[Editor’s Note: This projection is from November 21, 2010. To see more recent projections, scroll to the bottom of this post]
Another week nearly devoid of upsets.
And yet the picture in the Big 12 changed almost completely. What does that do to the projected BCS bowls?
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Both teams had the weekend off, but face stiff tests moving forward if they want to remain in this position as projected combatants for the BCS title.
Auburn needs to get by Alabama and then South Carolina, while Oregon will try to fend off Arizona and Oregon State. A slip up in any of the four remaining games for either team, and the seemingly paved road to Glendale will be more than bumpy.
Rose Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs (At-large selection) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: Of the Big Ten contenders that remain with one loss Wisconsin had by far the easiest time with their opponent (Michigan). Although it might not mean much in the BCS rankings, the distance that the Badgers are putting between themselves and Ohio State and Michigan State should be enough to get them the tiebreaker if the three teams remain tied at the end of the season.
TCU remains in a position to take the automatic bid promised to a non-AQ team if either the Pac-10 or Big Ten champion should head to the BCS title game, although that position will likely be more precarious come the newest BCS rankings, as Boise State may creep even closer. For now, TCU remains in this spot.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Champion) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East Champion)
Comment: Oklahoma State, not Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas or any of the names you’re used to seeing as Big 12 favorites, is now the last remaining one-loss Big 12 team, meaning that if they can get by Oklahoma next weekend, they’ll head to the Big 12 title game, with a berth in the Fiesta Bowl at steak.
Pittsburgh survived another scare from South Florida on Saturday to stay well positioned atop the Big East and in line for what will likely be the final bid placed for a BCS conference champion and automatic bid qualifier.
Orange Bowl: Ohio State Buckeyes (At-large selection) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC Champion)
Comment: It wasn’t pretty for the Buckeyes, but they survived the trip to Iowa City, and will likely remain among the most attractive at-large bid teams when the end of the season rolls around.
Virginia Tech cruised by Miami on Saturday to clinch a spot in the ACC title game, and seem destined to make their way to the Orange Bowl as ACC champs.
Sugar Bowl: Boise State Broncos (At-large selection) vs. LSU Tigers (At-large selection)
Comment: The diciest of bowl projections will come in the Sugar Bowl. LSU, as the winner of a back and forth battle with Mississippi State on Saturday, will probably be the most attractive team for the Sugar Bowl to select with their first replacement pick if they lose the SEC champ to the national title game.
The problem comes with selecting the other non-AQ unbeaten (if two should remain). It doesn’t really matter whether its Boise State or TCU, both will be faced with equally uncertain futures which will rest in the hands of the bowl committees. For now, we’ll project that Boise State fulfills the Sugar Bowl’s need for a national matchup combined with homegrown intensity.