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Bowl Projections, week 9 2011 (we blew out WVU week!)

Okay, a fair amount of BCS chaos this week, even ignoring what happened in the Dome Friday night.

 

Bowl If the season ended today Projection
BCS Championship #1 LSU (SEC)  vs #2 Alabama (SEC/automatic at-large as #2)
LSU (SEC) vs. Boise State (MWC/top-non-AQ)
Rose #6 Stanford (P12) vs #11 Michigan State (B10)
Oregon (P12) vs Wisconsin (B10)
Fiesta #3 Oklahoma State (B12) vs #6 Oregon (P12/at-large)
Kansas State (B12) vs Stanford (P12/at-large)
Sugar #14 Nebraska (B10/at-large) vs #4 Boise State (MWC/top non-AQ) Alabama (SEC/at-large) vs Michigan State (B10/at-large)
Orange #5 Clemson (ACC) vs #25 WVU  (Big East) Clemson (ACC) vs Syracuse (Big East)

The "If the season ended today" projection 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.The 'projection' is how I think things will actually end up once the rest of the season is played, based on remaining schedule and my best guesses.

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 for the purposes of the 'if the season ended today' projection.

Also worth noting, the selection order for the BCS bowls this year is Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.

BCS Championship: In this week's BCS standings, LSU and Alabama are #1 and #2, so they would meet in the BCS championship if the season ended today. Since they play each other in a few weeks and only one of them can win the SEC, it seems extremely likely the voters would deny a rematch even if they end up #1 and #2 in the computer rankings at the end of the season.

As for my projection - I'm a little more impressed by LSU so far, so I like them to beat Alabama.I don't trust Oklahoma State or Kansas State to get through the Big 12, think Stanford will lose to Oregon, and think Clemson will not go undefeated. It's possible a one-loss team jumps Boise, but for now I'm saying they'll get their shot.

Rose Bowl: Stanford and Michigan State are your current leaders in the Pac 12 and Big Ten, and with neither going to the BCS title game, that sets up the Rose Bowl.

In my projection, though, I don't have either of them. I've got to go with Wisconsin in a Big Ten title game rematch with Michigan State even though they lost in East Lansing, and I don't think anyone else from the Big Ten North Where is Wisconsin? Legends would do any better. And as per above, I like Oregon to beat Stanford, and the only Pac 12 South team I'd give a good chance to beat either of them is post-season ineligible USC.

Fiesta Bowl: This week's B12 leader is Oklahoma State after Texas Tech pulled off a shocker in Norman yesterday. And given the set of available teams, I think the Fiesta almost has to go with the Ducks to face them.

In my projections, I have Stanford here, and Kansas State winning the Big 12. This may be a bit crazy, but I don't really trust Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma just lost to Texas Tech. It's possible Stanford is left out of the BCS entirely if they don't win the Pac 12 or finish in the top 4 due to a small fan base, but with Boise in the title game, the Big Ten teams gone, and Syracuse winning the Big East (see below), there aren't a lot of great options for the second team in the Fiesta.

Sugar Bowl: 'If the season ended today', the Sugar needs a replacement for the BCS title game participant, and can't select an SEC team because two are in the title game.It could choose anyone from Oklahoma, Nebraska, or Kansas State for one side; I'm going with Nebraska here because two Big Ten teams in the BCS seems like an unofficial rule. Boise State goes here because with two losses, the 'eers are a bit less attractive to the BCS.

In my projections, the LSU/Alabama loser goes here. It seems unlikely another SEC team will catch up to the LSU/Alabama loser in the standings, and if it's close, the LSU/Alabama loser might get the nod anyway. I've got Michigan State on the other side, with a low-draw team winning the Big East.

Orange Bowl: Clemson is the ACC leader now, and as much as I'm tempted to use my default Virginia Tech wins the ACC projection, I can't quite talk myself into it at this point, let alone talk my way into believing in Clemson in the title game. WVU just barely stayed in the BCS top 25 (and no one else from the Big East did), and with only two conference games played by most Big East teams it's too early to jump the highest-ranked team due to conference tiebreakers.

But I don't see how anyone else in the Big East beats us if we play like we did on Friday (or even how we did in the loss to USC, except with a Chandler Jones on the field), and Rutgers will lose to WVU (at a minimum) so for now I'm going to pretend that we can do that, and slide us into the BCS in my projection.

Non-BCS Big East bowls (projections only)

Champs Sports: Notre Dame vs Miami. I don't see ND beating Stanford, but since WVU would be going here twice in a row, and ND should do pretty well save for losing to Stanford on their remaining schedule, they go here. Plugging in Miami as ACC #3 for now.

Belk: WVU vs Florida State. The 'eers are better than they looked against us, and better than anyone else in the Big East, too. Florida State sneaks in here.

Pinstripe: Cinci vs. Texas Tech. Not a real NYC vibe here, but with SU unavailable (BCS), Pitt ineligible, and Rutgers and UConn just barely qualifying for a bowl, Cinci goes here.

Liberty/Compass: Rutgers. Not actually good, but have a better shot at 7 wins than any non SU/WVU/Cinci Big East team because they already have 5 wins.

Beef: UConn; looks like they have the best chance to make 6-6 of UConn, Pitt, and USF.

No Bowl: Pitt, USF. It's hard to see either getting to bowl eligibility.

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