SjT: Big 10 Bowling

As fun as it may see to watch OSU lose another late-season #1 ranking at home, yes, this did hurt the Cats big-time.

And part of me was glad that at least the OSU loss would give Oregon a chance to prove they're clearly better than an LSU team living up on the SEC's past reputation (51-31? Is there no defense left for the SEC's defenses?) ... part of me sees a scenario similar to five years ago happening again.

Back then, the BCS computers screwed the Pac 10 champ (USC) and allowed the Big XII champ Sooners (coming off a loss) to play LSU in a Tiger home game in the Superdome. Now, swap Ducks for Trojans and history could repeat itself as LSU will almost certainly be at home in the title game and a big boost from the computers for playing the KU-Mizzou winner in the title game could jump Oklahoma ahead of the Ducks.

But back to the Big Ten ... it's pretty amazing, but the Big Ten has TEN bowl-eligible teams now. In the SEC they call that amazing strength, but I guess we'll get dumped on for it as the media has yet to recognize that Illinois, Wisconsin and Penn State are some pretty solid teams. However, we only seven spots, as the OSU loss all but guaranteed that there will be no at-large BCS berth. Even more amazing is that the ones who are "just in" at six wins easily could have seven if IU and MSU didn't collapse in October and NU coulda beat friggin' Duke.

We're pretty much the #10 choice any way you slice it unless we can win next week and get to 7-5 and be forced to be taken ahead of 6-6 teams like MSU and Indiana (who have tough rivalry games as well next week).

So, after yet another wild weekend, a new look at the bowl projections ..

  • BCS TITLE GAME: Oregon vs. LSU - I'm hoping that LSU slips up or that a so-so SEC title game foe hurts their computer rankings, but they're in anyway, so I hope that the Ducks at least get there to face 'em. However, an Oklahoma-Oregon title game would be so much better - great contest, all the spillover from last year's controversial game in Eugene and no home cooking for the SEC to give one side an edge.
  • ROSE BOWL: Ohio State vs. Arizona State - The Rose will happily take the winner of the ASU-USC turkey day game if the Ducks head to the title contest and while I wouldn't count out Michigan in Lloyd's home finale, the Bucks won't lose two in a row.
  • SUGAR BOWL: Florida vs. Hawaii - With LSU in the title game, the folks in New Orleans take another SEC team to fill seats against the Hawaii team they have to take (too bad because I'd love to see a Zooker Bowl in Orlando with the Gators and Illini!).
  • FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia - Here's where things get tricky. Usually the Mountaineers head to Miami, but since Texas will likely be the other at-large team, and we don't want Red River Rivalry II, they go here and we get a heck of a matchup.
  • ORANGE BOWL: Clemson vs. Texas - With BC falling apart and the Hokies still shaky, Clemson seizes the moment to finish strong and take a ton of orange to the Orange Bowl. The folks in Miami would love to have the Gators, but they'll settle for more orange with Tejas.
  • CITRUS BOWL: Illinois vs. Georgia - The Illini are the big story, have the Chicago market and really deserve to be the #2 pick if they beat NU as they beat PSU and Wisky and will have one more win than Big Blue. But you could see PSU sneak in on rep and fan support. Meanwhile, the Dogs settle for Orlando after the SEC title game loss.
  • OUTBACK BOWL: Michigan vs. Kentucky - Tough call who Tampa will take from the Big Ten or SEC here. Michigan beat PSU, PSU beat Wisky, Wisky beat Michigan and all have name and fan support ... Lloyd Carr's final game may be the tipping point. As for their opponent, the Vols were here last year and the Gamecocks and Kentucky are fading ... Auburn or Alabama could go here also.
  • CHAMPS BOWL: Penn State vs. Florida State - Wisky was in Orlando last year, plus can you get a better mid-level bowl story than JoePa against Bobby with the two likely being withing a game on the all-time win chart?
  • ALAMO BOWL: Wisconsin vs. Texas Tech - Could be the "goodbye coach" bowl if Michigan plays Texas A&M ... but we'll settle for a lot of red and a run vs. pass showdown.
  • INSIGHT BOWL: Purdue vs. Colorado - The Buffs have battled hard this year while the Boilers may be a tad underappreciated and can light it up with anyone.
  • MOTOR CITY BOWL: Iowa vs. Central Michigan - After beating Western Michigan next week, the Hawks will be 7-5 and will have to be chosen ahead of the 6-6 Spartans (much to Detroit's dismay) unless Sparty shocks PSU.
  • As for the rest, Indiana is likely the first to get an at-large bid because of the story (they're also the most likely to upset their rival next weekend of the 6-6 teams). MSU comes after that and NU is last in the pecking order.
    Bottom line, I guess, is that the non conference games count. We beat Duke (or hang on vs. any of the three Big Ten games where we had late leads) and we're in better shape. And if Michigan had done better against AS or Oregon or the Illini not fumbled so often against Mizzou, maybe we get an extra berth thanks to two BCS at-large teams.

    GO CATS!!!
    -SjT


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