As we crawl out of our bomb shelters following the toppling of Alabama, the BCS bowl projections have taken on a totally new look. This one should entice those who love college football history, the opportunity for embarrassment and a team winning their first national title ever.
Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs. Notre Dame – For college football traditionalists, this is a match made in Heaven. Sure, the Big Ten’s not polished overall, but the Cardiac Corn continues to come through with wins. This week, they reached back to 1982 for their luck against Penn State and have an easy final two games with Minnesota and Iowa.
Should Nebraska topple Wisconsin again in the Big Ten Championship Game, Pasadena hotels will fill up with red quickly for a second time this year.
Notre Dame’s win over Boston College wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, the Heisman committee sees quarterbacks as a far sexier pick than linebackers, even if they don’t win. That means out of two efficient teams, Kansas State gets the BCS title game nod assuming they don’t lose.
While Manti Te’o and the Irish still have a shot at showing up in Miami Gardens, putting Notre Dame’s defense up against Nebraska’s dynamic One-Half Offense would bring in the ratings and heaps of cash.
Orange Bowl: Rutgers vs. Florida State – A number of people are picking Louisville to represent the Big East, but since college football served up shenanigans on a silver platter this week, I’m going with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights and Cardinals meet in their final regular season game to determine the league champion and with all due respect to Teddy Bridgewater, the Scarlet Knights get their vitamin C this year.
Florida State hasn’t screwed this up…yet. The Seminoles are right on track for a conference title and BCS bid, but winning an ACC game is like walking a tightrope. They face Maryland in their final regular season conference battle which shouldn’t be a problem. Regardless of which team they’ll see in Charlotte, there’s always the possibility that the ACC performs the ceremonial shotgun blast to the foot.
Sugar Bowl: Clemson vs. Alabama – Dabo Swinney can’t buy a break. If Alabama doesn’t somehow magically find itself in the BCS title game, Clemson’s as good of a sacrificial lamb as any. The Tide may not be West Virginia circa 2011, but what they lack in scoring, they’ll make up for in pain. An angry Nick Saban is not someone I’d want to gameplan against.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. LSU – A rematch of the 2003 BCS National Championship Game, this is the best matchup the Fiesta Bowl brass could ever hope to “settle” for. LSU’s selection over a team like Georgia is that even if the Bulldogs lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, which school would bring more fans (money) and a better matchup heavily comes into play.
The nation would be interested in Oklahoma-Georgia, but they would find time to tune in for the Sooners battling the Tigers.
BCS Championship Game: Oregon vs. Kansas State – If this happens, and there’s a good chance it will, any final arguments about Bill Snyder being one of the best coaches in the sport’s history will hold absolutely no merit. With or without the Heisman, Collin Klein and the Wildcats have a very steady, efficient way of doing things. It reflects their head coach’s style.
Oregon, on the other hand, is very fast across the board. If any injuries to Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner aren’t too serious, the Ducks appear too loaded to stop. The Wildcats would no doubt put points on the board by hoarding some time of possession, but Oregon only need ten seconds for six points. They’ll let Kansas State try to sit on the ball, they don’t need it long.
Brandon Cavanaugh is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation.