This weekend brought some change to college football. While the Oregon Ducks and TCU Horned Frogs rolled and the Auburn Tigers survived, the LSU Tigers and Boise State Broncos fell, shaking up the top of the BCS standings. Between that and the conference races wrapping up, the BCS picture is about as clear as it gets this time of year, and with that in mind, the BCS rankings for Week 14 were not hard to project.
Unless Auburn and Oregon both lose this week, I don't see any real questions arising that can't be forecast after tonight. I will admit a bit of a whim with Nebraska forecast to win the Big 12.
Championship Game Race
Oregon and Auburn are on the road to the BCS Championship Game, with TCU waiting as the clear heir apparent if one should crash next week. If both crash, one should still be ahead of any other comer. These three teams are the championship race. The only difference from last week is that Boise State and LSU are not in the picture.
Then comes the first big question for this week.
Who Is No. 4?
If the fourth-ranked team in the final BCS standings is from one of the six automatic qualifying conferences they will be guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl. This is the Stanford Cardinal's best shot at securing a BCS bowl. The Wisconsin Badgers could beat them to the No. 4 spot, securing the Big Ten title in the process.
Which brings us to the next big question...
Who Will Win The Big 10?
For both of these questions this week's standings are an indication of where these teams stand going into next week's rankings that count. A gap more than 0.0200 in the average is very unlikely to close with a bye, and none of these teams have a game remaining.
There is one question that has an impact this week.
Who Will Win The Big 12 South?
The Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Texas A&M Aggies are in a three way tie in the Big 12 South. The tiebreaker falls all the way to the BCS standings. (Again, if you remember 2008.) This time, if the top two teams are adjacent head to head will trump the standings. I expect Oklahoma to be 11th, Oklahoma State 12th, and Texas A&M 18th. Oklahoma wins the head-to-head with Oklahoma State, and would then face the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
If Oklahoma State only falls to 10th, with Michigan State 11th and Oklahoma 12th, then Oklahoma State would face Nebraska.
Can Boise State Still Be Selected For A BCS Bowl?
Unless they lose to Utah State next week, Boise State will be eligible for a BCS bowl, because the Broncos will be in the top 14 of the final BCS standings. There is no way for them to secure a guaranteed spot, though, so they will rely on the kindness of BCS bowl officials. Their history with the Fiesta Bowl could raise some interest, but unfortunately for Boise State, the Fiesta Bowl has the last pick and might be forced to take the Connecticut Huskies or Stanford instead.
So the answer is yes, Boise State can make it to a BCS bowl -- but it almost certainly won't. If Wisconsin passes Stanford tonight Boise State's chances increase significantly. From near zero to a dozen or so percentage points is pretty significant, after all.
I will have commentary on the answers to these questions after the BCS standings are released.
Who Will Be BCS Eligible?
The Virginia Tech Hokies would likely move into the top 14 with a win next week, and the Big 12 runner up would likely fall out. This means that the 15th team this week could move up to 14th next week if Virginia Tech loses. If Virginia Tech is 15th, then the 16th team has a chance.
This will likely be either Alabama or Nevada, and I don't see either being selected for a BCS bowl in any event.