The middle of October can mean only one thing — BCS rankings. With Sunday’s release of the first set of BCS rankings, these bowl projections begin to hold real weight. Who is headed where when all is said and done?
|BCS Bowl Projections
||Oregon vs. Alabama
||USC vs. Nebraska
||Florida vs. West Virginia
||Florida St. vs. Louisville
||Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
|Scroll down for more
Surely, losses from some of the nation’s best — West Virginia, South Carolina, Stanford — shake things up a bit. But it’s not as much as you might expect. Teams are beginning to take hold of their own destiny, starting with the conference that has held its destiny in its hands each of the last six seasons, the SEC.
Despite the rough and tumble road an SEC team must pass through each season, their champion has been all but assured a spot in the national title game. Expect no different here in the weeks to come, despite the ripeness this season has already shown for the upset and the unexpected.
Seven weeks to go. It seems like we’re just getting started.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)
Comment: The SEC continues to beat up on itself, leaving Alabama free and clear to take its place at the top of the BCS standings and the SEC itself, earning a well-deserved spot in the title game by winning the conference. Tested down the stretch in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks will do just enough to stay in this spot and make the title game as Pac-12 champions.
Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: With Oregon headed to the title game, the Rose Bowl gladly will welcome back USC to Pasadena as a replacement pick from the Pac-12. A 10-win, BCS-eligible USC team would be music to the Rose Bowl’s ears. And to pit them against Nebraska, the second-best team in a conference that features a top-tier caliber team unable to make a BCS bowl, is only icing on the cake that is the normal Rose Bowl festivities.
Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (At-large selection)
Comment: As the pieces fall into place, Florida’s undefeated start to the 2012 season looks more and more impressive by the weekend. Pair that with what looks like a road that could end up in the SEC Championship Game against the formidable Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Florida Gators would be a strong pick for the Sugar Bowl, which will get the chance to replace the SEC champion and title game bound Tide.
West Virginia, now no longer in the drivers’ seat for the Big 12 title, instead will fall to the Sugar Bowl with a fantastic pick and chance to match two marquee schools in New Orleans.
Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)
Comment: Florida State bounced back strong against Boston College this weekend, and with other ACC teams struggling — yes, Maryland is the lone remaining undefeated team in conference play in the ACC — Florida State is still ripe to take the conference title and the Orange Bowl bid that comes with it.
With this year’s final selection, the Orange Bowl could be handcuffed into taking the Big East champion. But in the Louisville Cardinals, the might find a strong enough team to call for some real attention turned the Orange Bowl’s way.
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 Champion) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)
Comment: With Kansas State now in the Big 12 drivers’ seat after the West Virginia loss, they’ll head the way of the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12’s champion. Kansas State sits pretty as they make their way to Tempe as the automatic qualifier from the Big 12. The Fiesta Bowl, ripe with the opportunity to select their at-large participant first, jumps at the chance to grab a more and more qualified Notre Dame team. With a victory over Stanford, Notre Dame is doing its best to grab that BCS eligibility, and if they meet the nine-win, top-14 threshold, don’t expect the Irish to stay on the board for long.