This series, unlike my Bowl Projections series, is based on the current BCS standings (and conference standings, when it's clear lower-ranked teams will finish ahead of higher-ranked teams), and my estimation of how bowl selection committees would react to the current standings if they were present at the end of the season. In my estimation, what bowls value is, in order
- Protecting relationships with conferences
- Out of town fans in the seats
- Local fans in the seats
- TV viewers
- Providing a good game
However, the bowls have various agreements to take certain teams under certain rules, so Ohio State and USC don't just play in the Rose Bowl every year no matter what happens in the regular season.
Lots of shake-ups this week, which features a lot of things which I think are unlikely to really be true at the end of the year.
Teams in Italics have guaranteed a bid. Teams in Bold have guaranteed a bid to a specific game (or come so close that's a virtual guarantee).
BCS Title: #2 Auburn (SEC) vs. #1 Oregon (P10)
Rose: #9 Wisconsin (B10) vs. #3 TCU (MWC/autobid as highest-ranked non-BCS champ; assigned to Rose with Big Ten or Pac 10 team in BCS title game)
Sugar: #6 Alabama (at-large) vs. #11 Ohio State (at-large)
Orange: #22 Virginia Tech (ACC) vs # Oklahoma (at-large)
Fiesta: #7 Nebraska (B12) vs. NR Syracuse (Big East)
Here's the logic:
Auburn and Oregon are the top 2 schools in the BCS rankings (the Ducks moving ahead of Auburn makes no difference here).
Wisconsin goes the Rose as Big Ten champion. Nebraska goes to the Fiesta as Big 12 champion. Virginia Tech goes to the Orange as ACC champion.Syracuse is guaranteed a bid as Big East champion, but not any specific spot (Pitt is effectively two losses up in the Big East standings, but we've got the highest BCS ranking in the conference right now thanks to some Coaches' Poll and Harris Poll votes. And it's still too early for little things like conference standings to override BCS rankings in this series.).
As the highest-ranked champion of a non-AQ conference, TCU gets an autobid. Because Oregon is in the BCS title game, the one-time special rule sending a non-AQ team to the Rose Bowl applies, so they go there.
To replace Auburn, the Sugar takes the best available SEC team; Alabama and LSU are both BCS eligible, but Alabama is more highly ranked, and not local to New Orleans.
With the first at-large selection, the Sugar selects Ohio State. They aren't (according to the BCS rankings) the best team available, but they do have the most fans and TV viewers of the available teams, so they go here.
The Orange Bowl selects #8 Oklahoma to play Virginia Tech, which is a lot less controversial than the Nebraska pick I had them making last week, but still not likely to be well thought of in Boise.
Syracuse must be sent to the Fiesta as the final at-large slot.
Big East Bowls
Champs Sports/Orlando: WVU (if SU wins the Big East, Pitt's overall record isn't very good, so WVU's fans get them here)
Meineke Car Care/Charlotte: Louisville (Pitt was here last year)
Beef O' Brady's/St. Petersburg: South Florida