We will once again go through the motions of making the selections as if the season ended today, using the BCS rankings as a tiebreaker to determine conference champions. The highest-ranked team in each conference will be selected as the conference champion.
Step 1: BCS Championship Game
The first thing that happens is that Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS rankings are selected to play in the BCS Championship Game. As of now, that would be LSU and Alabama. But we'll again use some common sense for this exercise and go with LSU (No. 1) and Oklahoma State (No. 3), since LSU and Alabama play each other on Saturday.
- LSU to the BCS Championship Game.
- Oklahoma State to the BCS Championship Game.
Step 2: Conference Champions
Next, all of the conference champions are assigned to the bowls with automatic tie-ins.
The Big Ten race is crazy right now. Even though Nebraska and Michigan are rated higher in the BCS standings, Penn State is the only team that is unbeaten within the conference. So the Nittany Lions will get the nod for the Big Ten... for now.
Joe Pa's team is currently in control of the Leaders Division, but PSU faces a brutal end to their schedule. The Nittany Lions host Nebraska before going on trips to Madison and to the Horseshoe. If Penn State drops two of those while Wisconsin wins out, then the Badgers will win the division. The Legends Division has a log jam at the top with Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State all with just one conference loss.
Even with Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech, Clemson still has the best record in the ACC and is the highest-ranked ACC team in the BCS, one spot ahead of Virginia Tech. So the Tigers will get the benefit of the doubt for now.
In the Pac-12, Oregon's visit to Stanford on November 12th looks like it will determine the North Division, likely for a chance to play Arizona State for the conference championship. Arizona State and UCLA play this weekend, and the winner almost certainly wins the South Division.
As of now, Cincinnati would receive the Big East's bid to the BCS. The Bearcats remain the only team in the league without a conference loss. The Big East does not have a conference tie-in.
- Stanford to the Rose Bowl.
- Penn State to the Rose Bowl.
- Clemson to the Orange Bowl.
Step 3: Replacement Picks
The two bowl games that lost their automatic tie-ins to the BCS Championship Game get to select a "replacement pick" prior to any other selections being made. The bowl that lost the No. 1 team gets to choose first. Right now, that would be the Sugar Bowl, and selecting Alabama is an easy choice.
The Fiesta Bowl would choose next. The easy choice seems to be Oklahoma as a Big 12 representative that is ranked sixth in the BCS standings.
- Alabama to the Sugar Bowl.
- Oklahoma to the Fiesta Bowl.
Step 4: Final Selections
Next, the bowls select teams in a pre-determined order that rotates annually. This year, the bowls will select as follows: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.
The Fiesta is up first and must choose an opponent for Oklahoma. I see the Fiesta selecting the Oregon Ducks.
Next, the Sugar Bowl must choose an opponent for Alabama. Its decision will be an interesting one.
Currently, Boise State is ranked fifth. If Boise State were to finish fourth or higher in the BCS standings, the Broncos would be assured a spot in a BCS bowl game. But as things stand now, the Sugar Bowl could select another team in their place.
A second B1G team, especially with big fan bases and big television draws such as Nebraska or Michigan, could potentially get the nod instead of Boise.
But, for now, we'll assume the Sugar would select Boise State to face Alabama.
That will then send Cincinnati to the Orange Bowl to face Clemson.
- Oregon to the Fiesta Bowl.
- Boise State to the Sugar Bowl.
- Cincinnati to the Orange Bowl.
CBR Official BCS Bowl Game Projections
*BCS Championship Game: LSU Tigers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
*Rose Bowl: Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Stanford Cardinal
*Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Boise State Broncos
*Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
*Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oregon Ducks