2013-14 BCS Bowl Selection Process Explained

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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.

2013 BCS implications and strength of schedule worksheet for Week 10

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As it has in every college football season under the reign of the BCS, a team’s computer ranking is its most confusing and debate-causing aspect of the entire Bowl Championship Series process.

Which team has accomplished the most when the numbers are all you can see? It’s hard for a sport that includes so much subjectivity to remove the fan/expectation/showmanship aspect from the game and look at only the data.

That’s why here at BCS Know How for the last three years we’ve put together the implication worksheet. Which teams have accomplished the most according to the computers? And what teams still have the opportunity to accomplish more?

So what can you find here? The top eight BCS teams (or smaller, if the “striking distance” shrinks), along with their record and strength of schedule, according to Sagarin.

The real important stats, however, come after that. Each team is listed with key games already played, and key games to come. Key games are any against the BCS top 25 or the Sagarin PURE_ELO top 60. If teams are unlisted in the BCS, they are listed with their Sagarin rank, and all SOS is Sagarin-based.

Games for the upcoming weekend are bolded.

Note: All teams are included in the Sagarin data, including bowl-ineligible and FCS teams. If they count there, they count here. The BCS throws out any FCS or ineligible team when calculating its final tally.

BCS No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) SOS: 41

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies (6-2) SOS: 32 — Won 49-42
  • Sagarin No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2) SOS: 37 — Won 35-10
  • Sagarin No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels (5-3) SOS: 2 — Won 25-0
  • Sagarin No. 57 Tennessee Volunteers (4-4) SOS: 5 — Won 45-10

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 11 Auburn Tigers (7-1) SOS: 51 — Nov. 30
  • BCS No. 13 LSU Tigers (7-2) SOS: 30 — Nov. 9
  • SEC Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 2 Oregon Ducks (6-0) SOS: 16

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 20 UCLA Bruins (5-2) SOS: 28 — Won 42-14
  • Sagarin No. 36 Washington Huskies (5-3) SOS: 16 — Won 45-24
  • Sagarin No. 47 Washington State Cougars (4-4) SOS: 15 — Won 62-38
  • Sagarin No. 57 Tennessee Volunteers (4-4) SOS: 5 — Won 59-14

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (7-1) SOS: 9 — Nov. 7
  • Sagarin No. 28 Oregon State Beavers (6-2) SOS: 60 — Nov. 29
  • Sagarin No. 34 Arizona Wildcats (5-2) SOS: 55 — Nov. 23
  • Pac-12 Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (7-0) SOS: 68

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 8 Clemson Tigers (7-1) SOS: 39 — Won 51-14
  • Sagarin No. 46 Pittsburgh Panthers (4-3) SOS: 42 — Won 41-13
  • Sagarin No. 56 FCS Bethune-Cookman (7-1) SOS: 190 — Won 54-6

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 7 Miami Hurricanes (7-0) SOS: 82 — Nov. 2
  • Sagarin No. 31 Florida Gators (4-3) SOS: 14 — Nov. 30
  • ACC Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) SOS: 69

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers (5-2) SOS: 90 — Won 31-24
  • Sagarin No. 39 Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3) SOS: 43 — Won 34-24
  • Sagarin No. 45 Buffalo Bulls (6-2) SOS: 138 — Won 40-20
  • Sagarin No. 53 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-3) SOS: 36 — Won 63-14

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 21 Michigan Wolverines — Nov. 30
  • Big Ten Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (7-1) SOS: 9

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 20 UCLA Bruins (5-2) SOS: 28 — Won 24-10
  • Sagarin No. 28 Oregon State Beavers (6-2) SOS: 60 — Won 20-12
  • Sagarin No. 30 Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2) SOS: 12 — Won 42-28
  • Sagarin No. 36 Washington Huskies (5-3) SOS: 16 — Won 31-28
  • Sagarin No. 47 Washington State Cougars (4-4) SOS: 15 — Won 55-17

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 2 Oregon Ducks (6-0) SOS: 16 — Nov. 7
  • Sagarin No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-2) SOS: 27 — Nov. 30
  • Sagarin No. 49 USC Trojans (5-3) SOS: 23 — Nov. 16
  • Pac-12 Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 6 Baylor Bears (7-0) SOS: 96

