Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 22

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What can we learn from a week with few upsets, likely as a result of the few tests on the docket for the nation’s best teams? Teams such as Stanford and Notre Dame had interesting opponents, but like most of the rest of the country took care of business.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

So the projected BCS bowl picture doesn’t change this week, but we can say with some certainty that some of the nation’s best are carving out an identity as we head toward October and the first BCS standings.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama didn’t dispatch Colorado State in overwhelming fashion and Stanford let Arizona State hang around after jumping out to a big lead, but both continue to look like national title contenders in a crowded field of possible title teams. Alabama gets Ole Miss next weekend and Stanford continues its start to the Pac-12 season against Washington State.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Seems like without Braxton Miller, Ohio State has been able to turn its offensive attack into a scoring machine, as the Buckeyes posted 76 points against Florida A&M and Kenny Guiton posted six touchdowns. Oregon had the week off, and continues to look national title game worth, but if they are to fall short, the Rose Bowl would likely come calling.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Is constantly dodging upsets good for a team this early in the season? It might be, or it might just be that Michigan is not as good as was advertised before the 2013 started. But after struggling against Akron and UConn, Michigan remains undefeated, an important distinction this early in the season. If they can get this turned around, a BCS bowl bid could very easily be in their future, no matter how much they’ve struggled so far this year.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: The ACC looks like a strong conference top-to-bottom in 2013, and coming out ahead of teams like Florida State and revived looking Georgia Tech, Maryland and Miami will be a tough road to complete. But Clemson seems the class of the conference, at least thus far, and a Orange Bowl bid will be the reward if they are able to top the conference.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville put up a big 72 points against an inferior FIU team on Saturday, staking yet another claim to their spot as the best of the newly formed AAC’s football schools and doing nothing to change the general consensus that they’ll be able to finish this season undefeated. But even an undefeated season might not be enough to get them to the title game.

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Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 15

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Alabama got it’s fair share of scare on Saturday but survived a trip to Kyle Field and continues to ride atop the college football landscape in the early parts of the final year of the BCS.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

So for now, not much changes in the picture we’re painting of the 2013 college football season. Alabama and the SEC continue to put a scare into most.

Though perhaps not Oregon, whose fans were calling for Alabama after crushing Tennessee. They might just get the chance:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama traveled to Kyle Field and survived in the way they could not last season. The Crimson Tide still captured the title last season after a loss to the Aggies, now with Manziel and Texas A&M out of the way, is the path cleared for a return trip? So far so good. Stanford had a little trouble waking up against Army, but eventually got past the Black Knights with ease. We still project them getting by Oregon for the Pac-12 title and a title game berth.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: No Braxton Miller, no problem for Ohio State as the Buckeyes easily dispatched California, and look still like the Big Ten favorites, as Michigan struggled, Nebraska lost and Wisconsin … something. Oregon looked their classic attacking offensive selves, crushing Tennessee so soundly that fans started chanting for a shot at Alabama.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia had the week off, and Michigan struggled mightily with Akron at home, but with a chance to get things worked out next weekend against Connecticut, the Wolverines still look well in control of a possible at-large bid, as do the Bulldogs.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: No game on the docket for Clemson, and though Florida State did look the part of ACC champs this weekend, Clemson’s victory over Georgia is the standard-bearer in the conference thus far. Oklahoma had a little trouble separating from Tulsa early, but were fine down the stretch and have again started the season strong. Can they keep it up?

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville look just okay against Kentucky, but it was more than enough to get by, and the Cardinals are still well in control of their destiny for a final BCS bid. Oklahoma State blasted Lamar this weekend, but the Cowboys will get a chance to prove they’re for real over the next few weeks, as they take on a meaty Big 12 schedule.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 8

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Things have often fallen apart for some favorites in the early goings of the BCS seasons that have transpired in these last few seasons.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

This year will be no different, as South Carolina, Texas and Florida took hard tumbles in the second week of 2013. But all is not lost. From strong conferences with plenty of title and BCS contenders, these teams have time to reinvigorate the run at final BCS glory.

