Bowl Projections, week 10 2010 (rational exuberance week)

A couple of losses by undefeated teams and a more realistic assessment of our chances of winning the Big East shakes things up this week.

BCS Bowls

BCS Title: Oregon (P10) vs. TCU (MWC/autobid as highest-ranked non-BCS AQ champ)
Rose: Ohio State (B10) vs. Stanford (at-large)
Sugar: Auburn (SEC) vs. Boise State (at-large)
Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC) vs Wisconsin (at-large)
Fiesta:  Oklahoma (B12) vs. Pitt (Big East)

Here's the rationale (such as it is, in this crazy season)

Oregon to the title game is a pretty conventional pick. I don't think the Ducks will lose this year. I think the TCU/Utah winner will pass Boise State next week, and move into the title game when Auburn loses to Alabama. Utah's nail biter vs Air Force has me projecting TCU to win that game for now, so TCU gets to play for the national championship before joining the Big East.

Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State end up in a three-way tie at 7-1 in the Big Ten; this ends up going all the way to BCS rankings for the tiebreaker, and sends Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.

Virginia Tech wins the ACC because they always do (and they're the only team undefeated in ACC play right now). Oklahoma wins the Big 12 because even after this week, I still don't trust anyone who lost to Texas this year to do anything on a national stage and so won't pick Nebraska.

Auburn wins the SEC despite losing the Iron Bowl because Les Miles manages to work his mojo on the Tide in Baton Rouge next weekend, but unlike Alabama, Auburn doesn't have the cachet to get to the title game with one loss and another undefeated AQ conference team around.

Although Syracuse is clearly the best story in the Big East, and the Orange win all their remaining games, Pitt only suffers one more irrational loss and so wins the Big East due to Syracuse ruining everyone's homecoming, including our own.

With TCU in the BCS title game, I don't think the Rose has to select an eligible non-AQ team to play Ohio State. The Arizona/Stanford winner should finish BCS eligible (and Stanford could finish 11-1; 'Zona will lose to Oregon so their best case is 10-2), and since that's in Palo Alto and I think Stanford's better I'm projecting the Cardinal to win and go to the Rose as the Ducks' replacement.

Under intense pressure from the SEC to give Auburn the best possible opponent, the Sugar selects Boise State as the highest-ranked remaining team (also because they can sell out the game with just Auburn fans).

The Orange Bowl selects Wisconsin as the biggest draw remaining to face Virginia Tech, prompting cries of outrage from East Lansing.

And because Pitt has a relatively small fan base, they go to the Fiesta to face Oklahoma.

Other Big East Bowls

Champs Sports Bowl: West Virginia. After losing to Tulsa, it's virtually impossible for Notre Dame to take this spot (they'd need to beat both USC and Utah), which means it goes to West Virginia if they're not in the BCS and it's at least plausible that they belong here.
Meineke Car Care Bowl:  Syracuse. We finish with the best overall record in the Big East, and the highest ranking in the polls, but tied with Pitt in the Big East standings (which sends them to the BCS due to their head to head win) and behind WVU in the important "number of crazed fans we'll bring to a bowl game" standings.
Birmingham Bowl: South Florida
Beef O'Brady's Bowl (or perhaps New Era Pinstripe Bowl): Louisville

Home for the holidays: Cinci, Rutgers, UConn. All of these teams will have a major struggle to reach bowl eligibility, and I don't think they will.

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