2014 BCS Bowls

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We take one more trip to the BCS this season, with five BCS bowls, 10 teams — fittingly all of which are from the “original” power six conferences that formed the basis for this change in championship crowning all those years ago. These pairings are according to multiple reports from early Sunday.

For more information on how the teams were selected, head over to the BCS Bowls page.

2014 BCS Schedule

Rose Bowl

January 1, 2014 5 p.m. ET

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Michigan State Spartans

vs.
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Stanford Cardinal

Fiesta Bowl

January 1, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

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Baylor Bears

vs.
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UCF Knights

Sugar Bowl

January 2, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

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Alabama Crimson Tide

vs.
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Oklahoma Sooners

 —

Orange Bowl

January 3, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

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Clemson Tigers

vs.
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Ohio State Buckeyes

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BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena, Calif.

January 6, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

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Florida State Seminoles

vs.
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Auburn Tigers

Final Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — December 8

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The BCS — at least the part that everyone hated with an undying passion — ends Sunday. But the bowl games, which could range anywhere from epic showdowns to embarrassing blowouts, will stretch into January.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Florida State vs. Auburn
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Michigan State
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl Baylor vs. UCF
Scroll down for more

When a BCS season ends like this one did, though, there isn’t much to say other than to just try as best as you can to relive the great games that filled the final week of the season.

It’s clear now that Auburn’s victory in the SEC championship game added to Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State will send the Tigers to the BCS title game. But where is everyone else headed? We project here:

BCS National Championship Game: Florida State Seminoles (BCS No. 1) vs. Auburn Tigers (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Auburn waited all day to see if they’d either have to bite their fingernails or be a little less frazzled come Sunday when it came to their national title hopes. It turned out that Michigan State was ready to help the Tigers out, so Auburn will be walking into Pasadena with a chance to close out the BCS era with another SEC national championship. They’ll meet No. 1 Florida State, the only team to finish the year undefeated in regular season play.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Stanford certainly looked the part of Pac-12 champion against Arizona State in the conference title game, and for that the Cardinal will be on their way to the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 champs. They’ll get the chance to take on Big Ten champions Michigan State, who closed out its season with a huge victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, clinching their spot here.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: Alabama will get the first look from the Sugar Bowl when it tries to replace its lost SEC champion in Auburn. Sure, the Orange Bowl will have a first shot to replace Florida State, but knowing the way the BCS bowls work, the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl are sure to work out a way to share the responsibility of getting their fans what they want. Oklahoma would be a nice pairing for the Sugar Bowl’s final BCS bow.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson will be the first place the Orange Bowl will look when trying to replace Florida State, but the real question and big story here will be how the bowls treat Ohio State. The once-beaten Buckeyes looked ready for a trip to the BCS title game, but instead will be missing out on the chance to close out the BCS with a title. Instead, the Orange Bowl will have a chance to pick first and third, and could pick a variety of teams to square off with Clemson, but Ohio State looks like the pick.

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears (Big 12 champion) vs. UCF Knights (AAC champion)

Comment: A final weekend of classic BCS football played right into Baylor hands. First, Northern Illinois dropped its final chance to secure a BCS bowl bid, opening up the door slightly for the Bears to get an at-large bid. But come Saturday night, Baylor was playing for it all — a Big 12 title opportunity after Oklahoma State faltered. And with a victory over Texas, Baylor is BCS bowl bound. They’ll likely get AAC champion UCF as the Fiesta Bowl will be saddled with the last pool choice pick, which in all likelihood will be the Knights.

Baylor Claims Big 12 Title, Fiesta Bowl Bid

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With a fun, ice-foggy 30-10 victory over Texas, Baylor took advantage of Oklahoma State’s early Saturday loss and a home crowd to claim the Big 12’s automatic BCS bowl bid. They’ll likely be headed to the Fiesta Bowl as the host of the traditional Big 12 bowl.

The Bears spent all season impressing the country, going well beyond what preseason expectations had expected in Waco. Led by quarterback Bryce Petty and an offense that wouldn’t stop, the Bears challenged for a national title bid up until just weeks before the end of the year when a loss to Oklahoma State dealt the Bears their only loss.

When Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State in Saturday’s Bedlam, it opened up the Texas-Baylor game as a de facto Big 12 title game, and the Bears were victorious. The Bears will now wait until Sunday night to find out who they will play in the Fiesta Bowl, which would likely be AAC champion UCF.

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.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — December 1

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The BCS always did cause lively debates, most of which were reliant upon projections. That’s why a site like this could even exist. What would happen if a team won out? Or if a top team lost?

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Florida State vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Michigan State
Sugar Bowl Auburn vs. UCF
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Alabama
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. NIU
Scroll down for more

As the season comes to an end and the unexpected does happen — Florida State is the No. 1 team in the country, Auburn beats Alabama on a returned field goal with no time remaining — things begin to become less about the projection and more about the on-field performance.

Prove your team is better. The BCS bowls give teams the last chance to do that. Where do these great squads belong when the season ends?

BCS National Championship Game: Florida State Seminoles (BCS No. 1) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (BCS No. 2)

Comment: When the season plays out like it has, traditional powers like Ohio State and Florida State seem to often take advantage. Sure, if Auburn is to win the SEC next weekend they’ll feel like the BCS was created specifically to leave the Tigers out, having already been left cold in 2004. For now it seems like these two teams — save for the conference title games they’re still yet to play — have done all they can to earn these spots.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Michigan State Spartans (At-large selection)

Comment: With Ohio State BCS title game bound, the Rose Bowl would normally look to the Big Ten’s roster of highly ranked teams for a replacement. The problem, especially after Wisconsin dropped its best shot at securing a at-large bid against Penn State, is that there aren’t many of those around this year. Michigan State has a shot to remain in at-large contention, but they’ll have to make a strong statement against Ohio State in the conference title game to keep these hopes alive and stay in the top 14 at season’s end if they lose.

Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers (SEC champion) vs. UCF Knights (AAC champion)

Comment: Amazing to see the ‘SEC champ’ title go next to the Sugar Bowl selection, isn’t it? For years we’ve seen the SEC champion head straight to the BCS title game, no questions asked. Of course, the Sugar Bowl turned around each year and took a replacement pick from the conference to fulfill its regional preference. But if Auburn misses out on the title game, they’re slotted here automatically. And with the second ‘draft’ pick among at-large picks, the Sugar will have to give AAC champ UCF a serious look so as to not select Northern Illinois.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (At-large selection) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection)

Comment: Does the Orange Bowl actually have the guts to bypass the ACC? Clemson’s loss to South Carolina might allow the bowl to do that, and select somewhat underwhelming, but powerful, Oregon. The chance to pair the Ducks with Alabama might present itself if ACC champ Florida State is title game bound as expected. But can the Orange Bowl really afford it? For now, a two-loss Tigers team probably gets the choice over two-loss Oregon and once-beaten Baylor.

Fiesta Bowl: Northern Illinois Huskies (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: A Big 12 that has been unpredictable and a whole lot of fun to watch is finally winding down with Oklahoma State holding poll position. All the Cowboys need to do is top Oklahoma in Bedlam next weekend to grab this spot. Though facing Northern Illinois might not be the reward the Cowboys are looking for, the Huskies have played a strong followup season after making a BCS bowl last year and a win next week all but assures them of a return trip.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — October 27

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A first set of BCS rankings does have the tendency to crystallize a few things about the chase for BCS bowl bids when the season is out. Who deserves any of the 10 slots available? But more importantly, who is in best shape to grab them?

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Missouri vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Baylor vs. Northern Illinois
Scroll down for more

A first BCS rankings might not answer all these questions, but it at least gives a good sense of where the conversation is headed. And, certainly, another weekend of games will have lots to say about the next step in this chat.

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

Comment: When conference foes prove little to no obstacle to two of the best teams in the country, we can feel relatively confident that there’s not much wrong with the Crimson Tide and Ducks. Is there any one in the country who could pose a threat to this potential title game meeting? Sure, Florida State is sitting right there, but if these two win out, it seems like a foregone conclusion that this is our national title tandem.

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

Comment: Escaping with a victory over Oregon State might have been more important than it seemed on the surface to the Cardinal, given the precarious place they find themselves in. With a home game against Oregon looming and a Pac-12 full of potential upsets, the victory gave Stanford a much needed steadying victory and possible helped the Cardinal on its way to a Rose Bowl. For Ohio State, the name of the game is win out and hope out to not land in the Rose Bowl, but in the title game.