Key games already played:

  • None

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) SOS: 44 — Nov. 7
  • BCS No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-1) SOS: 79 — Nov. 16
  • BCS No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1) SOS: 52 — Nov. 23
  • Sagarin No. 27 Texas Longhorns (5-2) SOS: 13 — Dec. 7

BCS No. 7 Miami Hurricanes (6-1) SOS: 33

Key games already played:

  • Sagarin No. 31 Florida Gators (4-3) SOS: 14 — Won 21-16
  • Sagarin No. 38 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3) SOS: 35 — Won 45-30

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (7-0) SOS: 68 — Nov. 2
  • Sagarin No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2) SOS: 37 — Nov. 9
  • Sagarin No. 46 Pittsburgh Panthers (4-3) SOS: 42 — Nov. 29
  • Sagarin No. 54 Duke Blue Devils (6-2) SOS: 80 — Nov. 16
  • ACC Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

BCS No. 8 Clemson Tigers (5-0) SOS: 9

Key games already played:

  • BCS No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (7-0) SOS: 68 — Lost 51-14
  • Sagarin No. 26 Georgia Bulldogs (4-3) SOS: 1 — Won 38-35

Key games remaining:

  • BCS No. 14 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2) SOS: 11 — Nov. 30
  • Sagarin No. 38 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3) SOS: 35 — Nov. 14
  • ACC Championship Game (Potential) — Dec. 7

Heisman Watch Week Nine: Bryce Petty Makes His Move

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Johnny Manziel

Bouncing back from losses defines a season in college football, and for Johnny Manziel, Saturday gave him and Texas A&M a chance to do just that. In a solid victory over SEC foe Vanderbilt, Manziel passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns to give the Aggies just what they needed after suffering a tough second loss last weekend at the hands of Auburn.

Teddy Bridgewater

A nice bounce back victory for Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater keeps Bridgewater’s Heisman hopes alive at least for the time being, as the senior quarterback passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns against a much outmatched USF team on Saturday. After a loss to UCF last week, Bridgewater needed this kind of coasting performance in an easy win and got it. We’ll see if his Heisman stock can remain stable in the weeks to come.

Bryce Petty

In leading one of the nation’s most explosive offenses and the Big 12’s surprise season of the year thus far, quarterback Bryce Petty has played a huge role in Baylor’s rise to national prominence in 2013. Saturday was no different for the junior quarterback, as he submitted a 430-yard, three-touchdown day against lesser Kansas to run Baylor’s record to 7-0. Plus, Petty didn’t even play the full extent of the game, as he has most of the season.

Marcus Mariota  

What could have turned out to be a tough test against Pac-12 foes instead became a bit of a romp for Oregon, as UCLA proved less of a test in the second half than the first half suggested. For Marcus Mariota, the game was something of a wash, with the quarterback passing for just one touchdown and 230 yards and rushing for less than 20, far from his season averages. But still enough to lead his team to victory and give Oregon with a convincing resume win.

Jameis Winston

A cruising victory for Florida State and Jameis Winston was just what the Seminoles needed coming off a season-defining victory over Clemson last week. Winston passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns in FSU’s win over North Carolina State. The 49-17 victory over the Wolfpack came in a game that could have easily served as a trap for the Seminoles, and continued Winston’s powerful performance in his freshman year.

Heisman Watch Week Eight: Winston Bright In A National Spotlight

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman on the strength of many things — his legs, his arm, his leadership, his youth and his persona. As an added bonus, the moments Manziel contributed to 2012’s season of fun were seemingly non stop. On Saturday, Manziel had a chance to submit another one of those much-coveted “Heisman moments” on Saturday. And yet, it just wasn’t there when needed this time. A visibly shaken and likely injured Manziel threw for 454 yards, accounted for five touchdowns and was key in his team’s attack. But he didn’t get the win.

Tajh Boyd

Everything that Jameis Winston achieved on Saturday night could have just as easily been Tajh Boyd’s. The national exposure, the bright lights, the top-five matchup — it was all there. But it was clear who was the better player was on this night. And it wasn’t the senior, it was the freshman. Boyd threw for one touchdown, two interceptions and didn’t complete more than 35 percent of his passes.

