BCS Bowl Scenarios

Posted Nov 10, 2006

So how much the did the scintillating 28-25 Rutgers win over Louisville throw things into a tizzy? Now that the Cardinals are, for all intents and purposes, knocked out of the BCS Championship race, here are the likely scenarios for the national title, each BCS bowl game and what each top team's chances are.

Rose Bowl
, Pasadena, CA, Rose Bowl
January 1, 2007, ABC

BCS vs. BCS (Big 10 vs. Pac 10 if available)

One thing to remember here is that the Rose Bowl doesn't have to take a team from the Big Ten if/when it loses the Michigan/Ohio State winner to the BCS Championship game. According to the BCS rules, by losing the number one BCS team, the Rose Bowl would have its choice of any of the at-large teams, which means Notre Dame is a possibility. However, it's almost a mortal lock that the Michigan/Ohio State loser will play here against the Pac 10 champion.

Rose Bowl Projection: Michigan vs. USC
The loser of next week's Big Ten showdown will likely be here against the winner of the upcoming California-USC game. However, it's very possible a one-loss USC team makes it to the national title game considering it has high-profile chances to make a splash against Oregon, Cal, UCLA and Notre Dame.
Possible matchups in order of probability: 1) Michigan vs. Cal, 2) Ohio State vs. USC, 3) Ohio State vs. Cal, 4) Notre Dame vs. Cal

Fiesta Bowl,
Glendale, AZ, Glendale Stadium
January 1, 2007, Fox

BCS vs. BCS (Big 12 Champion to play here if available)

This one could grow into the dumping ground for the BCS teams if Texas goes to the national title game. The Fiesta, assuming it doesn't lose Texas to the BCS Championship game, gets the last pick of the at-large teams, which means it'll likely be Boise State. The Big 12 champion is slotted to go here, but watch out for the Longhorns to rocket up the standings once the computer formulas take the entire season into account. Remember, the BCS computer formulas don't mean anything right now; they'll change wildly once all the games are over. Boise State will likely go here if it can just win the rest of its games, but watch out for the regular season finale against Nevada. Several teams will be Wolf Pack fans on November 25th hoping the Broncos get knocked out. The Cal-USC loser would probably be the first choice, but the loser of the SEC title game, or possibly Auburn, if Arkansas plays Florida for the title, could be here.

Fiesta Bowl Projection: Texas vs. Boise State
The Longhorns will likely finish third when all is said and done, and it's likely the human voters will keep them down by design if Ohio State beats Michigan; few will want to see a rematch of the 24-7 Buckeye win in early September. If Michigan beats Ohio State, Texas has a better shot. Of course, things get thrown for a loop if Texas, the likely winner of the Big 12 North, pulls off the upset in the Big 12 title game. Boise State makes the most sense here as an at-large team.
Possible matchups in order of probability: 1) Nebraska vs. Boise State, 2) Texas vs. USC, 3) Texas vs. Auburn, 4) Texas vs. California

Orange Bowl, Miami, FL, Dolphins Stadium
January 2, 2007, Fox

BCS vs. BCS (ACC Champion to play here if available)

Expect it to be ACC vs. Big East, but this could quickly get strange depending on the SEC scenario. If Florida loses the SEC title game, the Orange Bowl might make a big push to get the Gators. The ACC representative is anyone's guess at this point with Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College and Maryland all possibilities. The Big East doesn't have an automatic tie-in to the title game, so the champion could potentially go to the Fiesta Bowl, but the Orange Bowl, depending on the national title game, should get the second or third pick of the at-large teams (with the Rose Bowl getting the number one choice), and it's not going to take Boise State.

Assuming Rutgers doesn't win out and go to the BCS Championship game, the Big East champion is the likely pick. If Rutgers goes 12-0 and misses out on the title, it'll be a mortal lock to play here. However, if West Virginia beats the Scarlet Knights, and Louisville, Rutgers, and West Virginia all finish 11-1, the bid goes to the highest ranked team according to the BCS standings. The guess here is it would be Louisville. However, things might get thrown off it Maryland wins the ACC title and West Virginia finishes as the Big East representative, because the two already played this year with the Mountaineers winning 45-24 on September 14th. Rematches aren't forbidden, but they're frowned upon.

