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Updated 2013 bowl projections, Week 8: LSU to BCS, Bama-Oregon still on

Predictions for all 35 bowl games, including the Tigers' charge toward New Orleans.

Stacy Revere

Two SEC teams are probably going to the BCS. It's happened seven years in a row now. The conference's champion has an excellent chance at the national championship, and its second most desirable team should land in the Sugar Bowl, a traditional conference tie. These are the things we know.

But which SEC team? The entire East is in disarray, with Georgia banged up, Florida still lacking offense, Missouri down its quarterback, and South Carolina only now teasing its full potential. Texas A&M still doesn't have much of a defense.

Which leaves LSU, and once you look again, that's not bad at all. The Tigers could still finish with just two losses, to Alabama and a healthy Georgia, both on the road. (Of course, a win over Alabama on November 9 is still on the table.) Should the Aggies beat everyone else in their way except LSU and also reach 10-2, Johnny Manziel's last college game could make for a tempting Sugar pick, but I have more confidence in the Tigers right now.

So how about a rematch of one of last year's best bowl games, this time with even bigger stakes?

Bowl Matchup (Not always based on standings) Team Team
1/6/2014 BCS National Championship (Pasadena) BCS 1 vs. BCS 2 Alabama, 13-0 Oregon, 13-0
1/3/2014 Orange (Miami) ACC 1 vs. At-large 1 Florida State, 12-1 Louisville, 12-0*
1/2/2014 Sugar (New Orleans) SEC 1 vs. At-large 2 LSU, 10-2**** Clemson, 10-2
1/1/2014 Rose (Pasadena) Pac-12 1 vs. Big Ten 1 (At-large 3) Ohio State, 13-0 Stanford, 10-2
1/1/2014 Fiesta (Glendale, AZ) Big 12 1 vs. At-large 4 Baylor, 11-1 Northern Illinois, 13-0*****
1/5/2014 GoDaddy (Mobile, AL) MAC 2 vs. Sun Belt 2 Ball State Western Kentucky
1/4/2014 BBVA Compass (B'ham) SEC 9 vs. AAC 5 Texas State** Cincinnati
1/3/2014 Cotton (Arlington) Big 12 2 vs. SEC 3 Oklahoma South Carolina
1/1/2014 Capital One (Orlando) Big Ten 2 vs. SEC 2 Michigan State Texas A&M***
1/1/2014 Gator (Jacksonville) Big Ten 4 vs. SEC 6 Nebraska Missouri
1/1/2014 Heart of Dallas Big Ten 7 vs. Big 12 8 Iowa Notre Dame**
1/1/2014 Outback (Tampa) Big Ten 3 vs. SEC 4 Wisconsin Florida
12/31/2013 Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) ACC 2 vs. SEC 5 Virginia Tech Georgia
12/31/2013 Independence (Shreveport) SEC 10 vs. ACC 7 Arizona** Georgia Tech
12/31/2013 Liberty (Memphis) C-USA 1 vs. SEC 8 Marshall Ole Miss
12/31/2013 Sun (El Paso) ACC 4 vs. Pac-12 4 Maryland Washington
12/30/2013 Alamo (San Antonio) Big 12 3 vs. Pac-12 2 Oklahoma State UCLA
12/30/2013 Armed Forces (Ft. Worth) MWC 3 vs. C-USA 3/Navy Wyoming Navy
12/30/2013 Holiday (San Diego) Pac-12 3 vs. Big 12 5 Arizona State Texas Tech
12/30/2013 Music City (Nashville) ACC 6 vs. SEC 7 Boston College Auburn
12/28/2013 Belk (Charlotte) AAC 3 vs. ACC 5 Houston Pitt
12/28/2013 Buffalo Wild Wings (PHX) Big 12 4 vs. Big Ten 5 Texas Northwestern
12/28/2013 Pinstripe (New York) Big 12 7 vs. AAC 4 Buffalo** Rutgers
12/28/2013 Russell Athletic (Orlando) AAC 2 vs. ACC 3 UCF Miami
12/27/2013 Kraft (San Francisco) Pac-12 6 vs. BYU/ACC 9 USC BYU
12/27/2013 Military (Annapolis) ACC 8 vs. C-USA 5 Toledo** Rice
12/27/2013 Texas (Houston) Big 12 6 vs. Big Ten 6 TCU Michigan
12/26/2013 Little Caesars (Detroit) MAC 1 vs. Big Ten 8 Bowling Green Indiana
12/26/2013 Poinsettia (San Diego) MWC 2 vs. Army Boise State Middle Tennessee**
12/24/2013 Hawaii MWC 5 vs. C-USA 2 San Diego State East Carolina
12/23/2013 Beef O'Brady's (St. Pete.) AAC 6 vs. C-USA 4 Arkansas State** North Texas
12/21/2013 Idaho Potato (Boise) MAC 3 vs. MWC 6 Ohio Troy**
12/21/2013 Las Vegas MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 5 Fresno State Utah
12/21/2013 New Mexico (Albuquerque) MWC 4 vs. Pac-12 7 Utah State Oregon State
12/21/2013 New Orleans Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA 6 Louisiana-Lafayette Tulane