Teddy Bridgewater

A Friday night seemed to fit undefeated and No. 8 Louisville just right. And yet, things didn’t feel perfect for Louisville from the get-go. And Bridgewater and the Cardinals went down hard. Bridgewater’s 341 yards and two touchdowns were big, and continue a trend of the leader putting up big numbers no matter the opponent, but Louisville lost. And in a race that is so crowded at the quarterback position, Bridgewater needed to also be in the thick of the title game race to make some headway in the Heisman race.

AJ McCarrron

AJ McCarron seems to know exactly how to, with neurosurgeon-like efficiency and accuracy — pick apart a defense in the most simple way possible, and get the most out of his time on the field. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes, threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns in Alabmaa’s blowout victory over Arkansas, the Crimson Tide’s second straight such win in as many seasons. McCarron has been the leader the Tide has needed in those big wins.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota wont stop. Against a surprisingly game Washington State team, Mariota and the Ducks went to work. And work they did — Mariota threw for two touchdowns and 327 yards. But that wasn’t it — Mariota ran for another touchdown and a nice collection of 67 yards. The chunk of that rushing total was the game’s first score, and proved once against what a threat Mariota is all over the field.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston took control. Winston took total control of the game against Clemson, the Seminoles offense, and the media’ attention with his performance against the Tigers. Winston threw for 444 yards, accounted for four touchdowns and was the star of the biggest game of the season in college football thus far. Completing nearly 90 percent of his passes, Winston looked well beyond his years and drove the Seminoles to a convincing and dominating win against No. 3 Clemson.

Heisman Watch Week Seven: Contenders Step Up When Needed

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Johnny Manziel

On a Saturday full of upsets Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M past an upset bid of their own from Ole Miss. Though his performance wasn’t one for the record books, or anything quite close to that, his two rushing touchdowns and yet another 300-plus yard game through the air was enough to lift the Aggies to victory, which was all the more important on this Saturday in particular.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd seems to have the tendency to give Clemson exactly what they need, when they need it. It was no different on Saturday, as in a 24-14 victory over Boston College, Boyd tossed and ran for key touchdowns in a closer-than-expected victory over the Eagles. Was it pretty for the Tigers? No, but it was a victory, and a much-needed one before they gear up for a showdown with Jameis Winston and Florida State.

Teddy Bridgewater

With Thursday night all to himself, Teddy Bridgewater may not have broken out the big guns, but his performance against Rutgers was key to the Cardinals continuing their undefeated start to the regular season and a run at the Heisman trophy. Bridgewater connected on 21 of 31 attempts for two touchdowns and 310 yards to help Louisville top Rutgers on the night.

AJ McCarrron

It was a slow start for AJ McCarron and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday against a much lesser Kentucky team. But once the Tide got started, it was tough to stop them, much to McCarron’s credit. Throwing for 359 yards and a touchdown, the senior leader helped the Tide score 24 points in the second quarter after a barren first, and helped Alabama to an eventual 48-7 victory.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offensive attack was needed for most of the game against Washington, a revived program with much to prove this weekend. But Mariota delivered against the Huskies, passing for 366 yards and three touchdowns to go with 88 yards and another score against a Huskies defense that nearly knocked off Stanford last weekend, and clearly put a shake into the Cardinal, which lost this weekend.

Jameis Winston

Though Jameis Winston and Florida State rested this weekend, it’s safe to say their minds were not far from the football field with top-five Clemson looming. Sure Winston has collected nearly 1,500 yards passing in five games, and sure, he’s passed for 17 touchdowns against just two interceptions, but the game against Clemson could decide the fate of not only the ACC, but also a possible BCS national title game storyline. Winston will get the chance to shine, as will Boyd, next Saturday.

Heisman Watch Week Six: McCarron, Winston and Boyd Set The Tone

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M had the week off to prepare for Ole Miss. Though the toughest part of Manziel’s season, his matchup with Alabama, is behind him, he still has plenty of chances to make an impact in the Heisman race with strong performances against schools like upcoming Auburn and Mississippi State, not to mention a showcase meeting with LSU as the season winds down in late November.

