The later we get into the season, the clearer the BCS picture. At least that’s the idea. And yet, despite the thinning of the ranks of the undefeated, the BCS picture is as murky as we’ve seen it in 2012.
|BCS Bowl Projections
||Alabama vs. Kansas State
||Oregon vs. Nebraska
||Florida vs. Notre Dame
||Florida St. vs. Louisville
||Oklahoma vs. Boise State
|Scroll down for more
Florida’s loss, USC’s stumble and Notre Dame’s triumph were just some of the results that send the BCS into a murky November state. With just five weekends remaining, there are more than a few questions to answer.
The most pressing, of course, is how Oregon is to be treated moving forward. It might not make the Duck faithful happy to hear it, but Oregon is likely at the mercy of its own schedule, and at the mercy of the rest of the Pac-12. Still chasing Kansas State in the computers, the Ducks might still need some help.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Alabama had a tough test. As did Kansas State. Things keep looking up for the Wildcats, given Florida’s loss this weekend. Kansas State is the No. 2 team in the BCS this weekend. That in and of itself has an interesting impact on the nation. When the media — and ESPN specifically — starts referring to K-State as the No. 2 team in the country, the country starts to believe it. So an undefeated end to their season could mean a shift of support their way. And with an already strong computer profile, Kansas State could be BCS title game bound. Keep reading to find out more.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champions) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champion)
Comment: Sounds like a broken record at this point, but beyond Ohio State, the Big Ten has been anything but predictable. Wisconsin looking like the team they were supposed to be headed into the season? Well, here’s a shocking overtime loss. Nebraska faltering midway through 2012? A key victory over Michigan changes that tune. So Nebraska reclaims this spot in the Rose Bowl as Big Ten champs.
Oregon is on the outside looking in at the title game. But the Pac-12 seems ripe for the taking. What to watch for if you’re a Oregon fan? The perceived level of difficulty of Oregon’s remaining schedule. It wont be so much about the computers, know that. Games remain for the Ducks against USC, Oregon State and a Pac-12 South champion. Will victories there truly reflect that of the No. 2 team in the country? That will be up to the voters. With a computer deficit to make up, Oregon will need to do much more than win, they will need to convince.
Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)
Comment: If the Sugar Bowl is to lose its SEC champ to the BCS title game, they might be faced with an interesting conundrum — one they’ve faced before. If they can run the table the rest of the way, Georgia is likely to head to the SEC Championship Game, where they could suffer a second loss on the year. Florida, if they run off victories to end the season, would fall short. So which does the Sugar Bowl pick to replace a title-game bound Alabama?
Notre Dame, now all but assured a BCS bid, locks into the Sugar Bowl as New Orleans lucks into a strange confluence of factors the Fiesta Bowl has to deal with (explained below) and gets a fantastic matchup featuring the Irish.
Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East champion)
Comment: Florida State silenced Duke on the weekend, while Louisville snuck by Cincinnati as both remain in prime position to claim their respective conference titles and in turn, spots in the Orange Bowl. The Cardinals still could land elsewhere, given their opportunity now to finish as the Big East’s lone undefeated — both in conference and out of conference. But for now, let’s stay with the Orange Bowl as the landing spot for the Big East champ.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 champion) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)
Comment: With Kansas State now off to the title game, the Fiesta Bowl scrambles and attempts to fill the Big 12 slot vacated by the Wildcats with Oklahoma, a strong two-loss team. Of course, a trip here is reliant upon the Sooners being able to bounce back from a tough loss to Notre Dame.
Attempting to avoid the Oklahoma-Notre Dame rematch, the Fiesta Bowl is somewhat handcuffed into skipping the Irish here, instead pitting Oklahoma against a one-loss Boise State. Whether the Broncos are automatically qualified for the BCS or not remains to be seen. But they’re an attractive choice here either way.