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
||Alabama vs. Stanford
||Oregon vs. Ohio State
||Georgia vs. Michigan
||Clemson vs. Texas
||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.