Beyond Tide-FSU, Guess At BCS Foes

At lunch on Monday, I was asked to make a guess at the teams that would be in the final Bowl Championship Series games. This wasn't a question from some random fan. It came from Wright Waters, who is executive director of the Football Bowl Association.

The only game to which I had given much thought, I admitted, was the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena on Jan. 6. That proved to be not an excuse to try to predict the five BCS games in this final year of the BCS. Next year the task could be more complicated as Condaleza Rice and friends pick four teams for the playoffs.

Mr. Waters didn't ask me to pick the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the like. The Southeastern Conference has agreements to have teams in 10 bowl games, and could have 11 if an SEC team is in the BCS national championship game. Nine SEC teams are bowl eligible and three others have a mathematical chance to reach the six-win plateau. We didn't attempt to go down that road of putting teams in the Chick-Fil-A, etc.

We agreed to put Alabama vs. Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game and then fill in the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and Rose Bowl games.

It's fairly easy to get it started.

The Rose will have Ohio State vs. Oregon. The way it works, if a Big 10 and/or Pac 12 team doesn't qualify for the BCS Championship Game, the top teams from each league are in their traditional bowl game. Ohio State doesn't qualify for the title game because of the perception it played a lousy schedule and Oregon misses out because the Ducks lost to Stanford. (When Bama and FSU arrive the next week, it will seem as though they are in California Whine Country.)

The Sugar Bowl gets to choose an SEC team to replace Alabama. If Texas A&M wins its last two games (against LSU and Missouri, both on the road), New Orleans will welcome Johnny Manziel and his band of Aggies. If Missouri makes it to the SEC Championship game (with wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M) and doesn't get blown out by Alabama in Atlanta, the Sugar probably would take the Tigers.

The Orange Bowl has an easy choice with its automatic ACC selection: Clemson, even though Dabo Swinney's team may lose its last game to South Carolina.

The Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 champion with Baylor playing Oklahoma State for that honor. Fresno State is the BCS buster that will play in Glendale.

The big question is which bowl – Sugar or Orange -- gets Michigan State. If the Sugar takes the Spartans, the Orange will probably have UCF. And vice versa.

And there probably will be some changes over the next few weeks.

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