BCS Bowl Predictions and Selection Process

Even though it is becoming increasingly unlikely that our Texas Longhorns will go bowling this year, ten teams will still earn BCS bowl bids, and the top two squads will meet in Glendale, Arizona on January 10th, 2011 for the national title. Let's take a look at the rules governing the bowl selections and project where the top teams will land following this season.

As we all know, the top two teams in the final BCS standings will earn spots in the national title game. Also, 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 12 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.

For simplicity's sake, let's assume that Oregon and Auburn win out and remain #1 and #2 in the BCS standings.

Since the Rose and Sugar will lose their tie-in teams, they will get first picks as replacement picks. The Rose Bowl would pick first because I'm assuming Oregon finishes #1 in the final BCS standings. Due to a new rule, the Rose Bowl must take a non-automatic qualifying team:

Starting with the 2011 Rose Bowl and extending until the 2014 edition of the granddaddy of them all, the first time the Rose Bowl loses one of its traditional hosts (Big Ten or Pac-10 Champion) to the BCS National Championship Game, and a non-BCS team automatically qualifies for the BCS, that non-BCS team will be selected by the Rose Bowl.

The Boise State Broncos are likely to win their final three games and finish ahead of TCU in the final BCS standings. Therefore, the Rose must take Boise State with the first replacement pick.

The Sugar Bowl would get the second replacement pick after having lost predicted SEC champion, Auburn, to the national title game. The obvious pick here is local favorite, LSU. Alabama would be another option, but it's hard to see the Bayou Bengals getting passed over unless they lose to either Mississippi or Arkansas in their final two games.

I am also projecting that Wisconsin wins the Big 10 (based on BCS standings, from what I can tell), Virginia Tech wins the ACC, Oklahoma State wins the Big 12, and Pittsburgh wins the Big East.

The order of the remaining picks rotates each season. This year, the order is Sugar, then Orange, and finally Fiesta.

So, here's where we are now:

BCS Title: Oregon (Pac 10 champion) vs. Auburn (SEC champion)
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (Big 10 champion) vs. Boise State (at-large)
Sugar Bowl: LSU (at-large) vs.  
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech (ACC champion) vs.
Fiesta Bowl:
Oklahoma State (Big 12 champion) vs.

The Sugar Bowl could select the Big East champion or make another at-large selection. The Big East champion will have at least three losses and probably four losses and is an unlikely selection, regardless of team. At-large possibilities must have at least nine wins and be ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings. Possible choices would be Stanford, Michigan State, Ohio State, TCU, or Nebraska. Alabama would not be an option under this scenario because no more than two teams from the same conference may play in BCS bowls (Auburn and LSU already selected).

In this model, Nebraska will have just lost the Big 12 championship and would not be selected. Stanford could easily be 11-1, but it's hard to see them landing anywhere in the BCS. The Cardinal are not a big enough team to draw high tv ratings or sell loads of tickets. Michigan or Ohio State could be choices, but I'll go with an undefeated TCU team here. TCU makes sense geographically, and the Sugar would be choosing one of only four undefeated teams in the country.

The Orange picks next and probably goes with a Big 10 team over the Big East champion. Ohio State travels better than Michigan State, so the Buckeyes are the pick here.

That leaves the Fiesta with the Big East champion and our match-ups look like this:

BCS Title: Oregon (Pac 10 champion) vs. Auburn (SEC champion)
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (Big 10 champion) vs. Boise State (at-large)
Sugar Bowl: LSU (at-large) vs. TCU (at-large)
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech (ACC champion) vs. Ohio State (at-large)
Fiesta Bowl:
Oklahoma State (Big 12 champion) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East champion)

This entire scenario changes if Auburn or Oregon loses or if things end up differently in the Big 10 or if Boise State or TCU is upset coming down the stretch. I'll try to post again if anything major changes. 

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