Action Jackson Preview, Week 13 (BCS Scenarios)
Thanksgiving weekend has always been my favorite week of pure college football, long before I became a Golden Bear fan. The weather still has the last crisps of fall before the cold winter months set in. And the most beautiful part is that only one team (Ohio State) has secured a BCS bid. We have eleven spots up for grabs!
This week the answers start to take formation though; we might be very close to figuring out who belongs and who doesn’t, as the nightmare scenarios for a national title game for FOX start emerging out of the woodworks (West Virginia-Kansas and Ohio State-Missouri are improbable but possible scenarios). Despite the misery of the Bears, as a college football fan, I’ve really really enjoyed this season. Watching a college football team plod to 13-0 isn’t terribly fun, and seeing fantastically ridiculous scenarios like this one play out. Here are the BCS implications and predictions (and I predict all my predictions will be wrong).
SEC: LSU of course has the prettiest road, and can probably clinch their ticket to the Superdome (for at least the Sugar Bowl) with a win on Friday at Arkansas, and can lock up their date in the Title game by beating the SEC East champ. Tennessee controls their destiny–win out, and they’re going to the BCS party, maybe the Orange, most likely the Fiesta. Another loss sends them to a New Year’s Bowl. Georgia needs to hope Kentucky beats up the Vols to get into the SEC title game, and they have to win out and hope for some major help above them to get to the title game.
Yet even if Tennesse doesn’t make it, Georgia might be better off not getting pounded into the ground by LSU. Because, horrifyingly enough, a third loss for the Bulldogs paves the way for…
…Florida, amazingly still has a sliver of a chance at the Sugar Bowl if they beat the Seminoles, but they’re going to have to hope (1) Tennessee loses at Kentucky, (2) Georgia loses the SEC Championship game, and probably (3) Georgia loses at Georgia Tech. I can certainly see (1) or (2) happening, but (3)? Oh wait, this is the season where nothing that’s supposed to happen happens. Start Gator chomping, Swamp faithful.
BCS qualifiers: LSU (title game), Georgia (Sugar)
Big 12: Behind LSU stands the showdown of Free Mason states. Oklahoma’s fall to the Leach boys now puts the Kansas-Missouri a showdown for the title game: The winner is almost guaranteed an at-large bid–win the Big 12 Championship Game against either Oklahoma (who has to beat Oklahoma State), or Texas (needing an Oklahoma loss to leapfrog them) and get ready for New Orleans. And you know FOX has been waiting all year to pump up that Missouri-LSU national title game.
The loser of next week’s showdown is still in pretty good shape to make the BCS though, as long as the winner beats off the Big 12 South champ. There won’t be much of a precipitous fall for either team as long as the game is not a rout, and it’s either. The road for Oklahoma and Texas is simple: Win out, with the Longhorns needing a Sooner collapse against their State rivals. However, neither team looks especially likely to pull off anything but the Cotton Bowl. God, championship games are stupid.
BCS qualifiers: Kansas, Missouri (winner in the title game, loser in the Fiesta)
The Big East can secure their bid on Saturday morning in the West Virginia-UConn game. West Virginia wins one more and they secure a BCS bid. If they win out, they have to hope the Kansas-Missouri winner LOSES to Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 title game, OR LSU loses one more. Otherwise, they can probably pack for Miami. If UConn pulls off the upset in Morgantown, they go to the Orange Bowl, and WV probably packs for El Paso. Have fun with that…UCLA? I dunno who goes here.
BCS Qualifier: West Virginia (Orange).
In the Pac-10, the winner of Arizona State-USC has the inside track for at least the Rose Bowl; UCLA is eliminated with an Arizona State win, a devastated Oregon can retake control of their destiny with a USC win–and of course Oregon and UCLA square off this Saturday.
Of all the teams, the Sun Devils seem to be in the best shape; even a loss against USC still leaves them in very good shape for a BCS bowl by winning the Territorial Cup, and a win over the Trojans leapfrogs them over the Buckeyes and into the national title discussion. However, they will need at least three teams above them–Kansas, LSU, West Virginia, Missouri–to go down. Not likely at all, but you never know.
The Trojans need one more Oregon loss to take control of their Pac-10 destiny; win out and they’re heading back to the Rose Bowl. The enfeebled Ducks need Arizona State to lose to get to the Rose Bowl, but even winning out keeps them alive for an at-large bid. Unfortunately, now down to only Jonathan Stewart, it’s going to be tough for that offense to move the ball at UCLA and Oregon State, both of whom will present severe difficulties for a worn down defense and a now immobile offense. And the Bruins–the fucking Bruins–need to win out and the Sun Devils to collapse to get to the Rose Bowl. Yes, a 7-5 Bruins team can feasibly win the Pac-10. That scenario will probably make everyone at Bruins Nation start to uncontrollably sob.
BCS: USC (Rose), Arizona State (Fiesta)
The ACC, thankfully, has almost no shot at New Orleans (now watch seven BCS teams drop games and plop up Virginia Tech). The Virginia Tech-Virginia winner plays Boston College for a shot at the Orange Bowl. In any case I’m completely ignoring the ACC, since our likely Emerald Bowl opponent will almost certainly not be on TV.
BCS: Virginia Tech (Orange)
Elsewhere: Looming on the outside is Hawaii, whose date with the BCS seems closer than ever. At 15th, the Rainbows are coming closer to controlling their own fate by winning out against Boise State and Washington. With Virginia-Virginia Tech dueling and USC-ASU also battling, the losers likely fall below them and pave the way for Hawaii to jump into the BCS race, most likely the Sugar or the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State has faint hopes if they beat Hawaii, but they’re going to have to hope for epic collapse above them. Teams that would really love to see Hawaii fall? Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Oregon.
BCS: Hawaii (Sugar)
The Big Ten is done. Ohio State will be locked in for the Rose Bowl. I don’t really see the Buckeyes making it back to the title game barring drastic collapse; Arizona State, Georgia, Virginia Tech or USC will probably leapfrog them if other teams fall.
Still nearly 20 teams vying for 11 spots. Commence the bloodbath.
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