Bowl Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Louisville
Don't completely dismiss the possibility of the number two SEC team playing here, and the Orange Bowl might jump all over Florida if it loses the SEC Championship game. Georgia Tech appears to be the best ACC team, by a slim margin, and assuming West Virginia wins at home against Rutgers, and Pittsburgh loses to both Louisville and West Virginia, it'll be between the Cardinals and the Mountaineers for who gets the spot.
Possible matchups in order of probability: 1) Georgia Tech vs. Florida, 2) Boston College vs. Louisville, 3) Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia, 4) Boston College vs. West Virginia, 5) Georgia Tech vs. Rutgers, 6) The ACC champion vs. Arkansas or Auburn

Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA, Louisiana Superdome
January 3, 2007, Fox

BCS vs. BCS (SEC Champion to play here if available)

This one's easy unless the SEC champion plays for the national title. If the Sugar Bowl loses the SEC champion to the BCS championship game, it would get the second pick of the at-large teams after the Rose Bowl, which will lose either Ohio State or Michigan, and would jump all over Notre Dame, if eligible, and would try to get another SEC team in. If Rutgers ends up playing for the national title, the Sugar still gets the number two pick. The Irish might not finish in the top eight of the final BCS standings if they lose to USC, but all they have to do is finish with nine wins and in the top 14 to be eligible. If they're not eligible, expect the Sugar to pick the Big East champion.

Bowl Projection: Notre Dame vs. Auburn
The pick here is that Florida will win out, avenge the loss to Auburn in the SEC Championship game, and will end up in the national title game. Since that's a projection, the other likely scenario is a Gator-Irish matchup in the Sugar Bowl. If Auburn or Arkansas wins the SEC title game, Florida will probably go to the Orange Bowl.

Possible matchups in order of probability: 1) Notre Dame vs. Florida, 2) Notre Dame vs. Arkansas, 3) Notre Dame vs. Auburn, 4) Big East champion vs. Florida

BCS Championship Game, Glendale, AZ, Glendale Stadium
January 8, 2007, Fox

BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2

As long as Ohio State doesn't gag at Northwestern and Michigan doesn't chock at Indiana, the winner of next week's showdown is in the national championship game no matter what. What are the chances for a rematch? If Michigan beat Ohio State, none. If Ohio State blows out Michigan, none. However, if OSU wins on a late field goal, many would want to see what would happen in the game was played on a neutral field. If there's some sort of major controversy at the end, there might be a rematch. More than likely, the pollsters will want to see someone else play the Big Ten champion, and the field is wide open.

USC has a great shot to get in if it blows out Cal, Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame. Texas will fly up the charts once all the BCS computer formulas are done, but few want to see a Buckeye-Longhorn rematch. Rutgers is the nice story at the moment, and if it beats Cincinnati and Syracuse and then beats West Virginia in Morgantown to finish 12-0, watch the East Coast media make a major push for the Scarlet Knights to be in. However, when all is said and done, it appears to be Florida's spot to lose.

Bowl Projection: Ohio State vs. Florida
Assuming Rutgers loses to West Virginia, if Florida wins the SEC championship game, that will mean it beat Tennessee at Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State at Florida State, and either Arkansas or Auburn in the national title game. Fourth in the BCS standings after last week, the Gators will likely move behind Michigan into the two spot now that Louisville lost. Once again, watch out for Texas. Fifth going into this week, it'll likely finish no lower than third if it wins out and with a win in the Big 12 Championship.
Possible matchups in order of probability: 1)
Michigan vs. Florida, 2) Ohio State vs. Texas, 3) Michigan vs. Texas, 4) Ohio State vs. USC, 5) Michigan vs. USC, 6) Ohio State vs. California, 7) Ohio State vs. Auburn, 8) Ohio State vs. Rutgers, 9) Michigan vs. Rutgers, 10) Ohio State vs. Michigan