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If the season ended today, post-Week 11 2010

No changes in the top 10 in the BCS rankings means very little change this week, though one change will be obvious to readers of this blog, and the other one was a shift in my thinking on how at-large BCS teams will be selected this year.

(boilerplate for this series follows)

This series, unlike my Bowl Projections series, is based on the current BCS standings, 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

  1. Protecting relationships with conferences
  2. Out of town fans in the seats
  3. Local fans in the seats
  4. TV viewers
  5. Novelty
  6. 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.

Unless it's extremely improbable (or impossible) that the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings can win a conference, the highest-ranked team in a conference is considered its projected champion in this series.

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 Bowls

BCS Title: #2 Auburn (SEC) vs. #1 Oregon (P10)
Rose: #7 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: #5 LSU (at-large) vs. #4 Boise State (at-large)
Orange: #16 Virginia Tech (ACC) vs #9 Ohio State (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. Auburn secured a spot in the SEC championship game with its win yesterday, while South Carolina its position as the SEC East champion; a single loss by Auburn likely would move them out of the BCS Championship game, but they would still likely go to a BCS bowl (certain if they lost to 'Bama and beat South Carolina in the rematch in Atlanta; merely likely if South Carolina pulls off the upset in the SEC Championship Game). Oregon hasn't quite clinched the Pac 10 title yet, but will with a win or a Stanford loss next week. The Ducks likely would not be an at-large candidate if they failed to win the Pac 10.

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. Pitt's loss to UConn means that Syracuse has almost certainly moved ahead of them in the BCS rankings (I've looked at all the polls and computer rankings this week, though I didn't do the math to aggregate things), and SU winning the Big East is no longer completely implausible, so the Orange return to the projected Big East champion spot in the reasoning used by 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; LSU is the next-ranking SEC team and almost local.

With the first at-large selection, the Sugar selects Boise State.I've been persuaded that especially with LSU in the game to ensure a sellout, the Sugar would take Boise.

The Orange Bowl considers its options for a small fraction of a second, then selects Ohio State and does the dance of joy.

The Fiesta then has no choice but to select the Big East champion, so Syracuse goes to Glendale.

Big East Bowls

Champs Sports/Orlando: WVU (almost always the best fan draw in the Big East)
Meineke Car Care/Charlotte: South Florida (only options are USF and Pitt because all other bowl eligible Big East teams are projected to be 6-6; Pitt was there last year)
Pinstripe/NYC: Pitt
BBVA Compass/Birmingham: Louisville
Beef O' Brady's/St. Petersburg: UConn

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