With championship Friday and Saturday upon us in college football, the bowl picture begins to sort itself out. A few college bowl bids have already been handed out. However, here are projections for the other major BCS bowls.
BCS National Championship Game
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
The No. 1-ranked Fighting Irish are a lock to be in South Beach on Jan. 7, and their opponent will be the winner of the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia. Alabama is at least a touchdown favorite over Georgia at most sports books. If Georgia pulls the upset, it will be headed to Miami to face Notre Dame, if not, it will be the Crimson Tide seeking its second consecutive National Championship. The loser of the SEC Championship Game drops out of the BCS picture because Florida is a lock to make a BCS at-large bowl, and there cannot be more than two teams from the same conference in the BCS.
Kansas State vs. Oregon
If Kansas State can defeat Texas at home, it is headed to the Fiesta Bowl to face at-large selection Oregon. If Kansas State loses, that opens the door for Oklahoma to return to Glendale, Arizona, for another Fiesta Bowl. Oregon, which is sitting at No. 5 in the BCS rankings, will likely climb to No. 4 after leapfrogging the SEC Championship Game loser. The Ducks missed out on the Pac-12 Championship Game, so their regular season is over.
Florida vs. Oklahoma
Sitting at No. 4 (and likely No. 3 by the final BCS rankings), Florida is guaranteed a BCS bowl berth. The Sugar Bowl will gladly take them and pair them with Oklahoma as long as the Sooners can win at TCU. If Oklahoma loses to the Horned Frogs, the door opens up for teams like Oklahoma State, Texas and Clemson. And if No. 17 Kent State can upset Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game Friday night and if No. 16 UCLA loses to Stanford, then the Golden Flashes would enter the Top 16 and be guaranteed a BCS bowl because they would finish ranked higher than the Big East Champion. If that scenario occurs, Oklahoma will be bumped from the BCS and the Sugar Bowl will reluctantly choose whoever the Big East Champion is while Kent State lands in the Orange Bowl.
Florida State vs. Rutgers
The winner of the ACC Championship Game will very likely face the winner of the Louisville/Rutgers game. Florida State is a 14-point favorite against 6-6 Georgia Tech, so the Seminoles are likely a lock to land in South Beach on New Year’s Day while Rutgers is at home against Louisville and should advance. A Rutgers loss would create either a three- or four-way tie depending on what Syracuse and Cincinnati do. The final tiebreaker will be BCS standings, and Louisville will land in the Orange Bowl with a higher ranking than Rutgers. Kent State can toss a wrench into these plans. Unlike the ACC Champion, the Big East Champion is not obligated to land in the Orange Bowl. The Big East Champion will get picked by the Orange Bowl because it has the last selection of teams among the BCS Bowls. However, if Kent State were to win on Friday night and move into the Top 16 of the BCS standings, it would be guaranteed a BCS berth and would undoubtedly be the last team picked and land in the Orange Bowl opposite the ACC Champion, moving Rutgers or Louisville to the Sugar Bowl.
Nebraska vs. Stanford
The winners of the Big Ten Championship Game and Pac-12 Championship Game will meet in Pasadena. Nebraska faces Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday while Stanford hosts UCLA on Friday night. Nebraska is a likely winner against Wisconsin, who only lands in the game because Ohio State and Penn State are both ineligible for the postseason. Stanford has the advantage of hosting the Pac-12 Championship by virtue of its better record and win over UCLA just last week.