Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 22

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What can we learn from a week with few upsets, likely as a result of the few tests on the docket for the nation’s best teams? Teams such as Stanford and Notre Dame had interesting opponents, but like most of the rest of the country took care of business.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

So the projected BCS bowl picture doesn’t change this week, but we can say with some certainty that some of the nation’s best are carving out an identity as we head toward October and the first BCS standings.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama didn’t dispatch Colorado State in overwhelming fashion and Stanford let Arizona State hang around after jumping out to a big lead, but both continue to look like national title contenders in a crowded field of possible title teams. Alabama gets Ole Miss next weekend and Stanford continues its start to the Pac-12 season against Washington State.

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

Comment: Seems like without Braxton Miller, Ohio State has been able to turn its offensive attack into a scoring machine, as the Buckeyes posted 76 points against Florida A&M and Kenny Guiton posted six touchdowns. Oregon had the week off, and continues to look national title game worth, but if they are to fall short, the Rose Bowl would likely come calling.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Is constantly dodging upsets good for a team this early in the season? It might be, or it might just be that Michigan is not as good as was advertised before the 2013 started. But after struggling against Akron and UConn, Michigan remains undefeated, an important distinction this early in the season. If they can get this turned around, a BCS bowl bid could very easily be in their future, no matter how much they’ve struggled so far this year.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: The ACC looks like a strong conference top-to-bottom in 2013, and coming out ahead of teams like Florida State and revived looking Georgia Tech, Maryland and Miami will be a tough road to complete. But Clemson seems the class of the conference, at least thus far, and a Orange Bowl bid will be the reward if they are able to top the conference.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville put up a big 72 points against an inferior FIU team on Saturday, staking yet another claim to their spot as the best of the newly formed AAC’s football schools and doing nothing to change the general consensus that they’ll be able to finish this season undefeated. But even an undefeated season might not be enough to get them to the title game.

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Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 15

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Alabama got it’s fair share of scare on Saturday but survived a trip to Kyle Field and continues to ride atop the college football landscape in the early parts of the final year of the BCS.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

So for now, not much changes in the picture we’re painting of the 2013 college football season. Alabama and the SEC continue to put a scare into most.

Though perhaps not Oregon, whose fans were calling for Alabama after crushing Tennessee. They might just get the chance:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama traveled to Kyle Field and survived in the way they could not last season. The Crimson Tide still captured the title last season after a loss to the Aggies, now with Manziel and Texas A&M out of the way, is the path cleared for a return trip? So far so good. Stanford had a little trouble waking up against Army, but eventually got past the Black Knights with ease. We still project them getting by Oregon for the Pac-12 title and a title game berth.

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

Comment: No Braxton Miller, no problem for Ohio State as the Buckeyes easily dispatched California, and look still like the Big Ten favorites, as Michigan struggled, Nebraska lost and Wisconsin … something. Oregon looked their classic attacking offensive selves, crushing Tennessee so soundly that fans started chanting for a shot at Alabama.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia had the week off, and Michigan struggled mightily with Akron at home, but with a chance to get things worked out next weekend against Connecticut, the Wolverines still look well in control of a possible at-large bid, as do the Bulldogs.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: No game on the docket for Clemson, and though Florida State did look the part of ACC champs this weekend, Clemson’s victory over Georgia is the standard-bearer in the conference thus far. Oklahoma had a little trouble separating from Tulsa early, but were fine down the stretch and have again started the season strong. Can they keep it up?

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville look just okay against Kentucky, but it was more than enough to get by, and the Cardinals are still well in control of their destiny for a final BCS bid. Oklahoma State blasted Lamar this weekend, but the Cowboys will get a chance to prove they’re for real over the next few weeks, as they take on a meaty Big 12 schedule.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 8

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Things have often fallen apart for some favorites in the early goings of the BCS seasons that have transpired in these last few seasons.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

This year will be no different, as South Carolina, Texas and Florida took hard tumbles in the second week of 2013. But all is not lost. From strong conferences with plenty of title and BCS contenders, these teams have time to reinvigorate the run at final BCS glory.

Is it to be this season? We’ll soon find out. But for now, here are some projected BCS bowls for the final season of this era:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: To pull yourself out of the off-season routine takes something special. And for both Alabama and Stanford, it seemed like things were not so easy on their first tries out of the gate. But with favorable schedules, though laden with plenty of roadblocks, the Crimson Tide and Cardinal could be headed on a red collision course.