Is it to be this season? We’ll soon find out. But for now, here are some projected BCS bowls for the final season of this era:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: To pull yourself out of the off-season routine takes something special. And for both Alabama and Stanford, it seemed like things were not so easy on their first tries out of the gate. But with favorable schedules, though laden with plenty of roadblocks, the Crimson Tide and Cardinal could be headed on a red collision course.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Things like Virginia and San Diego State serve little more than minor speed bumps in the journey of teams like Ohio State and Oregon’s roads to a BCS bowl bid. But more worrisome can be injuries like the one Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller suffered Saturday. Could the Buckeyes survive without him? It certainly seems like the Ducks keep rolling no matter who’s coaching, playing or running. The interesting part will be to see if Ohio State can persevere if Miller is to miss some time.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia bounced right back after last week’s disappointing loss to Clemson with a big win over South Carolina to right their ship. That puts them in a good spot for an at-large bid in the BCS. Michigan got its much-ballyhooed victory over Notre Dame in the final appearance in the Big House featuring the two squads. Both seem in contention for at-large bids.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: No problems for Clemson against much lesser South Carolina State, but it’s the Oklahoma Sooners with a big victory over West Virginia in the face of a shocking Texas loss to BYU that sets the Sooners up with a chance to claim an at-large bid in the final BCS slate. With the first selection after the auto-bids are filled, the Orange Bowl might have a chance to attract the team with the second-most BCS appearances in the era.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville coasts and Oklahoma State more than survives as the two conference favorites continue early successes in the 2013 season. With a Fiesta Bowl bid guaranteed to the Big 12 champ if they are to miss the national title game, the Cowboys land here, and with a weak schedule leading to an undefeated run to the end of the season, the Cardinals land here, perhaps undeservingly.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 2

It’s tough to tell if you can learn much from one week of college football. One game played doesn’t always shed much light on the landscape of college football in any season.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

But we’ve kicked off the last season of the BCS era, and in a few games played over the long weekend, spectacularly so.

Games between Georgia and Clemson and a litany of FCS teams beating FBS teams gave the otherwise somewhat droll weekend some color. So what have we learned, really?

Here’s a slate of projected BCS bowls to illustrate it:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: That story that has been told so often these last few years about Alabama reloading every year, despite so many NFL-bound players, held mostly true Saturday. The Crimson Tide, though, did look a little rusty and needed help from special teams to get by Virginia Tech. They’re still favored to land in the title game, where they’d meet a No. 2 Stanford team that has yet to kick off 2013.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Both Oregon and Ohio State looked solid on Saturday, though Oregon certainly had an easier time with things against Nicholls State than Ohio State did against Buffalo. The Ducks looked like they hadn’t lost a step despite a new head coach, behind Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas. If they miss out on the title game, expect them here in the Rose Bowl with the Buckeyes.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia lost a thriller to Clemson, but has the chance next weekend to bounce right back against South Carolina, and with a game between the hedges scheduled, expect the Bulldogs to right the ship and reposition themselves for this at-large selection, replacing a title-game bound Alabama team. Michigan, which looked solid against Central Michigan, can easily run out a 10- or 11-win 2013, and with it, a chance to be BCS bound in the last year of the era.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Texas Longhorns (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson captured what was the win of the weekend by topping Georgia in thrilling fashion, and validated the preseason hype surrounding the Tigers. TCU was not as lucky to beat an SEC foe on Saturday, giving Texas, which cruised past New Mexico State on Saturday, an early leg up on an at-large BCS bid, which they get here as the first at-large selection of the slate.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Oklahoma State proved its prowess in topping Mississippi State in a strong out-of-conference opener for the Big 12 favorites. If Oklahoma State can hang with the SEC, you have to like their odds in the Big 12. Louisville, which opens its season on Sunday, could easily finish the season undefeated, but without a strong opponent to its credit, may fall short of the BCS title game and instead land here, as the final draft pick of the bowls.

Q&A Session: The 2013 BCS and College Football Season

Some of the more common questions about the upcoming 2013 college football season answered here:

Q. Playoffs? Now? Please?

A. Just one more year college football fans. This year is your final chance to say goodbye to the BCS!

Q. When will the first BCS standings be released in 2013? What’s the rest of the release schedule?

A. The first BCS standings will be released the Sunday following Week 8 action, Oct. 20.

The BCS will then release rankings for the rest of the season as follows:

BCS Week Two: Oct. 27
BCS Week Three: Nov. 3
BCS Week Four: Nov. 10
BCS Week Five: Nov. 17
BCS Week Six: Nov. 24
BCS Week Seven: Dec. 1
Final BCS Standings: Dec. 8

Bowl pairings for the BCS and non-BCS bowls will also be released Dec. 8.

Q. How many conferences are there?

A. After the Western Athletic Conference disbanded, we are left with six AQ conferences and four non-AQ conferences. Read more below.

Q. What teams switched conferences this season?

A. The following 18 teams, including members of the disbanded WAC, changed football conference affiliation or became independent before the start of the 2013 college football season:

Pittsburgh Panthers — Big East to ACC
Syracuse Orange
— Big East to ACC
UCF Knights
— C-USA to American
Houston Cougars
  — C-USA to American
Memphis Tigers
 — C-USA to American
SMU Mustangs
 — C-USA to American
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs — WAC to C-USA
UT-San Antonio Roadrunners — WAC to C-USA
FIU Panthers — Sun Belt to C-USA
North Texas Mean Green — Sun Belt to C-USA
FAU Owls — Sun Belt to C-USA
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders — Sun Belt to C-USA
San Jose State Spartans — WAC to Mountain West
Utah State Aggies — WAC to Mountain West
Texas State Bobcats — WAC to Sun Belt
Georgia State Panthers — FCS to Sun Belt
Idaho Vandals — WAC to Independent
New Mexico State Aggies — WAC to Independent

Q. What is this year’s BCS bowl selection order?

A. After conference contracts and the BCS title game requirements fill, the bowls will select at-large teams in this order:

1. Orange Bowl
2. Sugar Bowl
3. Fiesta Bowl

You can find more information about the BCS bowl selection process at the BCS Bowls page.

Q. What are the “automatically qualifying” BCS conferences?

A. There are six AQ BCS conferences, thus named because the champions of those conferences are automatically awarded BCS bowl bidsThe six conferences are the American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Q. What are the “non-automatically qualifying” BCS conferences?

A. There are four non-AQ conferences, named as such because their champions do not automatically qualify for BCS bowl bids. However, one champion from the non-AQ conferences will qualify for a BCS bowl bid if they rank in the top 12 in the last BCS standings, or if a non-BCS conference champion ranks higher than any BCS conference champion ranked among the top 16.

The four non-BCS conferences are the Conference USA (C-USA), the Mountain West Conference (MWC), the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

Q. When are the conference championship games?

A. Conference championship games for the Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West and C-USA will be held during the last week of the college football season.

Q. Where is this year’s BCS National Championship Game?

A. The 2014 BCS National Championship Game will be played in Pasadena, Calif. on January 6, 2014. For a full bowl schedule visit the BCS and Non-BCS pages.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — Preseason

One more time. Just once more will the BCS decide a champion in college football. Whether you loved or hated it, you have to admit the BCS was a lightning rod for conversation and lively debate in the college football world.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Louisville
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. TCU
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Boise State
Scroll down for more

It’s always been fun to project what’s about to happen in each season under the BCS. And this one is no different. Could Alabama close the BCS era on an unprecedented streak that will likely imprint them as the team of the era?

We’re about to find out. Plus there are nine other slots to be filled one last time in this group of five bowls that has survived years of debate and hatred. We can only hope it finishes strong.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama could very well complete a run so unmatched in modern college football that the BCS will be inextricably linked to the Crimson Tide, even though Alabama didn’t even capture its first BCS victory until the 2010 title game. Looks like 2013 is shaping up to be another crimson year.

On the other sideline you could find another red — the Cardinal of Stanford. With a home contest against Oreogn on the docket and a very high preseason ranking, it’s not too difficult to see Stanford making the final climb in the last BCS year.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: It is that one contest against Stanford in Palo Alto that makes a trip to the Rose Bowl more likely than one to the title game for the Ducks, who similarly come into the season with a big preseason ranking and a handful of Heisman hopefuls.

The Buckeyes of Ohio State are a prohibitive No. 2 this year after sitting out a year with postseason ineligibility, but unlike their cakewalk schedule of last year, there are landmines to trip over, and we’ll say that at least one of them gets the Buckeyes, keeping them from a final trip to the BCS title game.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion)

Comment: Georgia was a few yards from a title game berth last year, and instead got left out of the BCS all together. Not a pretty sight for the Bulldogs’ faithful, but with the right set of circumstances in 2013, it seems like the season could finally play out for a Georgia return to the BCS for the first time since the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

Louisville has what amounts to one of the country’s easiest schedules in 2013, and though they may survive without a blemish to their record, it will be a tough climb to get into the title game picture. If they do miss out, a berth in a BCS bowl as the inaugural champs of the American Athletic Conference shouldn’t be too tough to come by.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson’s recent rise as an ACC power comes not surprisingly as a result of the play and reputation of quarterback Tajh Boyd and a threatening offensive attack. After missing the BCS last season, expect the Tigers to take advantage of a somewhat young and weakened ACC to a conference title and a bid to the last BCS-era Orange Bowl.

TCU’s first two bids to the BCS came as a result of their surprising seasons as a member of a non-AQ conference. The Horned Frogs showed they could hang with the big boys then, and now, with a year of Big 12 experience under its belt, TCU should vie for a shot at a BCS berth.

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

Comment: No one school symbolizes what the BCS tried to do with its at-large and non-AQ addendums than Boise State. And with a high preseason ranking and a somewhat breezy schedule ahead of them, the Broncos could make one last bow on the BCS stage.

Oklahoma State leads a bunched-up Big 12 conference of favorites, but we’ll say with a favorable schedule and a strong returning group of players that the Cowboys will grab this automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 champs.

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