The Gamecocks take over the Tigers spot as the replacement for Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The current projection is that they will be the only team from the SEC available with fewer than three losses (sorry Auburn fans -- I don't have the same level of confidence in your team that you do. Yet). The problem is trying to find a matchup for USC-East that works. The Gamecocks played both UCF (the projected AAC champ) and Clemson (projected to be BCS-eligible) in the regular season.
There is a never-before-used clause in the BCS bowl selection rules that states that after the bowls have picked their teams, the matchups can be adjusted to deal with things like regular season rematches.
It's for this reason that UCF is paired with Florida State in the Orange Bowl. UCF probably wouldn't be the first choice of the bowl, which might prefer a Big Ten or Big 12 team, but wouldn't be a bad choice either. That would provide the Sugar with a team that better suits them as well. In this case, I have Wisconsin, however a Big 12 team could go there as well. Fresno State then ends up in the Fiesta Bowl.
If we had a playoff this year:
This section of the blog describes what things might look like if the new playoff system were in effect this year. It's different than the regular bowl projections in that it is based on current data. Beginning next year, a selection committee will not only select and seed a playoff, but also put together matchups for the other four bowls in the playoff rotation. The five major conference champions are all automatically placed in one of those six bowls. The American conference is not part of that group. The highest rated team from outside those leagues (as determined by the selection committee) is also guaranteed a spot.
If a playoff started today, it would probably look like this:
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs No. 4 Ohio State
Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oregon vs No. 3 Florida State
Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Missouri
Orange Bowl: Miami vs Auburn
Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs Oklahoma
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs UCF