot in the national title game. Expect no different here in the weeks to come, despite the ripeness this season has already shown for the upset and the unexpected.

Seven weeks to go. It seems like we’re just getting started.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: The SEC continues to beat up on itself, leaving Alabama free and clear to take its place at the top of the BCS standings and the SEC itself, earning a well-deserved spot in the title game by winning the conference. Tested down the stretch in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks will do just enough to stay in this spot and make the title game as Pac-12 champions.

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: With Oregon headed to the title game, the Rose Bowl gladly will welcome back USC to Pasadena as a replacement pick from the Pac-12. A 10-win, BCS-eligible USC team would be music to the Rose Bowl’s ears. And to pit them against Nebraska, the second-best team in a conference that features a top-tier caliber team unable to make a BCS bowl, is only icing on the cake that is the normal Rose Bowl festivities.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (At-large selection)

Comment: As the pieces fall into place, Florida’s undefeated start to the 2012 season looks more and more impressive by the weekend. Pair that with what looks like a road that could end up in the SEC Championship Game against the formidable Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Florida Gators would be a strong pick for the Sugar Bowl, which will get the chance to replace the SEC champion and title game bound Tide.

West Virginia, now no longer in the drivers’ seat for the Big 12 title, instead will fall to the Sugar Bowl with a fantastic pick and chance to match two marquee schools in New Orleans.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)

Comment: Florida State bounced back strong against Boston College this weekend, and with other ACC teams struggling — yes, Maryland is the lone remaining undefeated team in conference play in the ACC — Florida State is still ripe to take the conference title and the Orange Bowl bid that comes with it.

With this year’s final selection, the Orange Bowl could be handcuffed into taking the Big East champion. But in the Louisville Cardinals, the might find a strong enough team to call for some real attention turned the Orange Bowl’s way.

Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 Champion) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: With Kansas State now in the Big 12 drivers’ seat after the West Virginia loss, they’ll head the way of the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12’s champion. Kansas State sits pretty as they make their way to Tempe as the automatic qualifier from the Big 12. The Fiesta Bowl, ripe with the opportunity to select their at-large participant first, jumps at the chance to grab a more and more qualified Notre Dame team. With a victory over Stanford, Notre Dame is doing its best to grab that BCS eligibility, and if they meet the nine-win, top-14 threshold, don’t expect the Irish to stay on the board for long.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — October 7th

With BCS rankings looming and the calendar changed to October, the weekend in college football proved almost a second opening weekend, as teams began to reposition themselves in the spectrum of competition around the college football world.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Oregon vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl USC vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Kansas State
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl West Virginia vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

Losses from three top-five teams — LSU, Georgia and Florida State — shuffled a significant amount of expectations. And with plenty of ranked matchups in the coming weeks, it’s only right to expect more of the shuffling and rearranging we saw this weekend.

Most importantly, as the ranks of the undefeated shrink, the possibilities for more debate and controversy grow and loom. It’s what we’ve come to expect at this point.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: With LSU out of the way — for now — Alabama can easily take over the Tigers’ spot in the championship game. Of course, the Tide need be wary of the Tigers when they visit Baton Rouge later this year. But for now, the Tide and Oregon are clearly the top two teams in the country.

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: It’s pretty clear now that the Big Ten’s best team rests in Ohio State. But with the Buckeyes bowl ineligible for 2012, the Big Ten will have to send a different squad to the big show come January. Despite their crushing loss to Ohio State, it looks like it might be Nebraska for a second straight week, while USC continues to occupy the backup Pac-12 team role for the Rose Bowl.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (At-large selection)

Comment: Florida assumes the Sugar Bowl’s back up pick role after Alabama heads to the title game, with South Carolina, Georgia and LSU also competing for this spot. But we’ll go with the Gators, which have games remaining against South Carolina and Georgia. If Florida can survive the grueling next few weeks, a berth in the SEC Championship Game and a BCS bowl bid might be in the cards.

Kansas State remains a strong option here as an at-large selection.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)

Comment: Florida State still has as good a shot at the ACC crown as any in its conference, despite the shocking loss to North Carolina State over the weekend. If they can rebound and win the ACC, they’ll be headed here against the Big East champs Louisville, which continues to impress.

Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big 12 Champion) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: The longer the season goes, the more West Virginia looks the part of Big 12 favorites, with Geno Smith leading the way. If they fall short of the BCS title game, the Fiesta Bowl will be the destination. Notre Dame, with the minimum of BCS eligibility, get snatched up quickly by the Fiesta Bowl.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — September 30th

College football can surprise you, whether it be a quarterback throwing for eight touchdowns, or a bowl-ineligible team proving the best squad in an automatically qualifying conference.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Oregon vs. LSU
Rose Bowl USC vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Kansas State
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl West Virginia vs. Notre Dame
Scroll down for more

Ohio State — already a thorn in Michigan State’s side — could prove the dealer of fate for the Big Ten’s BCS bowl bid. And the Buckeyes can’t even make the Big Ten Championship Game.

And Geno Smith can certainly hang with the now traditional offensive fireworks of the Big 12. But can the defense step up at all?

Plus, is there any reason to read into slow starts by the three teams everyone believes the trio at the head of the 2012 class, Alabama, LSU and Oregon?

BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Both were slow out of the gate. But it’s not how you start, of course, it’s how you finish. And Oregon and LSU finished strong to stay unbeaten a weekend longer as the ranks of the undefeated continued to shrink. Could they be the only two remaining undefeated teams come season’s end? If so, they’re headed to the title game.

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: It’s fascinating that the Big Ten’s best team might be bowl-ineligible Ohio State. A conference that would normally love to have a dominant single team — mostly to angle for a title game berth — instead must fight among itself to find a second-best squad to send the BCS’s way. The line between a group of maybe five teams is razor thin. But Nebraska had the best win of the weekend, so they’ll go here for now.

USC, if able to close the season strong, and even with a loss to Oregon, could easily make their way to Pasadena.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (At-large selection)

Comment: A simple victory for Alabama and an off week for Kansas State keeps this matchup intact and somewhat ordinary for a bit. But both certainly have slightly higher aspirations than this game. And they’ll both get a chance to prove it as the season goes on.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)

Comment: It wasn’t necessarily easy for either Florida State or Louisville to stay undefeated in Week 5, but they both managed to outlast surprisingly tough road foes to do just that. Right now, both look like bankable assets for the BCS in the early part of the season.

Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big 12 Champion) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: While Geno Smith’s stat line might have been the story of West Virginia’s 70-63 victory over Baylor, the game as a whole proved that the Mountaineers are ready and able to hang with all the best offense the conference has to offer. That being said, a defense — even in the Big 12 — to win an AQ conference. Can the Mountaineers’ find one moving forward?

Notre Dame, still aiming for that nine-win, top-14 plateau, was off this week, and has Miami in South Bend next weekend.