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

Comment: Things like Virginia and San Diego State serve little more than minor speed bumps in the journey of teams like Ohio State and Oregon’s roads to a BCS bowl bid. But more worrisome can be injuries like the one Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller suffered Saturday. Could the Buckeyes survive without him? It certainly seems like the Ducks keep rolling no matter who’s coaching, playing or running. The interesting part will be to see if Ohio State can persevere if Miller is to miss some time.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia bounced right back after last week’s disappointing loss to Clemson with a big win over South Carolina to right their ship. That puts them in a good spot for an at-large bid in the BCS. Michigan got its much-ballyhooed victory over Notre Dame in the final appearance in the Big House featuring the two squads. Both seem in contention for at-large bids.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: No problems for Clemson against much lesser South Carolina State, but it’s the Oklahoma Sooners with a big victory over West Virginia in the face of a shocking Texas loss to BYU that sets the Sooners up with a chance to claim an at-large bid in the final BCS slate. With the first selection after the auto-bids are filled, the Orange Bowl might have a chance to attract the team with the second-most BCS appearances in the era.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Louisville coasts and Oklahoma State more than survives as the two conference favorites continue early successes in the 2013 season. With a Fiesta Bowl bid guaranteed to the Big 12 champ if they are to miss the national title game, the Cowboys land here, and with a weak schedule leading to an undefeated run to the end of the season, the Cardinals land here, perhaps undeservingly.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 2

It’s tough to tell if you can learn much from one week of college football. One game played doesn’t always shed much light on the landscape of college football in any season.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

But we’ve kicked off the last season of the BCS era, and in a few games played over the long weekend, spectacularly so.

Games between Georgia and Clemson and a litany of FCS teams beating FBS teams gave the otherwise somewhat droll weekend some color. So what have we learned, really?

Here’s a slate of projected BCS bowls to illustrate it:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: That story that has been told so often these last few years about Alabama reloading every year, despite so many NFL-bound players, held mostly true Saturday. The Crimson Tide, though, did look a little rusty and needed help from special teams to get by Virginia Tech. They’re still favored to land in the title game, where they’d meet a No. 2 Stanford team that has yet to kick off 2013.

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

Comment: Both Oregon and Ohio State looked solid on Saturday, though Oregon certainly had an easier time with things against Nicholls State than Ohio State did against Buffalo. The Ducks looked like they hadn’t lost a step despite a new head coach, behind Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas. If they miss out on the title game, expect them here in the Rose Bowl with the Buckeyes.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia lost a thriller to Clemson, but has the chance next weekend to bounce right back against South Carolina, and with a game between the hedges scheduled, expect the Bulldogs to right the ship and reposition themselves for this at-large selection, replacing a title-game bound Alabama team. Michigan, which looked solid against Central Michigan, can easily run out a 10- or 11-win 2013, and with it, a chance to be BCS bound in the last year of the era.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Texas Longhorns (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson captured what was the win of the weekend by topping Georgia in thrilling fashion, and validated the preseason hype surrounding the Tigers. TCU was not as lucky to beat an SEC foe on Saturday, giving Texas, which cruised past New Mexico State on Saturday, an early leg up on an at-large BCS bid, which they get here as the first at-large selection of the slate.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Oklahoma State proved its prowess in topping Mississippi State in a strong out-of-conference opener for the Big 12 favorites. If Oklahoma State can hang with the SEC, you have to like their odds in the Big 12. Louisville, which opens its season on Sunday, could easily finish the season undefeated, but without a strong opponent to its credit, may fall short of the BCS title game and instead land here, as the final draft pick of the bowls.

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — Preseason

One more time. Just once more will the BCS decide a champion in college football. Whether you loved or hated it, you have to admit the BCS was a lightning rod for conversation and lively debate in the college football world.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Louisville
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. TCU
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Boise State
Scroll down for more

It’s always been fun to project what’s about to happen in each season under the BCS. And this one is no different. Could Alabama close the BCS era on an unprecedented streak that will likely imprint them as the team of the era?

We’re about to find out. Plus there are nine other slots to be filled one last time in this group of five bowls that has survived years of debate and hatred. We can only hope it finishes strong.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama could very well complete a run so unmatched in modern college football that the BCS will be inextricably linked to the Crimson Tide, even though Alabama didn’t even capture its first BCS victory until the 2010 title game. Looks like 2013 is shaping up to be another crimson year.

On the other sideline you could find another red — the Cardinal of Stanford. With a home contest against Oreogn on the docket and a very high preseason ranking, it’s not too difficult to see Stanford making the final climb in the last BCS year.

