A team that lost to a team that lost to Kansas is probably going to a BCS bowl. Such is life.
The BCS shakeup this week is significant, but straightforward. Oklahoma State blasted Baylor, 49-17, meaning the Cowboys need to beat Oklahoma at home to clinch a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, the Pokes' second in three years. Oregon handed the Pac-12 North back to Stanford by cratering at Arizona, 42-16, as they do every few years. The Cardinal must beat Arizona State again to reach the Rose. That would be their fourth BCS bowl in a row.
Updated projections for all 35 bowl games, with explanations and your comments below [edit at 12:19 p.m. ET: rearranged the C-USA bowls due to an error].
[Friday morning update: Changes we already know will need to be made for this Sunday's edition: NIU into the BCS over Fresno State, due to last Sunday's surprising BCS standings, and Mississippi State taking the SEC's BBVA Compass spot by upsetting Ole Miss. Certainly several more to come Friday and Saturday.]
[Saturday morning update: Welp, now we definitely know Fresno State's out. UCF's even closer to locked in. FAU, Troy, and San Jose State became bowl-eligible Friday -- we weren't counting on SJSU. Also some minor jostling in the conference ranks. We'll have a full revision of the bowl picture for you Sunday morning.]
[Saturday night: Throw out everything now. Full update still coming Sunday morning.
|Bowl||Matchup (Not always tied to conference standings)||Team||Team|
|1/6/2014||BCS National Championship (Pasadena)||BCS 1 vs. BCS 2||Alabama||Florida State|
|1/3/2014||Orange (Miami)||Florida State replacement vs. At-large 1||Clemson||Wisconsin|
|1/2/2014||Sugar (New Orleans)||Alabama replacement vs. At-large 2||Auburn||Fresno State|
|1/1/2014||Rose (Pasadena)||Pac-12 1 vs. Big Ten 1 (At-large 3)||Ohio State||Stanford|
|1/1/2014||Fiesta (Glendale, AZ)||Big 12 1 vs. At-large 4||Oklahoma State||UCF|
|1/5/2014||GoDaddy (Mobile, AL)||MAC 2 vs. Sun Belt 2||Bowling Green||Western Kentucky|
|1/4/2014||BBVA Compass (B'ham)||SEC 9 vs. AAC 5||Arkansas State*||Rutgers|
|1/3/2014||Cotton (Arlington)||Big 12 2 vs. SEC 3||Baylor||Texas A&M|
|1/1/2014||Capital One (Orlando)||Big Ten 2 vs. SEC 2||Michigan State||Missouri|
|1/1/2014||Gator (Jacksonville)||Big Ten 5 vs. SEC 6||Minnesota||Ole Miss|
|1/1/2014||Heart of Dallas||Big Ten 7 vs. C-USA||Maryland*||Rice|
|1/1/2014||Outback (Tampa)||Big Ten 3 vs. SEC 4||Nebraska||LSU|
|12/31/2013||Chick-fil-A (Atlanta)||ACC 2 vs. SEC 5||Duke||South Carolina|
|12/31/2013||Independence (Shreveport)||SEC 10 vs. ACC 7||Oregon State*||Georgia Tech|
|12/31/2013||Liberty (Memphis)||C-USA 1 vs. SEC 8||East Carolina||Vanderbilt|
|12/31/2013||Sun (El Paso)||ACC 4 vs. Pac-12 4||Virginia Tech||USC|
|12/30/2013||Alamo (San Antonio)||Big 12 3 vs. Pac-12 2||Oklahoma||Oregon|
|12/30/2013||Armed Forces (Ft. Worth)||MWC 3 vs. C-USA 3/Navy||San Diego State||Navy**|
|12/30/2013||Holiday (San Diego)||Pac-12 3 vs. Big 12 5||Arizona State||Kansas State|
|12/30/2013||Music City (Nashville)||ACC 6 vs. SEC 7||Pitt||Georgia|
|12/28/2013||Belk (Charlotte)||AAC 3 vs. ACC 5||Cincinnati||Miami|
|12/28/2013||Buffalo Wild Wings (PHX)||Big 12 4 vs. Big Ten 4||Texas||Iowa|
|12/28/2013||Pinstripe (New York)||Big 12 7 vs. AAC 4||Notre Dame*||Houston|
|12/28/2013||Russell Athletic (Orlando)||AAC 2 vs. ACC 3||Louisville||Boston College|
|12/27/2013||Fight Hunger (San Francisco)||Pac-12 6 vs. BYU/ACC 9||Washington||BYU**|
