Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
College football's 2012 season is shaping to be one of those that could really, really benefit from a playoff, with at least five teams very much in line to play for the BCS National Championship. Projections for all 35 bowls herein.
We're getting a playoff in college football. But if Iowa State hadn't already done its part to ruin the BCS, 2012 might be the year that would've finally done it. At this point, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Oregon State and Notre Dame all have perfect cases to play for the national title, but only two teams can. Things will straighten themselves out somewhat (or only get muddier) over the next few weeks, of course, but teams will be screwed by the current system.
However, the system is the system, so let's take a look at where we're headed:
Alabama vs. Oregon
Even if Kansas State overtakes Oregon in the BCS standings, I don't see the Wildcats finishing perfect. Florida will also lose to Alabama in the SEC title game, and even the stoutest of rematchologists aren't going to turn the Gators right back around and give them another shot. I have the Irish losing to Oklahoma at least, meaning an unbeaten Oregon gets another crack at a school from Alabama.
For a little preview, check this out.
I admit it: I underestimated K-State for the 11 millionth time, but don't make that face. Everybody underestimates them at all times. My projections have been amended, and now I've got the Wildcats making the Fiesta, as I do think they'll drop a game later in the year.
The Fiesta also gets first AQ pick, and if Notre Dame's around, you take Notre Dame. The Irish will lose to Oklahoma next week and might lose to USC, but should otherwise sail.
The SEC runner-up gets a 2008 title game rematch against the Big 12 runner-up, and both conferences are so tough at the top we might end up wishing each could put more than two into the BCS.
The Orange Bowl's left with another ACC-Big East matchup. The Orange could hope for Boise State to keep clawing its way back and for Big East carnage. Or at least for Louisville to win that conference. Or for Michigan to not win the Big Ten, so that it could take Michigan. But with the weakest AQ bid and the worst non-AQ pick, the Orange will again have the least notable BCS game. (That's not a "SHOTS AT THE BIG EAST" thing. That's a "Rutgers is unpopular" thing.)
The Rose gets Michigan and USC and a lot of money. Lots of people watch it.
We'll keep UCF on here as long as we can, even though the Knights are sure to end up with a bowl ban. The thing is, Conference USA is really, really bad this year. The Big East is top-heavy (I have Temple as the only team besides Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati making it in, and that's being kind to the Owls), and the Big Ten and ACC each has bowl-banned teams that would otherwise make it in, but C-USA is just awful. Other than Tulsa, ECU and UCF, we're reaching.
But the littlest guys finally work the system to their advantage: the Sun Belt, WAC and MAC fill the gaps, with each taking spots the other conferences couldn't fill. We got you touchdowns for the holidays!
Boise State-Arizona State is indeed a rematch, but I don't think that game would have doubts about bringing back ASU, which looked miserable last year. Sun Devils fans are much more hopeful about their program, and would be more likely to show up this time. I actually thought about Nevada winning that conference, but then we're looking at a Boise State-BYU rematch minus Taysom Hill and NO GOD NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THAT.
Non-BCS games I'd be especially pumped about: Toledo-Western Kentucky, Miami-Texas A&M, Ohio-LA Tech, Arizona-Navy, UCLA-Duke and Texas-Michigan State, if only because that's the most confusing thing on this whole board.
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