No shocking upsets among the top teams this week, just a lot of near misses. Boise State's run at a spot died with their loss to San Diego State, though.
|Bowl||If the season ended today||Projection|
|BCS Championship||#1 Alabama (SEC) vs #2 Kansas State (B12)||Alabama (SEC) vs. Oregon (P12)
|Rose||#3 Oregon (P12) vs #16 Nebraska (B10)
||Oregon State (P12/at-large) vs Nebraska (B10)
|Fiesta||#12 Oklahoma (B12/at-large) vs #4 Notre Dame (IND/auto-bid)
||Kansas State (B12) vs Notre Dame (IND/auto-bid)
|Sugar||#5 Georgia (SEC/at-large) vs #13 Clemson (ACC/at-large)
||Florida (SEC/at-large) vs Oklahoma (B12/at-large)
|Orange||#10 Florida State (ACC) vs #9 Louisville (Big East)
||Florida State (ACC) vs Louisville (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. 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 (note that this is sixth on the list)
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 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 the current BCS standings, Alabama is #1 and Kansas State is #2. Oregon gained a little relative strength from the CPUs (and voters) to move to #3, but there might be something to the theory that catching the Wildcats may be a lot more difficult; most of the BCS computers still have Oregon outside the top 4.
But as for my projection - I'm sticking with Alabama vs Oregon. I still think they should gain some ground from the computers, especially since the teams between them and K-State in the computers have good chances to lose.
Rose Bowl: The current BCS rankings have the Ducks fourth and out of the title game. If Ohio State did not have a post-season ban, they'd be about fifth and slotted here with an outside chance at a BCS title game appearance given sufficient chaos. Instead, Nebraska looks the least bad of Big Ten teams who can go to bowl games, even according to the BCS.
In my projections, I (like almost everyone in the country) have the Ducks in the title game. Oregon State is the replacement even with the Beavers' lost because USC lost to Arizona; if they finish 10-2 (also losing to Oregon), they should still be in the BCS top 14, while I'm not sure USC or Stanford would be without beating Oregon (USC has an outside shot because they'd have wins over ND and UCLA). If the Pac doesn't have a 2nd top-14 team and Oregon is in the title game, then Notre Dame probably goes here (unless the Big Ten team has already played them this year, or we have a Notre Dame/Oregon title game).
Fiesta Bowl: If the season ended today, Kansas State is in the title game. Even with picking up a second loss to Notre Dam, Oklahoma replaces them in the Fiesta Bowl as they'd prefer to take a Big 12 team. Notre Dame is available as an opponent, so they go here even though it would be a rematch.
In my projections, Kansas State goes to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion. As they're not in the championship game, Notre Dame is available, and snatched up at the first reasonable opportunity. I project the Irish to lose to USC (even if most people don't now), but they still should be guaranteed a BCS bid by virtue of being in the top 8 (though they'd almost certainly be selected if they were in the top 14 and not guaranteed a bid).
Sugar Bowl: I have the Sugar selecting Georgia, since they're the next-highest-ranked SEC team after championship-game bound Alabama. That seems to be what the Sugar Bowl does. I have them playing Clemson as I project them as the best draw to New Orleans of the available options (Oregon State, Clemson, Stanford, Louisville).
In my projections, Florida goes here because a I project an SEC Championship Game loss for the Dawgs and a win over Florida State for the Gators would leave the Gators as the highest-ranked. Toledo might have sneaked into the BCS top 25, but even if they ran the table they'd need a lot of help to secure an auto-bid as a one-loss MAC team (even if Cinci wins out and gets the help they need to win the Big East). So instead I have Oklahoma here.
Orange Bowl: Florida State's position at the top of the ACC is surprisingly comfortable despite it not being the 1990s anymore the last time I checked. On the other side, the Orange Bowl picks last again this year, and with Louisville as the current Big East leader in the BCS rankings, they go on the other side here.
Despite NC State having shown that FSU is not 'back', I can't see a good case for anyone else; the Seminoles already have a head-to-head win over the only plausible alternative in Clemson. So FSU stays the projected ACC champ. L'ville is clearly the top Big East team for now no matter how shaky they look, and I can't really make a good case for anyone else (Rutgers? Cinci? I don't think so.).