Two in, eight to go to complete the BCS bowls.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Technically, one only team _ Louisville _ has stamped its BCS bowl ticket. The other one, Notre Dame, isn’t official yet. But we know the Irish, in the clubhouse as the No. 1 team in the BCS standing, will play in the national title game on Jan. 7.
Nothing else will be known until Saturday, but here’s how it might play out:
The Rose will gets its traditional matchup of Big Ten (Nebraska or Wisconsin) against Pac-12 (Stanford or UCLA).
The Fiesta will get the Big 12 champion (Kansas State or Oklahoma) against an at-large selection.
The Sugar won’t get its SEC champion because the winner of Saturday’s Alabama-Georgia game will face Notre Dame. But there’s a nice alternative here for the Sugar Bowl, Florida, which figures to jump to No. 3 in the final BCS standing ahead of the SEC title game loser. This makes Florida an automatic at-large selection under BCS rules.
The Orange Bowl will take the ACC champion (Florida State or Georgia Tech). Seven of the 10 teams are identified. Three bowls need to be filled, and the selection order is Fiesta, Sugar and Orange.
The Fiesta takes Oregon from the Pac-12 and the Ducks-Big 12 matchup is ideal for the Western bowl. The Sugar will choose between Big East champion Louisville and at-large team. Oklahoma is attractive here.
That leaves the Orange Bowl with Louisville to meet the ACC champion.
But things could change, beginning with tonight’s MAC championship game between Northern Illinois and Kent State. The Golden Flashes are No. 17 in the BCS standing and under BCS rules, if they get to No. 16 and finish ahead of a champion from an automatic qualifying conference a BCS bid is theirs. Kent and NIU entered the week ahead of Louisville.
If Kent wins tonight it could finish in the top 16 and ahead of the Cardinals. The Flashes’ spot would come at the expense of an at-large team, probably the at-large from the Big 12. If Kansas State wins the Big 12, Oklahoma could be left out. If the Sooners beat TCU and K-State loses to Texas – and Kent wins _ the Wildcats likely would be out of the BCS.
In that case, Big 12 bowl projections scramble.
What would the Cotton do? Take the second Big 12 team _ K-State _ or Texas or Oklahoma State? With two teams in BCS bowls, there are enough bowls for all nine eligible teams in the Big 12. But if the league just has one in the BCS, a Big 12 team _ Iowa State perhaps _ would have to look outside the conference contracts for a bowl.
BCS title game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose: Nebraska vs. Stanford
Fiesta: Kansas State vs. Oregon
Sugar: Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange: Florida State vs. Louisville
BCS PROJECTION (if Kent State qualifies)
Sugar: Florida vs. Louisville
Orange: Florida State vs. Kent State