BCS rankings analysis, Week 12: Notre Dame to title game, Fiesta or Rose?

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

If Kansas State and Oregon make it all the way through, what do we do with the potentially unbeaten Irish? And is the SEC out of the race yet?

Notre Dame's brand name might not be enough to get it into the national championship game (you heard that right, Lou Holtz), but it still has plenty of pull when it comes time for BCS bowls to make their picks.

Despite appearances - that No. 3 Notre Dame is closer to No. 2 Oregon than Oregon is to No. 1 Kansas State in the latest BCS standings - there is no chance for the Irish to catch either team without a loss by them. The Irish have maxed out their computer scores at .990 and are unlikely to get any more support in the polls unless they can rout USC at the Coliseum in two weeks.

BCS Harris Poll USA Today Computer Rankings
RK TEAM AVG PVS RK PTS % RK PTS % AVG A&H RB CM KM JS PW %
1 Kansas State .9674 2 2 2774 .9649 2 1427 .9675 2 1 1 3 2 2 2 .970
2 Oregon .9497 3 1 2844 .9892 1 1460 .9898 4 4 3 5 4 5 4 .870
3 Notre Dame .9396 4 3 2634 .9162 3 1346 .9125 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 .990
4 Alabama .8534 1 4 2494 .8675 5 1243 .8427 5 5 4 4 5 9 5 .850
5 Georgia .8328 5 5 2398 .8341 4 1260 .8542 6 6 5 6 7 4 6 .810
6 Florida .7955 6 7 2113 .7350 7 1079 .7315 3 3 6 2 3 3 3 .920
7 LSU .7331 7 8 2082 .7242 8 1040 .7051 7 7 7 9 6 6 7 .770
8 Texas A&M .6621 15 10 1842 .6407 10 967 .6556 8 9 10 8 8 10 8 .690
9 South Carolina .6349 8 11 1732 .6024 11 903 .6122 8 8 9 10 9 8 9 .690
10 Florida State .6071 10 6 2175 .7565 6 1143 .7749 17 16 17 14 0 0 16 .290
11 Clemson .5921 13 9 1972 .6859 9 1033 .7003 15 15 14 13 22 0 14 .390
12 Oklahoma .5797 12 12 1631 .5673 12 799 .5417 10 13 8 15 10 7 10 .630
13 Stanford .5705 14 13 1621 .5638 13 793 .5376 11 10 11 7 11 11 11 .610
14 Nebraska .4679 16 14 1239 .4310 14 653 .4427 13 12 15 11 12 18 12 .530
15 Texas .4259 17 15 1095 .3809 15 615 .4169 14 14 12 16 14 13 15 .480
16 Oregon State .4161 11 16 1081 .3760 17 490 .3322 12 11 13 12 13 12 13 .540
17 UCLA .2925 18 19 870 .3026 16 494 .3349 20 18 24 17 20 21 21 .240
18 USC .2769 19 18 886 .3082 21 343 .2325 17 21 19 22 17 16 18 .290
19 Louisville .2159 9 17 943 .3280 18 442 .2997 27 24 0 20 0 0 0 .020
20 Louisiana Tech .1911 20 20 728 .2532 19 413 .2800 25 0 22 24 0 0 24 .040
21 Michigan .1665 NR 24 264 .0918 23 144 .0976 16 17 21 18 18 20 17 .310
22 Rutgers .1529 23 21 571 .1986 20 354 .2400 27 25 0 19 0 0 25 .020
23 Texas Tech .1416 22 22 325 .1130 25 106 .0719 20 20 16 0 21 15 23 .240
24 Oklahoma State .1088 NR NR 118 .0410 24 111 .0753 22 19 18 0 19 19 0 .210
25 Washington .0850 NR NR 1 .0003 NR 7 .0047 19 22 23 25 15 14 19 .250

But there will be a big consolation prize for Notre Dame, and that'll depend on who finishes first and second in the final BCS standings. The Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl are both interested in the Irish. For the Fiesta, Notre Dame was instrumental in helping to build the bowl's reputation when the Irish beat West Virginia to win the the school's last national championship in 1988. For the Irish, they'd get a chance to erase some awful memories as they have dropped their last three bowl games in the desert.


A&M kills SEC meme || Projections for all 35 bowls || Oregon all the way?

The Rose Bowl ideally would like to keep its traditional Big Ten-Pac 12 matchup, but it might not have the option. In fact, if the Fiesta gets to pick first and selects Notre Dame, the Rose might have to opt for Oklahoma because of a lack of BCS eligible Pac-12 teams. After Oregon, currently only Stanford is in the BCS top 14. But the Cardinal still have to play the Ducks, as does No. 16 Oregon State and the winner of the No. 17 UCLA-No. 18 USC game. If Oregon does run the table and go to the title game, none of those teams will be in the top 14.

SB Nation's The Solid Verbal recaps the weekend of college football.

After having had TCU, Texas and Oklahoma in Pasadena in the past decade as per the auspices of the BCS, the Rose Bowl is intrigued by having Notre Dame back for the first time since the days of Knute Rockne. The Irish defeated Stanford 27-10 in the 1925 game. It was Notre Dame's first bowl appearance and its only one until 1970, as the school self-imposed a bowl ban for nearly half a century.

With six SEC teams currently occupying Nos. 4-9 in the BCS standings, there is an outside chance that we might run out of BCS eligible teams in the top 14, especially if Florida (vs. Florida State) and/or South Carolina (vs. Clemson) win their out-of-conference rivalry games in two weeks.

If there are not enough eligible teams to be selected in the top 14, per BCS bylaw the qualifying field would expand to No. 18 (and by fours until all 10 bowl slots are filled). If this protocol needs to be invoked, then it'd be likely that the Rose Bowl will grudgingly take a Pac-12 team. It'd be a hard pill to swallow because it's possible that the Grandaddy of 'em All might be fielding a pair of three-loss teams.

One thing we are sure of, even with three weeks to go still, is that the SEC will get two BCS representatives, with possibly neither in the BCS title game. In that event, whoever wins the Georgia-Alabama SEC championship game will end up in the Sugar Bowl, with another team likely headed to the Fiesta Bowl. Right now, the frontrunner for the SEC at-large selection is Texas A&M, which with freshman sensation Johnny "Football" Manziel lighting it up, has captured the nation's imagination.

At least the BCS bowls won't have to contend with a non-BCS riff-raff for a second straight year. Louisiana Tech, the highest-ranked team from a non-AQ conference, is stuck at No. 20 and has very limited potential to get to the top 16, let alone top 12, which would be the automatic qualifying standard at the moment.

So we tear up our bowl projections from last week and with three weeks left on the season, this is what we're looking at right now:

BCS national championship - Kansas State vs. Oregon

Fiesta Bowl - Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M

Rose Bowl - Oklahoma vs. Nebraska

Sugar Bowl - Alabama vs. Clemson

Orange Bowl - Florida State vs. Louisville

Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.

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