Yesterday we took the time to give our conference predictions and today, as we're one step closer to kicking off this season's Crystal Ball Run, now is the time to drop our BCS Predictions. Sure, you'll get a BCS Championship Game but the real fun in doing this is when I'm sweating over a pool of teams trying to slot them into their at-large bids while satisfying the selection order, giving bowls what they want and making it all work with my aforementioned conference picks.
With these picks you're going to get all of those elements taken into account, the Big East Champ isn't going to the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl is definitely picking all Pac-12 and all Big Ten for their game this year and there will be some non-Automatic Qualifier who plays in the Sugar Bowl this season.
Why the Sugar Bowl? They're the team that gets second pick and with the Fiesta picking first, the Pac-12 and Big XII having some solid ball clubs you can expect they'll go big fanbase over lesser traveling non-BCS squad.
Take in these selections folks. They're definitely 100% accurate in terms of their possibility this season. Don't like them? You're crazy, seriously, but register for the In The Bleachers Bowl Pick'em Pool as we watch these picks slowly come to fruition.
Ah, before we start here is the process for picking the games folks. Read it, learn it, before you get on the twitter or comments and wonder why team so and so is where they are over some squad you like more. Between the conference champion picks that I made I also took the at-large pool to include Nebraska, Ohio State, LSU, Arkansas, UGA, South Carolina, Oregon, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, TCU, Boise State and Houston.
We'll kick it off with the Orange Bowl. The bowl that has consistently had some of the less than stadium packing match ups gets a sort of good match up, kind of?
Florida State vs South Florida
The Orange has got the last pick in the selection process, that means they get either the lowest rated or least attractive "non-slotted" team. So while the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and ACC all have "homes" for their champion the Big East champ is relatively homeless and thus ends up being selected by how "attractive" they are to a game. Seeing as I picked USF to get it together and win the league, probably with a "not Top 10" record, they are the clear winner of the "team no one else really wants to take" award.
This isn't all bad though, right?
Sure from the national perspective it isn't great. Hell Florida State fans definitely don't like playing USF but for the Orange Bowl? This is a pretty much win scenario. Two Florida teams that have an opportunity to travel to the game as opposed to Cincinnati or Stanford that do nothing for your hotel, tourist and ticket sales. Florida State getting back to their first BCS Bowl since the 2005 Orange Bowl. For USF you've got a school's first BCS appearance, a first appearance at a location that is around five hours away from their hub.
The Rose Bowl gets in this slot and that is just filling in the spaces to a point.
Arizona State vs Ohio State
The Sun Devils get the pick by way of beating Oregon in a rematch during the Pac-12 Championship. Probably my most risky pick in the conference championships but I think that defense, with another look at the Ducks has a solid chance to solve the riddle. On the other side you'll get Ohio State, no they're not the Big Ten Champs for me but they'll get the nod over Nebraska for a rematch of the 1997 game in Pasadena.
As a game the Rose Bowl always sells and this traditional match up will be no different, getting a chance to show clips of the '97 game will get the Rose Bowl giddy. They lucked out a year ago getting TCU in the first year of their non-AQ obligation and while the game was a success don't think they'll be doing the whole "breaking tradition" thing again any time soon.
In the Sugar Bowlyou'll get your swarming fanbase thanks to the SEC, but, with the second pick in the selection process they'll be choosing from a non-SEC pool of replacements and with Ohio State gone the Big Ten is off the table.
Alabama vs Boise State
The Tide gets their second BCS match up against a non-AQ team in four years and we all know how that went against the Utes. Expect this time to go a little bit different as Nick Saban's guys aren't the "disappointed" and "disinterested" 12-1 group that we saw in 2008. On the other side you'll see a very focused Boise State and yes, I'll be honest, I wrestled with this pick a lot. Given my belief in TCU taking a step back and lack of faith that Houston's schedule affords them the "upward mobility" required to sneak into the Top 16 ahead of BSU there was really only one pick.
Alabama will flood NOLA, this is a game that will get sold as old vs new as one of college football's ultimate "haves" takes on one of the "little guys" that so many people have grown to love. It sells itself both locally from the travel standpoint and nationally for the small screen with the different audiences that will be pulled into the story.
With the first pick the Fiesta Bowl has a mighty choice that will set the tone for all those games mentioned above. They'll have their choice of a Pac-12 runner up, a Virginia Tech team that may well be sitting at 12-1 after losing to Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, a one or two loss SEC team out of the Sakerlina, UGA, LSU or Arkansas ranks or an undefeated Houston team.
Texas A&M vs Notre Dame
At 10-2 the Irish will get the nod though. What? Why? They're attractive people.
The Irish have a good team and while the feelings of "they're overrated" in recent years have been backed up with their on the field play they are also clouding people's evaluation of the team entering the 2011 season. Bob Diaco is putting together a defense that does their job and they've got a bonafide star in Manti Te'o swallowing up ball carriers on that side of the ball. In Brian Kelly you've got a coach that manufactures points and yards and with Michael Floyd as his target and decoy Dayne Crist has a chance to be incredibly successful.
How the Aggies get here is interesting. There are plenty of good teams in the Big XII for the conference to pick form and with Oklahoma State likely finishing right in the mix they're a tempting choice. aTm beats them out to replace Oklahoma here and they finally get a taste of the BCS life for the first time since the 1998 Sugar Bowl.
If you've read along this far then you've got an understanding of who will be filling the slots in the BCS Championship Game. No? I'll spell it out for you...
Wisconsin vs Oklahoma
Yes, that's right, All Russell Wilson Everything finds its way into a BCS Championship game. Sure, the SEC crowd is going to tell me how no Big Ten team will ever go over an SEC team and how tough the weekly grind in the SEC will give them higher rankings. To that I say, YOU'RE RIGHT. I absolutely believe you and agree 100%. That's why I think Bama drops a game along the way. That's why I think in the SEC West you end up with a situation very similar to the Big Twelve South in 2008.
In Oklahoma you've got a team that will be favored in just about every game they play and a coach that held it together a year ago in a year no one was really sure what they'd do. This year the Sooners are embracing the headlines, they're bellied up to the table and are ready to eat. Watch for them to be the first wire to wire number one team since the Trojans in 2004.
Some folks will be so butthurt, the SEC doesn't get their obligatory two teams and there will be a couple teams that probably deserve to go who are left out. Sucks to be them.