2009-10 College Bowl Projections
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/2/2009
Heading into Championship Saturday a few bowl invites have been trickling out and some bowl rumors are surfacing. However, much is still to be decided by what happens between Thursday and Saturday. The Florida-Alabama SEC Championship Game works as a semifinal of sorts with the winner advancing to the BCS National Championship Game and the loser likely headed to a Sugar Bowl consolation prize. BCS Busters TCU and Boise State are involved in the scenario as well but the real BCS buster this year could be Nebraska.
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The Cornhuskers take on Texas in the Big 12 title game Saturday night at 8 p.m. A Texas win would send the Longhorns to the national title game to face the SEC champion. If Texas would somehow get upset as 14-point favorites then the BCS would have a mess on its hands on a scale not seen since the controversial computer system was first adopted.
The official BCS Bids go out Sunday at 7 p.m. on Fox's NFL postgame show. But in the meantime let's speculate with some college bowl projections.
Oregon State/Oregon winner vs. Ohio State
This one stays the same regardless of what happens in Arlington, Texas at the Big 12 title game. The Buckeyes have not played in what seems like a few months and they have had their Rose Bowl tickets punched even longer than that. The Pac-10 situation will come down to the Civil War aka Rose Bowl play-in game aka the Pac-10 Title game, all on an unprecedented Championship Thursday.
When the Pac-10 scheduling gurus set this weekend up I am pretty sure the Arizona/USC tilt on Saturday was supposed to have some sort of implication on the Rose Bowl. It did not work out that way and the Rose Bowl is as simple as the winner of the Civil War, the Ducks or the Beavers, taking on Ohio State.
Since so much is riding on Texas and Nebraska I will go ahead and give two projections.
Here are the projections if Texas wins as they are expected to.
Penn State vs. Boise State
The appeal of Joe Paterno and the name recognition of Penn State will be enough to trump Iowa even though the Hawkeyes went into Happy Valley and came away with a stunning upset win. The Fiesta Bowl officials will get to replace Texas, who will be heading to the national title game in this scenario. With Oklahoma State blowing the chance it had for this spot by laying an egg last week against Oklahoma, the door is now opened for Boise State. Having the Broncos involved in this game is another reason why the Fiesta Bowl needs the broad market appeal of Penn State
Alabama/Florida loser vs. Cincinnati/Pitt winner
A no-brainer here for the Sugar Bowl, much like last season, as it takes the loser of the SEC title game and hopes an appealing team falls into its lap when it picks fifth in the BCS pecking order. The appealing part could happen if Cincinnati wins at Heinz Field on Saturday and lands here. The Bearcats will not bring many fans but they will be undefeated and potentially a Top 3 team, making this the second most appealing bowl game behind only the title game. A Pitt win in the defacto Big East title game will spell trouble for the Sugar Bowl as the No. 15 Panthers, widely regarded as the worst traveling fan base in the BCS, rarely bring fans to their own home games let alone a bowl game.
Georgia Tech/Clemson winner vs. TCU
The ACC champion is tied into the Orange Bowl and picking third, the Orange Bowl committee will have a hard time passing over an undefeated TCU team ranked in the Top 5. It could get tricky if Clemson were to win. TCU already played Clemson, winning in Death Valley, 14-10, back on Sept. 26. In that scenario the Orange Bowl could actually pass on TCU and take the Big East champion IF it is Cincinnati. If Pitt is the available team, the Orange Bowl will say no thanks and opt for a TCU/Clemson rematch.
BCS National Championship Game
Florida/Alabama winner vs. Texas
This is the dream matchup for the BCS. No one will be calling for a playoff as we basically just saw one with semifinal games, setting up this showdown and no "mid-major" conferences would be whining either as TCU and Boise State are invited to the BCS at-large party. Texas and Florida has massive appeal with Heisman winner Tim Tebow going up against the player who should be carrying around a Heisman by this point, Colt McCoy.
Only if it were so easy.
Texas is favored by two touchdowns against Nebraska. But that is why they play the game.
If Texas loses:
The BCS computers go haywire and blow up.
The other scenario is this:
Penn State vs. Nebraska
The Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 champion Cornhuskers and pairs them with Penn State to avoid the regional matchup of Nebraska/Iowa.
Alabama/Florida loser vs. TCU
The Sugar Bowl gets the BCS title games leftovers and then takes an angry but undefeated TCU bunch.
Georgia Tech/Clemson vs. Texas
The Orange Bowl snags the reeling Longhorns (who by losing have snatched a BCS spot from Boise State) to go up against the ACC representative.
BCS National Championship Game
Florida/Alabama winner vs. Cincinnati
With one fell swoop the Bearcats leap two teams from Texas. This will not sit well down there. The Texas loss moves No. 5 Cincinnati up a spot and assuming the Bearcats win at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati should garner enough votes to leap No. 4 TCU. The Bearcats are already ahead of TCU in the computer polls and TCU is done playing. A win at Pitt on Saturday in front of a national ABC audience should do the trick. Cincinnati would obviously be matched up against the SEC title winner.
The argument can be made for an SEC title game rematch. But that will not happen. It did not happen three years ago with Ohio State and Michigan even with all their fans clamoring for a rematch and it will not happen now. The two-game series idea is not fair to the team winning the first meeting and with TCU and Boise State undefeated and knocking on the door, you could see this thing headed straight back to congress.
Now if Cincinnati were to lose to Pitt on Saturday, then you have your true BCS Buster. TCU would play the winner of Florida/Alabama.
And who said college football did not have playoffs.
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