A week remains, and although we’ve made sure to likely lock down one BCS title contender, nothing’s been guaranteed among the 10 BCS spots available.
|BCS Bowl Projections
||Notre Dame vs. Alabama
||Stanford vs. Nebraska
||Florida vs. Oklahoma
||Florida State vs. Louisville
||Oregon vs. Kansas State
|Scroll down for more
That being said, the penultimate weekend of college football in 2012 did plenty to shine light on what will likely be a strong slate of BCS bowls, the title game included. Could this be the best slate of BCS bowls in the era?
Yes, Notre Dame is BCS title game bound, but there was plenty more to be found on college football’s showdown and rivalry Saturday.
BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Notre Dame will get its shot. With a victory over USC, the Fighting Irish are all but locked in to the BCS title game slot, where they will face the winner of an all-out national semifinal masquerading as the SEC title game when Alabama and Georgia show down. The Fighting Irish will get their shot to end a six-year streak of SEC champions, and with Alabama showing all of its colors against Auburn, we’ll project it’ll be the Crimson Tide aiming to repeat and continue that streak.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)
Comment: Stanford entered their regular season finale against UCLA knowing a few things well — a win would give them the Pac-12 North title and a berth in the Pac-12 title game. But the kicker was that a win would also mean another meeting with the Bruins — six days later — and that’s exactly what we got. Stanford will get a chance to gain a berth in the Rose Bowl with a repeat win over UCLA in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game.
Nebraska will get a similar shot against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, a meeting that has seemingly been in the cards for weeks, but is now official. A win there and the one-bid Big Ten will get its champion on its way to Pasadena.
Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)
Comment: You might think that a national semifinal in the SEC Championship Game would mean the loser would end up landing softly in the BCS anyways. Unfortunately for Georgia, it is unlikely that if the Bulldogs were to lose to Alabama in the SEC title game, they would fall completely out of the BCS picture, with Florida’s win over Florida State all but assuring the Gators gaining a BCS bid if Alabama is title game bound. If the Gators finish as the top-ranked non-AQ conference champion in the top-four, Florida would be guaranteed a BCS bowl bid. If Georgia were to win, however, you might see Alabama get an at-large bid on the strength of their national profile.
Oklahoma, sneaking past Oklahoma State, gave themselves a do-or-die opportunity against TCU next weekend. A victory over the very game Horned Frogs likely means a BCS bid for the Sooners. And if the cards play out as projected, the Sugar Bowl would be quick to snap up the Sooners and pit them against the Gators.
Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)
Comment: Two teams that had just one loss on the year both fell hard on Saturday. But with Florida State getting Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, the Seminoles will have a surprisingly down opponent to topple if they want a Orange Bowl bid, and they’ll get it.
As for the Big East, despite Louisville’s season-long dominance, has yet again turned into a mess in the final weeks of the season, with multiple teams still alive in the conference. Thankfully, we’ll get some likely closure when Rutgers and Louisville face off on Thursday. If Louisville is victorious, the highest-ranked Big East team in the BCS would BCS bowl bound, and Louisville is that projected team, with the Cardinals landing here in the Orange Bowl.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion)
Comment: Oregon, despite an important victory against Oregon State, will miss out on the Pac-12 championship game, and in turn miss out on the Rose Bowl. But the once-defeated Ducks will likely be headed to a BCS bowl, and where better than in the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats. Of course, Oklahoma still has a shot at the Big 12 title and the Fiesta Bowl bid that comes with it, but we’ll project that Kansas State will top Texas next weekend and claim this spot, helping the Big 12 to two BCS bids once again.