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

Comment: It is that one contest against Stanford in Palo Alto that makes a trip to the Rose Bowl more likely than one to the title game for the Ducks, who similarly come into the season with a big preseason ranking and a handful of Heisman hopefuls.

The Buckeyes of Ohio State are a prohibitive No. 2 this year after sitting out a year with postseason ineligibility, but unlike their cakewalk schedule of last year, there are landmines to trip over, and we’ll say that at least one of them gets the Buckeyes, keeping them from a final trip to the BCS title game.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion)

Comment: Georgia was a few yards from a title game berth last year, and instead got left out of the BCS all together. Not a pretty sight for the Bulldogs’ faithful, but with the right set of circumstances in 2013, it seems like the season could finally play out for a Georgia return to the BCS for the first time since the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

Louisville has what amounts to one of the country’s easiest schedules in 2013, and though they may survive without a blemish to their record, it will be a tough climb to get into the title game picture. If they do miss out, a berth in a BCS bowl as the inaugural champs of the American Athletic Conference shouldn’t be too tough to come by.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson’s recent rise as an ACC power comes not surprisingly as a result of the play and reputation of quarterback Tajh Boyd and a threatening offensive attack. After missing the BCS last season, expect the Tigers to take advantage of a somewhat young and weakened ACC to a conference title and a bid to the last BCS-era Orange Bowl.

TCU’s first two bids to the BCS came as a result of their surprising seasons as a member of a non-AQ conference. The Horned Frogs showed they could hang with the big boys then, and now, with a year of Big 12 experience under its belt, TCU should vie for a shot at a BCS berth.

Fiesta Bowl: Boise State Broncos (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: No one school symbolizes what the BCS tried to do with its at-large and non-AQ addendums than Boise State. And with a high preseason ranking and a somewhat breezy schedule ahead of them, the Broncos could make one last bow on the BCS stage.

Oklahoma State leads a bunched-up Big 12 conference of favorites, but we’ll say with a favorable schedule and a strong returning group of players that the Cowboys will grab this automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 champs.

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Final Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — December 2nd

Once again we’ve come to the end of the college football season with questions to be answered about the BCS.

Final BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oregon vs. Kansas State
Scroll down for more

While Saturday was incredibly clarifying when it came to many of the BCS spots, as it always is, there is drama to be played out in the polls, the computer and the selection committees on Sunday.

The non-AQ debate rages. Will Northern Illinois or Boise State crack the set of BCS bowls?

Either way, it’s been as fun as it always is. Let’s get ready for bowl season.

BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)

Comment: It played out just right this year for Notre Dame and Alabama to meet in what could be the biggest name pairing in the history of the BCS title game. Two programs, each with big accomplishments in 2012 — Notre Dame’s undefeated season, Alabama’s SEC title — will meet for the BCS crown at the end of another expansive bowl season. The Crimson Tide just did enough against Georgia in the SEC title game to claim this spot and set up every BCS executive’s dream matchup.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Stanford did what it needed to do — beat UCLA twice in six days, including in the Pac-12 Championship Game — to make their way to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12’s champion. Nebraska, on the other hand, did not do what it needed against Wisconsin, instead slipping to the Badgers when it mattered most, and giving Wisconsin a third straight bid to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin’s Big Ten title comes in a year where they also recorded five losses, the most a BCS bowl bound team has ever had.

Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: Florida automatically qualifies for the BCS with its No. 3 final ranking, which they receive by just passing Georgia, who saw a chance at a national title shot slip away. Oklahoma, while unable to claim the Big 12’s BCS bid outright, instead makes their way to a BCS bowl on the strength of a season that came up just short of the top of the BCS. Losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame kept Oklahoma at bay, while a lone loss to Georgia kept Florida out of the SEC title game. But both find some sanctuary in the BCS anyways.

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

Comment: One played in a de facto conference championship game, the other in a real one. But when it mattered the most, Florida State and Louisville stepped up against Georgia Tech and Rutgers, respectively, and will meet in the Orange Bowl as representatives of their respective conferences. For Florida State, a team that was once a perennial BCS contender, the Orange Bowl is its first since 2006, while Louisville heads to the BCS for just the second time in school history.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Both must wonder what could have been. Two teams seemingly destined for the BCS title game fell one November night within minutes of each other. And with too little time to climb back into the title race, Oregon and Kansas State are relegated to the Fiesta Bowl for what should be an incredibly interesting matchup. Oregon was left at home watching Stanford and UCLA battle for a Rose Bowl bid, but will land softly at the Fiesta Bowl, while Kansas State’s Big 12 regular season title locked them into this bowl.

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — November 25th

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
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl Stanford vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida State vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl 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.