And here we are, one final week to go. Who wants to see the current Pac-10 standings? Anyone? Anyone? Well, here they are anyway:
Yup, a Big Game win coupled with an Arizona loss moves us into a tie for 6th place. Stellar!
More importantly, however, a Big Game win gives Cal a winning record, which has a significant impact on our bowl chances. I’ve already talked about this extensively, so I won’t bore you by rehashing myself. Here’s our current bowl odds, updated after last weekend’s action:
Emerald - 33% - Your ‘favorites win out’ scenario. Think SBC Park is chilly in July? Try a 5pm start on December 28th!
Las Vegas - 35% - If the Pac-10 fails to get two teams in the BCS, a Big Game win should send us here, although I think we still get the Emerald.
Armed Forces - 16% - As long as Arizona loses, we can’t fall further than here. Whoo.
No Bowl - 16% - I think if we lose the Big Game and Arizona beats ASU, the Armed Forces Bowl will probably choose Arizona. Not only are they closer, but their fans will actually be happy to go to a 6th-place bowl game. Ah, I remember the days of dreaming of ‘any bowl’. They seem like good times now, but they were probably pretty terrible.
Here’s my projected Pac-10 bowl destinations:
Rose - USC
Fiesta - Arizona State
Holiday - Oregon State
Sun - Oregon
Emerald - Cal
Las Vegas - UCLA
Armed Forces - Some non-Pac-10 team
Of course, this means that I’m predicting wins by Cal, USC, and ASU this weekend. I’m also predicting that Oregon State defeats a suddenly hapless Oregon in the Civil War, thereby finishing with a stronger record that the Ducks and getting an invite to the Holiday Bowl.
What is still definitely in doubt is whether the Sun Devils will garner a second BCS invitation for the conference. Currently, they sit at 13th in the BCS standings, which makes them eligible for an at-large bid, although it is by no means certain that they’ll receive one. Here’s the current BCS standings:
|2||West Virginia||v. Pittsburgh|
|3||Ohio State||– Finished –|
|4||Georgia||– Finished –|
|5||Kansas||– Finished –|
|6||Virginia Tech||v. Boston College|
|10||Florida||– Finished –|
|11||Boston College||v. Virginia Tech|
|13||Arizona State||v. Arizona|
|15||Illinois||– Finished –|
|16||Clemson||– Finished –|
|17||Oregon||v. Oregon State|
|18||Wisconsin||– Finished –|
We’ll assume for the sake of this exercise that both USC and ASU win this weekend, which is the only way the Pac-10 will garner two BCS bids. That sends USC to the Rose Bowl. Ohio State and West Virginia have already won their respective conferences, so they will get automatic bids as well, though their destination is not yet certain. The SEC, ACC, and Big XII will all hold conference championships on Saturday, so there’s 3 more bids right there. Georgia is done playing and currently sits at number 4 in the BCS, which as we all know from the Cal-Texas debacle three years ago (otherwise known as the Mack Brown whine-a-thon) means they get an automatic BCS bid as well. Finally, Hawai’i current sits at number 12, so assuming they beat Washington and don’t fall in the standings, they’ll get an auto-bid too.
Of course, the limit of 2 bids per conference also comes into play. With Georgia getting into a BCS game, Florida and the loser of the SEC Title Game are shut out of the BCS. The Big XII is affected as well, as only one team can be chosen between Kansas and the loser of its championship game.
I fully expect West Virginia to handle Pittsburgh at home in the Backyard Brawl on Saturday. However, it would not surprise me if any of the three major championship games went either way. Really, though, the Big XII championship game is the one that everything else hinges on.
If Missouri wins, this is my guess at the BCS matchups:
NCG - Missouri v West Virginia
Sugar - SEC Champ v Hawaii
Orange - ACC Champ v Georgia
Rose - USC v Ohio State
Fiesta - Arizona State v Kansas
Because of its Big XII ties, I think the Fiesta would rather enjoy a Big XII replacement team, and if Missouri beats Oklahoma on Saturday, it won’t be the Sooners. However, Oklahoma IS favored, and they did beat Missouri already this year. Here’s my guess if Oklahoma makes it a double over Mizzou:
NCG - West Virginia v Ohio State
Sugar - SEC Champ v Hawaii
Orange - ACC Champ v Georgia
Rose - USC v Illinois
Fiesta - Oklahoma v Arizona State
This scenario is a bit trickier. There’s no guarantee that Illinois even moves into the top 14 to become eligible, but I think they only need either a Tennessee or Boston College loss to move up, and odds are, one of those things happens. There’s also no guarantee that the Rose Bowl would take the Illini as a replacement Big 10 team, although the Rose does love their Big 10-Pac 10 tradition. One other thing to note is that even if Kansas moves into the top 4 with a Missouri loss, they still wouldn’t be guaranteed a BCS bid, because Georgia, up to No. 3, would still be in front of them, and only one team can be guaranteed a bid in such a manner.
Also worth noting: in both scenarios outlined above, Hawai’i ended up in the Sugar Bowl. Why? Because the Sugar Bowl has last pick this year. The various at-large spots are filled on a rotating basis, with the BCS bowls picking in reverse order of how recently they hosted the National Championship Game. Since the Sugar Bowl is hosting this year, they get last pick of the at-large teams, which probably means that if Hawai’i gets an automatic BCS bid, the Sugar will be stuck with them. Remember, as exciting as last year’s Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl was, it was also the 3rd-least watched BCS game ever, surpassed only by last year’s Louisville-Wake Forest Orange Bowl and 2005’s Utah-Pittsburgh Fiesta Bowl. Non-traditional teams make for crappy ratings, and the BCS Bowls that get to pick before the Sugar all know it.