BCS Bowl Predictions

The regular season is over, and despite the few rumblings you may be hearing, the national title game match-up is set--Texas vs. Alabama. Even though the win was by a single point, a neutral field victory over Nebraska will actually help Texas in the computers. And there is no way that enough Harris poll voters and coaches will rank TCU or Cincinnati above the undefeated Big XII champions. It's just not going to happen.

That said, there is still a lot of BCS uncertainty. Let's quickly review the process. The top two teams in the final BCS poll head to the national title game. This year that game will be played in the Rose Bowl on January 7th. Five of the six BCS conferences have automatic tie-ins for their champions, who are not in the top two. ACC champ goes to the Orange Bowl, Big XII champ goes to the Fiesta Bowl, SEC champ goes to the Sugar Bowl, and the Big 10 and Pac-10 champs hook up in the Rose Bowl.

Since the Sugar and Fiesta will lose their tie-in teams, they will get first picks as replacement picks. The Sugar Bowl will pick first because ‘Bama will be #1 in the BCS standings. The no-brainer pick here is SEC runner-up, Florida. The Fiesta Bowl picks next and this is where it gets interesting. In my mind there are two options, a Big 10 team which will travel well or a geographically smart and undefeated TCU team. I can see the Fiesta going either way. Under either scenario, their next pick, which comes after a selection by the Orange Bowl, would be either Boise State or Cincinnati.

To play this out, assume the Fiesta takes TCU. That leaves us with-

BCS Title: Alabama vs. Texas
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs.
Fiesta Bowl:
TCU vs.
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs.  

The rest after the jump...

The remaining picks go Orange, then Fiesta, and then Sugar. Cincinnati must be picked as Big East champs. The other two picks will be at-large selections.  At-large selections must have nine wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings. No conference may put more than two teams in BCS games. Under these rules Iowa and Penn State (Big 10), Boise State (WAC), Virginia Tech (ACC), and probably BYU (MWC) are the only possible choices. The field for these at-large picks slimmed considerably as Miami, Oklahoma State, USC, Stanford, and Pitt all faltered late.  

I imagine the Orange Bowl takes a Big 10 team because of fan support and because Cincy played there last year. I also assume that the Orange values Iowa's head-to-head win over Penn State more than the love for Joe Pa, and takes the Hawkeyes.

The Fiesta then takes Boise State to match two undefeated non-BCS teams and because they probably don't envision fans coming in droves from Ohio to Glendale, AZ. Also, Cincy may not even have a coach by January.

The Sugar is left with Cincinnati.

BCS Title: Alabama vs. Texas
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
Fiesta Bowl:
TCU vs. Boise State
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Cincinnati

I won't be shocked if Penn State gets picked over Iowa, nor will I be shocked if somehow the TCU/Boise State game is avoided.

Other predictions: ESPN's Brad Edwards, CBSSports, Dennis Dodd, College Football News

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