Tajh Boyd

Four hundred and fifty-five yards will jump out at you on a stat sheet and a box score. That’s what strikes you first when you look at Clemson’s easy win over Syracuse from Saturday. Clemson certainly didn’t need the five touchdowns Body contributed to the win, but it was sure to fun to watch Boyd pick apart the new-to-the-ACC Orange defense in his time in the game before coach Dabo Swinney took his star out.

Teddy Bridgewater

Playing in the newly formed American Athletic Conference for the first time Saturday, Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville had little trouble with Temple, using a 24-point first half and suffocating defense to top the Owls. Bridgewater, for his part, contributed two touchdowns and 348 passing yards to help the Cardinals breeze by Temple and continuing their undefeated start to the season.

AJ McCarrron

Georgia State might not have put up much fight against Alabama and AJ McCarron, but McCarron took his game to a different level, as he completed 15 of 16 passes for four touchdowns and 166 yards. His completion percentage set a record for Crimson Tide and the victory was an easy walkover for the Tide before their SEC schedule sets in.

Marcus Mariota  

Seven touchdowns, no matter who they are scored against, is an impressive stat line for any quarterback to submit in a college football weekend. Yes, Marcus Mariota passed for five touchdowns and ran for two more against Colorado, but it was a stunning line none the less. Mariota also pushed near to 400 yards against the Buffaloes. The Ducks didn’t even score after the third quarter and Mariota played little more than a half.

Jameis Winston

A ranked matchup against Maryland should have promised a tough battle between two ACC schools in the middle of the conference’s resurgence. Instead, Winston and Florida State demolished the Terrapins, with Winston delivering highlight reel play after highlight reel play. Add to that SportsCenter-ready package Winston’s 393 passing yards and five touchdowns and you’ve got a Heisman highlight-type game that could stick out this year.

Aaron Murray

Though Georgia’s matchup with Tennessee didn’t seem to offer much in the way of drama, the SEC battle turned out to be among the weekend’s best games, and offered one of the week’s best performances in support of a victory, in Aaron Murray’s charge to lead the Bulldogs’ rally for a win. Importantly, Murray’s comeback bid helped Georgia keep its national title hopes alive as well with his 196 yards and three touchdowns

Heisman Watch Week Five: Winston, Boyd Key Big Victories

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel loves playing against Arkansas, following up his 500-plus yard performance last season against the Razorbacks with another 300-plus yards of offensive in Texas A&M’s Saturday night win. Manziel finished with 261 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air to go with 59 yards rushing. The Aggies get Ole Miss and Auburn after their bye next weekend, chances for Manziel to either bolster his chances at a repeat trophy, or watch others pass him by.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd was back in a big way on Saturday, accounting for four touchdowns in Clemson’s dominating victory over Wake Forest. Boyd recorded his 100th career touchdown and passed for more than 300 yards on the day, picking apart the Demon Deacons easily. With Boston College and Syracuse up next for Clemson before they take on Jamies Winston and Florida State, Boyd has a few weeks to do some stat-padding.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville were off this weekend, but with more than 1,200 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through four games, and some weaker AAC defenses upcoming, expect Bridgewater to stay in the Heisman race all year.

AJ McCarrron

Clearly the star of Saturday’s game between Alabama and Ole Miss was the Crimson Tide’s defense, but once again AJ McCarron efficiently led the Tide to the score drives they needed to pull off the victory, although the stats were not eye-popping. McCarron threw for 180 yards and was intercepted once in the 25-0 win.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota didn’t need to do much to help Oregon to a victory over California in the Ducks’ return from a bye week. The Golden Bears were put away early, and Mariota was a big part of the early burst, throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for a third in the blowout victory. Mariota might not be truly tested or forced to play a full game until Oct. 12 against Washington.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns against Boston College on Saturday, and for most of the game, Florida State needed every single one of those touchdowns to avoid the upset. Though the Eagles trailed off at the end, they hung around for the majority of the game, and Winston stepped up when needed. The freshman quarterback also helped out the Seminoles’ rushing attack with 67 yards on the ground.