The college football regular season has come and gone, and for the final time the BCS will decide five of the most exciting bowl games. To determine who will be in which games, I will break it down into two categories, the automatic qualifiers and the potential at-large bids.
Automatics Qualifiers (and why):
- Florida State (ACC Champion)
- Auburn (SEC Champion)
- Michigan State (Big Ten Champion)
- Baylor (Big 12 Champion)
- Stanford (Pac-12 Champion)
- University of Central Florida (AAC Champion [yes this conference still gets an automatic bid])
- Alabama (Will be ranked in final BCS top 4)
Potential At-Large Bid (Teams that have at least 9 wins and are ranked in BCS Top 14)
*note that only 2 teams per conference can receive BCS bids, that is why there are no SEC teams on this list (Auburn & Alabama have secured those spots)
- Ohio State (Could end up as a automatic bid in final BCS rankings Top 4)
- Oklahoma State
- Arizona State
The BCS games that are already locked up:
BCS National Championship Game: #1 Florida State (ACC) vs. #2 Auburn (SEC)
FSU and Auburn will undoubtedly be #1 & #2 in the final BCS rankings and thus will play for the national title, can Auburn continue the SEC champion streak?
Rose Bowl: Michigan State (Big 10) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)
This is the only BCS bowl game where both slots can be filled automatically by conference winners. With neither Michigan State or Stanford playing for the national championship game, this bowl was locked up as soon Michigan State upset Ohio State on Saturday.
What the rest of the BCS will look like:
*An important note to highlight is that the at-large order this year will go:
- Orange Bowl (Because it lost its automatic bid #1 Florida State to the Nat’l Title Game)
- Sugar Bowl (Because it lost its automatic bid #2 Auburn to the Nat’l Title Game)
- Orange Bowl
- Sugar Bowl
- Fiesta Bowl
*A second important note to highlight is despite the fact that the Orange Bowl has the first selection, it can not take a replacement from the same conference that has an automatic birth to the Sugar Bowl, a SEC team (a.k.a. Alabama).
Orange Bowl: Ohio State (Big 10) vs. Clemson (ACC)
With Alabama likely out of the picture (, these are the best two teams that the Orange Bowl could select. Ohio State is a one-loss team and a program that both travels well and is nationally regarded. Clemson is a team that has a tie to the Orange Bowl as an ACC team, is geographically close, and arguably the best team not already tied to a bowl.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama (SEC) vs. Oregon (Pac-12)
The Sugar Bowl gets lucky that it gets to hold on to Alabama and thus gets to pick the final at-large team which could be Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, or Arizona State. It comes down to Oregon and Oklahoma (since Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State Saturday in the Bedlam Series). Though no one would be surprised if Oklahoma got this spot (Oklahoma is significantly closer geographically to Louisiana than Oregon), Oregon is a far “sexier team” and one that many people believed would be in a bowl game vs. Alabama, they just thought it would be the BCS Nat’l Championship. The Sugar Bowl might have a few less fans travel from Oregon, but this game would likely pull better on television as people would want to see Oregon’s high flying offense against the stout Alabama defense of Nick Saban.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (Big 12) vs. UCF (AAC)
The Fiesta Bowl gets stuck with the worst BCS Bowl. Baylor gets the automatic bid the fiesta bowl as the Big 12 Champion. UCF automatically qualifies for a BCS bowl (no one is really sure why this is a thing) and the Fiesta Bowl is stuck with them. Maybe UCF will make this an exciting game, who really knows.
That will be the BCS this bowl season. Though there will still be some excellent bowls outside like the Cotton Bowl which could draw a fantastic match up of South Carolina/Missouri vs. Oklahoma/Oklahoma Sate.