Ask any coach what the preseason goal is and he will almost always say to win a conference championship.
If you ever do that then there’s a good chance you’ll be playing in a BCS Bowl. Well, if you are in a BCS conference … or you are Boise State.
Four weeks into the season we have already seen a number of teams — Arkansas and Auburn — with promise fall off the BCS Bowl radar.
Here’s a look at some very early predictions on who will be playing in the 2013 BCS Bowls.
Rose Bowl — Stanford vs. Northwestern
Stanford didn’t make the Rose Bowl with Andrew Luck at quarterback, but following the big win over USC the Cardinal are in a good position to represent the Pac-12 in another BCS Bowl Game.
Of course, the Cardinal will likely be the Rose Bowl’s second option from the conference, but if Oregon runs the table it is unlikely the Ducks will be around to play in this game.
Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern team, which is 4-0, is a long shot to win the Big Ten, but with Ohio State ineligible and Michigan State unable to sustain an offense the Wildcats have a shot.
So if Northwestern can beat Nebraska it could find itself in California in January.
Discover Orange Bowl — Florida State vs. Louisville
I know everybody is all giddy over FSU after its win over Clemson in Tallahassee, but I’m not on the Jimbo Fisher bandwagon just yet. You have to like the Seminoles’ odds of winning the ACC, so that puts them squarely in the Orange Bowl for their South Florida alumni.
If Florida State is 13-0 entering this game, there will be plenty of upset Noles if they aren’t playing for a championship. Drawing Louisville in the Orange Bowl will almost assure Fisher’s squad of a BCS bowl win.
It will be interesting to see if Charlie Strong, who has brought Louisville back to respectability, will even be around for this game. He’s proven his value as a coach and programs like Arkansas (and maybe Auburn) will want their man sooner, rather than waiting for a bowl game to be played.
With a large number of Florida players on the roster, including standout quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, it will feel like a home game for the Cardinals.
Allstate Sugar Bowl — Georgia vs. West Virginia
Welcome to a rematch of the 2006 Sugar Bowl when WVU shocked Georgia, and the nation got its first glimpse of Pat White and Steve Slaton.
The Mountaineers will reward the Big 12 by giving the conference a second BCS representative, and possibly another Heisman Trophy winner in Geno Smith. WVU will also be looking to go 4-0 in BCS bowls.
Georgia will enter the game fresh off a loss to Alabama in the SEC title game, but Mark Richt will look to build momentum going into 2013 with a big win in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia’s defense will probably be the difference in this game with linebacker Jarvis Jones leading the way.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl — Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
Kansas State’s huge road win over Oklahoma has put the Wildcats in the top spot for the Big 12. With big games still to go against Texas and WVU, Bill Snyder’s team is by no means a lock.
Heisman-candidate Collin Klein has just what it takes to navigate Kansas State through a tough Big 12 slate.
We all know if Notre Dame can keep winning there is a good chance the Irish will find their way into the BCS mix. Brian Kelly’s team is by no means an elite program, but the Irish have a solid defense and enough moxie on offense to figure out a way to win.
That’s a huge difference from what most of us have become accustomed to when it comes to Notre Dame.
BCS Championship — Oregon vs. Alabama
After watching a boatload of games through four weeks, it’s hard to imagine any other two teams playing in the final game of the season.
With all due respect to those who think Florida State should be in this game, I would love to see if Oregon’s speed freaks can make life difficult for Alabama’s defense.
Naturally, it’s hard to imagine that Nick Saban won’t have his team ready for this game … again.
A ticket to this game will definitely break the bank.