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If the season ended today, week 13


For most of the time BCS rankings have been available this year, we've had a #1 and #2 that are going to meet in their conference championship game, which makes an actual showdown in the BCS title game unlikely. Still the point of these articles is to show the effect of things the way they are now, not how I expect them to be next week. And the talk going around the media in the last few days about a rematch being quite possible if Texas loses is probably just intended as a warning to poll voters that no matter what happens next week, they really have to vote the SEC title game loser #4 or worse to make sure the computers don't produce a rematch.

If the season ended today, and assuming the highest-ranked team in each conference would be its champion (unless the actual champion has already been determined), here's how I think the BCS would look (this is not a reflection on where I think things will be at the end of the year, or any kind of commmentary on future game; this is just slotting teams where they currently stand). The only 'projection' element is in filling the at-large slots.

Teams in italics are projected to win automatic bids. Teams in bold have already clinched an automatic bid.

BCS bowls:

BCS Title: #1 Florida (SEC) vs. #2 Alabama (Autobid as #2)
Rose: #7 Oregon (P10) vs. #8 Ohio State (B10)
Fiesta:  #3 Texas (B12) vs. #4 TCU (autobid as highest-ranked non-BCS champ)
Sugar: #11 Penn State (at-large) vs. #12 Virginia Tech (at-large)
Orange: #10 Georgia Tech (ACC) vs #5 Cincinnati (Big East)

Here's the logic:

Florida and Alabama are currently #1 and #2, but since will play in the SEC championship game, this certainly won't happen.

Ohio State has won the Big Ten, regardless of what happens in the rest of the season. Oregon plays Oregon State with the Pac 10 title on the line on Thursday.

Georgia Tech goes to the Orange as ACC champ; they play Clemson in the ACC championship game.

Cincinnati is guaranteed a bid as Big East champ. They play Pitt in a de facto Big East championship game this weekend.

TCU is guaranteed a bid as the highest-ranked non-BCS confernce champ in the top 8. Since they have no remainging games, and Boise can't plausibly do anything to pass them against New Mexico State, this bid is locked up.

The Sugar first choses a team to replace Florida. They have exclusive rights to a second SEC team, except that Alabama is in the title game as well, so they select Penn State (or Iowa), as Big Ten teams travel extremely well. This won't happen because the SEC title game rematch won't happen, or at least shouldn't. Texas definitely has to lose to set it up, and Cinci probably does.

The Orange has to pick Georgia Tech's opponent next. They hate this scenario as much as they love the one I put in my projections, as they have to take a western mid-major, another ACC team, or a non-WVU Big East team. They curse, and then select Cinci after university officials sign oaths in blood to bring more fans this year.

The Fiesta is in an interesting situation with mid-level big draw Virginia Tech available, but TCU and good-drawing in a western bowl Boise available (and BYU would draw well in Phoenix, too). Still, they take the all-Texas game and select TCU to play Texas. This won't happen because if Texas wins the Big 12 title game, they're going to the BCS title game (even if they look ugly doing it and Cinci beats Pitt by 40, the Bearcats aren't passing Texas any more than idle TCU will); in the unlikley event that they lose, Nebraska will be here.

This leaves Boise or Virginia Tech to play Penn State in the Sugar, which would be a good game, but won't happen. The Big East champ seems a near-lock for the Sugar, now that WVU is out of the mix and seems near-certain that a western team will be the non-BCS conference team that gets in. But they'll play the SEC championship game loser here.

Boise State and BYU get to grumble about the BCS not selecting them; Iowa and LSU get to grumble about the two team per conference rule.

Changes from last week: Removed Oklahoma State from a projected BCS spot, and reshuffled.

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