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

Comment: A loss decimates Missouri’s hopes at a national title game bid, but could they still land in the Sugar Bowl? It’s possible. Especially with Auburn’s tough schedule upcoming and the bevy of current and upcoming two-loss teams in the SEC, the Tigers might still have the best shot at not only a bid in the SEC title game, but also a bid in a potential BCS bowl as a two-loss, 11-win SEC team. Clemson would play a nice counterpart to Missouri in a Sugar Bowl.

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

Comment: Florida State cruised to victory, as did Louisville, but one team’s fight to get to a BCS bowl is the more difficult, while the other’s is a fight to hope that things fall their way and they don’t land here at all. After suffering the first loss of their season, Louisville must hope that UCF stumbles badly along the way, and the Cardinals can sneak by for a BCS title game bid. Florida State is hoping that a national title game is in their future.

Fiesta Bowl: Northern Illinois Huskies (At-large selection) vs. Baylor Bears (Big 12 champion)

Comment: All Baylor does is score points and win these days, as does Northern Illinois recently. Both teams are undefeated and loving life on the loss-less side of things. As the AAC’s eventual conference champ is likely to be underwhelingly ranked in the BCS standings, things look bright for a potential BCS buster, and Northern Illinois seems to fit the billing just right. The Huskies’ competition will come from Fresno State, but expect Northern Illinois to prevail in the BCS standings when it counts even if the Bulldogs run the table. Baylor will hope to find its way into a BCS title game bid, but if not, the Fiesta Bowl is the landing spot as a host.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — October 20

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One final time in college football we get to decide who plays for a national title on a set of five bowl games whose purpose is stated simply — match the two best teams at the end of the season for the national title. Do we know who those teams are yet?

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Missouri vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Baylor vs. Northern Illinois
Scroll down for more

And better yet, do we know where eight other teams constrained to playing somewhat of a second fiddle to those national title contenders would land if the season ended today? What about in a few weeks? The beauty of the BCS was always the drama it engendered by simply existing. This year will be no different.

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

Comment: Oregon has its chance to make the kind of national statement it needs against Stanford. A team like Florida State, however, just got its chance. And it took full advantage, but until that time comes for Oregon, it had better look in its rearview (or front-view, depending on how tomorrow plays out) mirror and watch carefully as the rest of the pack chases this bid.

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

Comment: Stanford did exactly what it needed to do against UCLA — bounce back from a disheartening loss to underrated (and truthfully underperforming) Utah with a big win over a top-10 team. Beyond the mental and psychological impact such bounce-back can have, the Cardinal are against clearly in the running for a bid to a BCS bowl. Lost in all this conversation is undefeated Ohio State, which might miss the title game by the skin of their teeth

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

Comment: Tigers have been something to behold this season — the up-and-down of LSU, the early dominance of Clemson and Missouri’s resurgence as a dominant national power. At least that’s what’s transpired thus far in the college football year. Missouri has been great up and down the field and has run off an undefeated start to their season. Could they pull off the undefeated SEC regular season and show down with the likes of someone like Alabama for a shot at a title game bid?

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

Comment: Even with their victory over Clemson, nothing is guaranteed for Florida State. Even a No. 2 in tomorrow’s BCS rankings wouldn’t be enough to secure anything. Most teams know that as the BCS era comes to an end. The shock of Louisville’s Friday night loss shouldn’t come as a season-ending blow to the Cardinals, which remain very much alive in the AAC chase for a BCS bowl bid, which comes automatically to the conference’s champion, and could land the conference in the Orange Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: Northern Illinois Huskies (At-large selection) vs. Baylor Bears (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Name recognition goes a long way in the BCS, as does recency of success. Northern Illinois was the BCS buster du jour of 2012. Now with an undefeated start to the 2013 season, the Huskies could very much be back in the BCS hunt. The Huskies will have some competition from Fresno State this season, but when push comes to shove, knowing the Huskies will benefit the Huskies. The Fiesta Bowl will then pair the at-large selection up with the host team, the Big 12’s champion Baylor.