|12/27/2013||Military (Annapolis)||ACC 8 vs. C-USA 5||North Carolina||Middle Tennessee|
|12/27/2013||Texas (Houston)||Big 12 6 vs. Big Ten 6||Texas Tech||Michigan|
|12/26/2013||Little Caesars (Detroit)||MAC 1 vs. Big Ten 8||Northern Illinois||Washington State*|
|12/26/2013||Poinsettia (San Diego)||MWC 2 vs. Army||Boise State||Ball State*|
|12/24/2013||Hawaii||MWC 5 vs. C-USA 2||UNLV||Marshall|
|12/23/2013||Beef O'Brady's (St. Pete.)||AAC 6 vs. C-USA 4||Toledo*||North Texas|
|12/21/2013||Idaho Potato (Boise)||MAC 3 vs. MWC 6||Buffalo||Troy*|
|12/21/2013||Las Vegas||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 5||Utah State||UCLA|
|12/21/2013||New Mexico (Albuquerque)||MWC 4 vs. Pac-12 7||Colorado State||Arizona|
|12/21/2013||New Orleans||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA 6||UL Lafayette||Tulane|
*: Taking another conference's unfilled bid.
**: Already accepted.
Bold: Moving up.
Italics: Moving down.
Somebody's missing out
There are already 70 bowl-eligible teams with two weeks still to go. Every team that reaches six qualified wins until the end of the season will either fall short or crowd out somebody else. At the moment, I think Central Michigan, FAU, Ohio, and UTSA will fail to make it in, but that could change. (UTSA would likely be picked ahead of a couple of those at-large teams, but is still transitioning to FBS. All other six-win teams must be picked before the Roadrunners can go, without a successful NCAA appeal.)
The Sugar will get the first at-large pick if Alabama wins the SEC, since it will be giving up the No. 1 team to the BCS National Championship. Its choice likely comes down to Auburn, Missouri, or South Carolina, assuming it sticks with its SEC tie. I don't see any way Auburn doesn't take that spot, especially if UCF making it in means a South Carolina rematch to avoid. And Missouri fans will have just spent travel money getting to Georgia and come home disappointed, in this scenario.
The Orange gets the next two picks, due to giving up Florida State and having the first in the rotation after that. I still think Clemson's all but automatic, even with a loss to South Carolina next Saturday, due to the Orange's ACC ties and the Tigers' 10-win, top-10 season. Sticking with Wisconsin for the Orange's other pick, even though the Badgers still have a few more spots to make up (we're projecting them around No. 17 in the BCS this week, and they'll need to reach No. 14 over the next two).
Baylor, Michigan State, and Stanford would also have arguments, but the Bears have a smaller fan base, the Spartans will have just lost the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, and the Cardinal are on the other side of the country. Wisconsin offers a big fan base that's relatively close and a 10-win team that plays exciting football.
And if Fresno State continues on its current BCS heading, both it and UCF will make it in. I'm starting to think the Bulldogs, despite playing farther away and in an allegedly inferior conference, are the better pick. They've had three sellouts this year to UCF's one (albeit in a smaller stadium), tend to play wildly thrilling games, will have more wins, and have a more established, passionate fan base, as far as I can tell from afar. What do you think?
What's so very wrong here? Which games are you most looking forward to, whether here or still on the table?