* The American champion isn't technically an at-large, but for bowl-selection purposes, it's basically an AQ at-large.

** Filling in for another conference that couldn't fill all its slots.

*** Edit: Strange seeing a West team in Florida and an East team in the Cotton? After going back and forth on this: nobody's passing up Johnny Manziel's last game, no matter the geography.

**** To answer one frequent question: basically, I see Florida and South Carolina beating everyone left on their schedules -- except one will lose to the other, and the other will lose the SEC title game. If you think a two-loss South Carolina makes for a better Sugar pick than a two-loss LSU, you might be right! A two-loss Texas A&M is sounding like a better and better Sugar pick to me, actually.

***** Regarding the high number of undefeated teams: I know. It's a lot. There have been this many before, though. Five unbeaten teams entered bowl season in 2009. All five have obvious potential losses remaining.

BCS bowls

Alabama and Oregon continue to look more and more like national title teams, and we could be about to get the game that's been teased for something like four years now.

Assuming Alabama's still ranked No. 1, that would give the Sugar the next pick. We're putting LSU there for now.

The Rose would next get its pick to pair with Big Ten champion Ohio State*, and while Utah just knocked luster off of Stanford, the Cardinal could still finish with only losses on the road to the Utes and against No. 2 Oregon. Plus, the Rose Bowl is likely hoping for a traditional Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. Can't go and bring in a Big 12 team and call it traditional.

* But I'm really, really tempted to have Michigan State beating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. Maybe next week. What do you think about that?

The Orange is up next, and would have its choice of Louisville, Northern Illinois (if the Huskies go unbeaten, they're back, since they're likely already within striking distance of that No. 12 BCS spot they'll need*), or another at-large. The Cardinals will boast potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick Teddy Bridgewater and a decent fanbase, plus the Orange (which will essentially be owned by the ACC moving forward) could showcase two 2014 ACC teams. Since it won't likely go for a rematch game, and only two teams per conference can make the BCS, there aren't many other options unless a Big Ten team like Wisconsin or Michigan State runs the table or someone like Oklahoma can reach 10 or 11 wins.

Hey, we finally joined Facebook!

* Also, I have fellow undefeated mid-major Fresno State losing at Wyoming.

Which means the Sugar's either getting Louisville or an at-large. In addition to those potential at-large teams mentioned above, Clemson has virtually already locked up at least 10 wins. Close losses to Florida State and South Carolina would still mean a successful season. The Tigers are the best bet. And last year's LSU-Clemson Chick-fil-A Bowl was awesome.

That leaves the Fiesta with a ratings and attendance dud, but still a pretty good game. If Baylor wins the Big 12 and NIU finishes in the top 14, this is the Fiesta Bowl.

Major changes

Since last time, I've swapped Florida State and Clemson, since the Noles have looked like the less-beatable team.

Among the other changes, LSU's up, USC's no longer a pungent dead fish, Texas is back in, Boston College is storming up the ACC ranks, Iowa joins us, Indiana's back, wounded Georgia tumbles from the Sugar, Utah State plummets after losing quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the year, and Oklahoma's out of the BCS for now -- until it remembers how to use Blake Bell, at least.

Your turn

What do we think?

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