2013-14 BCS Bowl Selection Process Explained


More information can be found at the BCS Bowls page.

The BCS was created (by its own admission) to facilitate the meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the country in the BCS national title game. As we’ve figured out in the years since its creation, it does much, much more than that. The system also pairs the teams in its four bowls — the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta. But how exactly does that happen?

In the 2013 season as in past years, there is a specific selection process for the five games with slight changes year-to-year.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, representatives from the conferences, bowl games and schools meet to decide the matchups in the five bowl games in the following fashion. (We’ve added some context for this season):

Creating the BCS Selection Pool

  • The champions of the six automatically qualifying BCS conferences — the ACC, AAC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — all receive guaranteed bids to BCS games.
  • The highest-ranking conference champion among the four non-AQ conferences — the C-USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt — in the final BCS rankings will be assured of a bid to a BCS bowl if they rank within the top 12 or within the top 16 and rank higher than any AQ conference champion.
    • Northern Illinois is in play here
  • Notre Dame will automatically qualify for a BCS bowl if it finishes among the top eight in the final BCS standings.
    • Not happening this year.
  • Any team to win nine games and finish within the top 14 of the final BCS standings will be BCS bowl-eligible. Teams in the top 18 with nine wins may also be eligible if there are not enough eligible teams in the top 14.
  • Though more than two teams from a single conference can be BCS bowl eligible, no more than two teams from a single conference can be selected to play in the five BCS bowls.

BCS National Championship Game Participants

  • The teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS standings — regardless of conference affiliation or own-conference finish — will be placed in the BCS National Championship Game to be held in Pasadena, California in January 2014 as the selection committee’s first measure.

Filling Conference Affiliation

  • After the BCS title game is filled, the remaining BCS bowls will fill their bowls with their traditional “anchor host” conference champions as follows:
    • Rose Bowl: Big Ten and Pac-12
    • Fiesta Bowl: Big 12
    • Orange Bowl: ACC
    • Sugar Bowl: SEC

Championship Replacement

  • If any of the bowls’ traditional anchor hosts have been lost to the BCS National Championship Game, that bowl will be allowed to select a replacement team from the eligible pool before other picks are made.
  • If more than one bowl loses a host conference champion, the bowl which lost the BCS No. 1 will choose its replacement from the pool first, followed by the bowl that lost the BCS No. 2.

Filling the Rest of the Bowls

  • Once all the affiliation and replacement selections have been made, the Sugar, Fiesta and Orange will select from among the remaining members of the eligibility pool in the following order:
    • Orange, Sugar, Fiesta
  • One of these three bowls will be required to select the AAC champion and the automatically qualifying non-AQ champion if one exists.
  • If not selected previously, a team which finishes third in the final BCS standings will automatically be awarded a spot in a BCS bowl if they are an at-large team and not an AQ BCS conference champion. If the third team is a conference champion, the fourth-place team will also be given this automatic eligibility if not selected previously.
  • The three bowls will then select among the rest of the pool if no other teams automatically qualify for inclusion among the five bowls.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 8


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.

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.


2013 BCS Bowl Matchups

The 2013 slate of BCS bowl is official, and we’ve got some intriguing matchups in store.

The BCS slate begins on New Year’s Day with the traditional Rose Bowl, followed by the Orange Bowl that night.

We’ll get the Sugar and Fiesta bowls in successive nights on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 before we take a few days break before the Alabama-Notre Dame showdown we’ve all been anticipating finally happens.

The 10 BCS teams include six AQ conference champions, one non-AQ conference champion and two teams that did not play in their conference title games.

2013 BCS Schedule

Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

January 1, 2013 5 p.m. EST

Wisconsin Badgers


Stanford Cardinal

Comment: The Badgers will be making a third straight appearance in the Rose Bowl, but they’ve lost their last two attempts in Pasadena. Stanford is also working on a three-peat — a third trip to the BCS. But this is their first Rose Bowl in that stretch. Can Stanford win in Pasadena again?

Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.

January 1, 2013 8:30 p.m. EST

Florida State Seminoles


Northern Illinois Huskies

Comment: They weren’t supposed to make it. They weren’t supposed to be able to bust the BCS this year. But Northern Illinois did just that. And they did it spectacularly, blasting six spots in one week to clinch a BCS bowl. They’ll get their reward against ACC champion Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.

January 2, 2013 8:30 p.m. EST

Florida Gators


Louisville Cardinals

Comment: Florida returns to the BCS picture by finishing as the highest-ranked, AQ-conference member to not win its own division in the top four. Louisville, the Big East’s BCS representative after coming out ahead on all of the conference’s tiebreakers, is back in the BCS for just the second time. What could be in store for a Big East-SEC meeting between two schools full of talent?

Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona

January 3, 2013 8:30 p.m. EST

Kansas State Wildcats


Oregon Ducks

Comment: Oregon and Kansas State were set to face off in the BCS title game not too long ago. But shocking losses in short order doomed any shot the Ducks or Wildcats had at the title game. Instead we’ll get what looks like one of the best Fiesta Bowls in recent memory as the Pac-12’s longtime powerhouse Oregon takes on the Big 12 champ Kansas State.

BCS National Championship Game in Miami, Fla.

January 7, 2013 8:30 p.m. EST

Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Alabama Crimson Tide

Comment: It’s what we’ve been waiting for. Alabama, the SEC champ, gets to take on undefeated and heralded Notre Dame in a BCS title game that will definitely have the attention of the nation. Alabama will try to do the as-of-yet impossible, repeat as BCS champions. Notre Dame, appearing in its first BCS title game, will try to ruin the SEC’s six-year iron grip on the BCS title.

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.

Alabama Wins SEC Crown, Will Get Shot At A Repeat BCS National Title

Alabama will get its shot at BCS history. For the first time since Ohio State made back-to-back trips to the BCS National Championship Game in 2007 and 2008, we have a return contender for the BCS title in the Crimson Tide.

But unlike the Buckeyes, who lost both attempts to lift the crystal football, the Crimson Tide have a shot to make history — and win a second straight BCS national title, something that has not been accomplished in the BCS era.

With a thrilling 32-28 victory over Georgia in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide locked up the SEC’s automatic bid to a BCS bowl. But more importantly, the BCS No. 2 Crimson Tide assured themselves of a spot in the national championship game against Notre Dame. The achievement will become official when the bowl pairings are announced tomorrow.

In last season’s BCS title game, the Crimson Tide bested LSU in a rematch of a regular season game between the two teams that the Tigers won. Alabama made the championship game without competing for the SEC title, riling up many fans around the country. This year the Crimson Tide completed a 12-1 record with an SEC crown to boot.