Update: Miami has just self-imposed a bowl ban. This makes a Clemson-South Carolina rematch even less farfetched, since the only other ACC options for the Atlanta bowl are now N.C. State (which already lost there this year), Georgia Tech, Duke and maybe Virginia Tech. I can see Duke, for novelty's sake, but a Georgia Tech team that'll now have gotten exposure the week earlier in the ACC title game could be the choice, but that team will likely be 6-7. The ACC is a mess.
The 2012 college football season's mayhem week arrived. No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon both lost on the same night, tearing up the bowl season picture. Notre Dame now needs to win just one game to lock up a spot in Miami, and if Alabama and Georgia can make it past overmatched rivals, they'll play for the right to face the Irish. So simple, which is also what we thought about Kansas State and Oregon last week.
Projections for every college football bowl game as of November 18, plus explanations below:
* Filling another conference's spot.
BOLD: Bid already accepted.
ITALICS: Adjusted to account for Miami bowl ban. Moved every ACC team up a spot, except for Georgia Tech, which will likely be 6-7. Have Arkansas State taking the now-free Independence bid.
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Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Alabama over Auburn and Georgia did not require much internal debate, but Notre Dame over USC did. The Trojans have firepower, and unless Matt Barkley is out with his shoulder injury (he very well might be), they should be motivated enough to make use of it. But Notre Dame is simply a tougher team, and one that's played its best ball far from South Bend. Lane Kiffin vs. Brian Kelly with a title shot on the line is gonna result in some weird, weird in-game choices, though.
As for the at-large bids, the Sugar gets the first and third picks thanks to losing Alabama and this year's rotation. The Fiesta goes second, the Orange fourth.
If the Sugar wants to stick with the SEC, it has a load of choices -- Florida would likely be No. 3 if it beats Florida State and Georgia loses, but I'm picking FSU in that game. That means every non-Alabama SEC team would have two losses, and if that's the case, the Sugar goes with star power and with the (big and nearby) fanbase that's most excited to be 10-2. Johnny Manziel, on his way to becoming the first freshman Heisman winner, and Texas A&M, a BCS bowl in its first SEC season.
The Fiesta's choice is pretty easy, if Stanford beats UCLA to win the Pac-12 North and then UCLA again to win the Pac-12 (not easy to beat a team twice in one year, let alone week, though -- the Pac-12 is the biggest wild card on the board). That would free up Oregon, which could be ranked No. 3 or 4 by then, and make the Fiesta the near-miss game it was last year as well.
With the next pick, the Sugar takes Oklahoma, likely ranked around No. 10. A Big 12 reunion. Everybody hates Texas. Other choices could be Clemson, Texas or Michigan.
The Orange goes last, and I have Louisville beating Rutgers to win the Big East's automatic bid. Florida State is very unlikely to get anywhere but the Orange, so there's that one.
I keep trying to avoid a Clemson-South Carolina rematch in the Chick-fil-A. There's really no way Atlanta passes on Clemson if the Tigers don't make a BCS bowl -- the next-best choice is either N.C. State (which already lost in the Dome once), Georgia Tech or Miami. And South Carolina's both hard to pass up on and unlikely to be picked any higher as well -- the next best choices are Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, and the Cocks are only unavailable here if they've gone ahead of LSU, Florida, Georgia or Texas A&M, which seems unlikely. Clemson-Carolina. The Dome would be full. Help me out here.
Wisconsin and Florida combine for four points.
West Virginia says hello to old friend Syracuse, future ACC team.
Culture clash of the week: Northwestern-Mississippi State.
Why yes, I do have Ole Miss beating Mississippi State.
Oh god the things Nick Florence would do to USC's secondary.
Also, if two Pac-12 teams don't go to BCS games, preseason No. 1 might just fall far enough to play in the Sun Bowl. It might even play Duke there. If that happens, the world has no more meaning.
What do you think?
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