Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Slow week means little change in bowl projections

A slow week in college football, with few upsets, means not many changes in this week's bowl projections. The BCS projections stayed the same. Oklahoma State asserted itself at Texas Tech and remains the favorite in the Big 12. Both Baylor and Oklahoma have to go through Stillwater.

South Carolina still projects as the only SEC team to have fewer than three losses and the choice to replace Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. That bowl could have a problem if the Orange uses its choice on someone like Wisconsin or Oklahoma. The Sugar would then either get UCF, which has already played the Gamecocks, or Fresno State, which is a bad fit geographically.

Ohio State looks to be on a collision course with Michigan State for the Big Ten title game. I have had Wisconsin as a BCS at-large team, but if Sparty were to win the league, Ohio State would be one of those rare teams that would be attractive to a BCS bowl even though its coming off a league championship game loss. Few teams fill a stadium like Ohio State.

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: Clemson vs Oklahoma State
Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs Oklahoma
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn vs UCF

Note that I have UCF instead of either Fresno State or Northern Illinois, both of which are higher ranked in the current BCS. That's the kind of strength of schedule selection I expect the committee to try to make. Obviously, we won't know until they make one.

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