Bowl Projections, post-week 11 2010

A lot of close calls at the top this week, but the only projected BCS game participant from last week to lose was Pitt. The Panthers still control their own destiny in the conference, but almost certainly will not win the conference if they lose again (there are ways where it's possible, but Pitt can't win a 2-way tie against a 5-2 USF, WVU, or UConn, and probably loses a 3-way tie that goes to the BCS rankings because they'd be 7-5). Also, the way some other games played out has me changing my projected champions for the Big Ten and Big 12.

BCS Bowls

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

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

Oregon probably had their only close game of the year against home-Cal (road-Cal is a totally different team composed of the players who look similar and who wear the same uniform numbers, but their play on the field clearly demonstrates that they have nothing in common with each other). TCU's close shave with SDSU probably hurts them with humans, and Utah's loss to Notre Dame (and I still have no idea how that happened) hurts them with the computers, but I think TCU stays ahead of Boise.

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. Wisconsin's epic-sized blowout win and Iowa's loss make it much harder for the Buckeyes to pass a Wisconsin team they lost to.

Virginia Tech wins the ACC because they always do (and they're the only team undefeated in ACC play right now).I have no idea who will in the Big 12; Oklahoma State gets an extremely tentative projection because except for the Nebraska loss, they've really looked like the best team in the Big 12 (and were missing their star receiver vs Nebraska).

Auburn wins the SEC despite losing the Iron Bowl. Unless Cam Newton is actually declared ineligible by the NCAA or SEC (there's no point in benching Cam at this point if he hasn't been officially suspended; Auburn is not bowl eligible if the wins he played in are vacated), he'll play in the SEC championship game, and that likely means they beat South Carolina a second time.

I'm now projecting Pitt loses at least one more game, which probably sets them up in a tie they can't win (okay, there are some extremely unlikely scenarios they would win, like if they lose to Cinci and we beat UConn). This week's projected champion, once and future kings of the Big East, West Virginia (they win the Big East outright if they win out and we lose to UConn, they probably win a three-way tie with us and Pitt if we beat UConn and lose to BC or win with few style points; they also win a two-way tie with USF).

With TCU in the BCS title game, the Rose does not have to select an eligible non-AQ team to play Wisconsin, and so will feature a Big Ten/Pac 10 game if both conferences have eligible teams. Stanford should finish BCS eligible (even if they lose one of their remaining games, it's hard to see them dropping out of the top 14).

The Sugar Bowl selects Ohio State to play Auburn, prompting cries of outrage from East Lansing and Boise.

The Orange Bowl selects LSU as the biggest draw remaining to face Virginia Tech, prompting even more cries of outrage from Boise.

West Virginia actually has a pretty good-sized fan base, but not enough to keep the Orange from taking LSU ahead of them, so they go to the Fiesta with the last pick.

Other Big East Bowls

Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando): Syracuse. Even if Notre Dame pulled off a logic-defying win over Utah, they still aren't beating USC. With ND unavailable and and WVU in the BCS, the Champs takes the best story in the Big East.
Meineke Car Care Bowl (Charlotte):  South Florida. Pitt was here last year.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (NYC): Pitt. With no NYC-area teams available (UConn is now projected be bowl eligible at 6-6, but can't jump anyone with that record), Pitt is the next-best option. On the plus side for the Pinstripe Bowl, there's a slim chance Texas gets here.
BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham): Louisville. Probably the fan base most likely to show up for this game (USF was there last year, WVU would be terribly disappointed, and the rest of us northeastern types really don't want to go to Alabama)
Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UConn. Sneaks into bowl eligibility at 6-6, gets Beef.

Home for the holidays: Cinci, Rutgers. Both of these teams will have a major struggle to reach bowl eligibility (Cinci would need to win all of their remaining games, Rutgers would need to go 2-1), and I don't think they will. UConn only needs 1 more win to reach 6-6, and I think they get that at home against Cinci in two weeks.

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