BCS bowls features wide range of scenarios for Alabama, Auburn
The BCS is heading into its final act before college football switches over to a playoff.
Predictably, there's still plenty of unpredictability as the regular season winds down.
And, if it ends with the three undefeated teams at the top of the standings, like there is now, there's sure to be one more round of griping about how the system stinks.
There's a lot still to be decided over the next couple of weeks, but we're going to attempt to run down some of the possible scenarios.
This is supposed to be a Pick Six, but there are only five BCS bowls, so it's more like a Pick Five. With so many scenarios to go through, we needed the extra space anyway.
BCS Championship, Jan. 6, Pasadena, Calif. Alabama is in if it wins out and Florida State appears to have the edge over Ohio State, the only other undefeated team. That could change if quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended; voters might move the Buckeyes ahead of the Seminoles in the polls if that happens. Florida State still has to beat rival Florida and win the ACC Championship game. Ohio State ends the regular season with The Game against rival Michigan and will face Michigan State in the Big Ten championship. If FSU and Ohio State win out, the Seminoles will likely get the slot. Things could get really interesting if Alabama loses at Auburn or in the SEC title game. It could haywire if two or all the top three teams lose.
Rose Bowl, Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif. The Granddaddy of them all pits the Pac-12 champion against the Big Ten champ. The Pac-12 will be easy enough: With little chance at getting a team to the BCS title game, the winner between Arizona State and Stanford in the Dec. 7 conference championship will be in. The other side of the draw could get a little more complicated. Ohio State and Michigan State will play in the Big Ten championship next week. If Ohio State beats Michigan and wins the Big Ten title, it will still have a shot at the BCS championship game. But if the Buckeyes get bumped by Florida State, they would end up in the Rose Bowl. The Spartans could end up in the Rose Bowl if Ohio State does get into the title game, but might get bypassed for Wisconsin if they play poorly in the Big Ten title game.
Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz. The Fiesta features a team from the Big 12 against an at-large opponent. Oklahoma State is in control of the Big 12 after rolling over Baylor, but still has to face rival Oklahoma on Dec. 7. If they lose, Baylor could sneak in if it wins its final two games. The Fiesta Bowl is last in the selection pecking order and likely would end up with one of the BCS busters as its at-large team. Northern Illinois is currently the big buster at No. 14 in the standings and in good position with Fresno State's loss to San Jose State on Friday. If there is no BCS buster, Central Florida could end up here.
Orange Bowl, Jan. 3, Miami Gardens, Fla. The Orange Bowl has an ACC tie-in and gets the first pick for an at-large team this season. If Florida State plays for the national championship, the Orange would get two picks, with Clemson as a most likely replacement for the Seminoles from the ACC. The at-large would likely go to a Big Ten team, either Ohio State, Michigan State or Wisconsin, depending on what happens in the conference championship game. Florida State could end up in the Orange if it loses to Florida but still wins the ACC title game.
Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, New Orleans. If Alabama gets into the national championship game, the Sugar will have to take a replacement team from the SEC, most likely Auburn or Missouri. The second half of the Sugar draw will be an at-large team and the bowl has the second pick behind the Orange. Most projections have that going to Central Florida, the expected ACC champion, because it would make sense geographically over any BCS buster. With no buster, the Sugar Bowl could turn to Baylor if the Bears end up as the Big 12 runner-up, sending Central Florida to the Fiesta Bowl.