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  • If the BCS Games Were Picked Today….

    by Mike Coffey

    Back in the day, I used to do a tracking thread on The Pit for the Big East Tournament, allowing the men’s basketball fans to predict where the team would be seeded. With ND’s participation in the BCS all but assured (knock on wood), I figured it would be a good exercise while we wait for what is hopefully a beat-down of the Jesuits on Saturday.

    For the purposes of this exercise, the highest-ranked BCS member of a conference is assumed to be that conference’s champion and is marked with an asterisk (*). Any other special notations will be indicated as needed.


    1) Alabama (SEC) *
    2) Kansas State (B12) *
    3) Oregon (P12) *
    4) Notre Dame **
    5) Georgia (SEC)
    6) Florida (SEC)
    7) LSU (SEC)
    8) South Carolina (SEC)
    9) Louisville (BE) *
    10) Florida State (ACC) *
    11) Oregon State (P12)
    12) Oklahoma (B12)
    13) Clemson (ACC)
    14) Stanford (P12)
    15) Texas A&M (SEC)
    16) Nebraska (B10) *
    17) Texas (B12)
    18) UCLA (P12)
    19) USC (P12)
    20) Louisiana Tech (WAC)

    ** As a top-four team, Notre Dame automatically receives an at-large BCS bid.


    First, the National Championship Bowl selects Alabama and Kansas State.

    Since neither the Big 10 nor Pac 12 champions were selected for the National Championshp Bowl, #3 Oregon and #16 Nebraska are slotted in the Rose Bowl.

    #10 Florida State is slotted in the Orange Bowl.

    First Pick: Sugar Bowl, to replace Alabama. As much as they would like to select Notre Dame, only one more SEC team can be selected for a BCS at-large spot. Faced with Domer dollars versus placating their host conference, the Sugar Bowl makes the safe pick and selects #5 Georgia.

    Second Pick: Fiesta Bowl, to replace Kansas State. The Fiesta Bowl is not being considered for the Champions Bowl, so they have no reason to show fealty to the Big 12. They select #4 Notre Dame.

    Third Pick: Fiesta Bowl. None of the SEC teams are available since two conference members already have been selected. Restricted to the top 14 BCS teams, the Fiesta Bowl chooses #11 Oregon State.

    Fourth Pick: Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl selects #9 Louisville as the highest ranked (and best traveling) of the remaining eligible schools.

    Fifth Pick: Orange Bowl. All conference champs have been slotted, and none of the SEC schools are eligible, so the Orange Bowl selects #12 Oklahoma.


    Gator: Wisconsin (B10 #4) vs. Texas A&M (SEC #6)
    Capital One: Northwestern (B10 #2) vs. Florida (SEC #2)
    Outback: Michigan (B10 #3) vs. LSU (SEC #3)
    Rose: Nebraska vs. Oregon
    Orange: Florida State vs. Oklahoma
    Sugar: Georgia vs. Louisville
    Fiesta: Notre Dame vs. Oregon State
    Cotton: Texas (B12 #2) vs. South Carolina (SEC #4)
    National Title: Alabama vs. Kansas State

    Not the most compelling lineup in the world, but certainly a start. The games of the upcoming weeks will tell the tale.

    22 Responses to “If the BCS Games Were Picked Today….”

    1. Louisville travels better than Oklahoma?

      I have a hard time believing that the Sugar Bowl would skip a matchup like Georgia-OU.

    2. ugh…Oregon State…I hate those guys.

    3. Dan Hennessey says:

      If that turns out to be accurate, the 5 SEC schools will all be heavily favored (-7 or more except, maybe, Alabama/Oregon which may come in as -5 or so). CFB may never get out of the “SEC RULES” rut — until 2014.

    4. I thin Oregon will pass K-State by the end of the year with the tough games that Oregon still has left to play. That would make the national championship game be Bama-Oregon. The Sugar Bowl picks Georgia as their replacement team and the Rose Bowl picks Notre Dame since no other PAC-12 teams are eligible.

      Unfortunately, Indiana will beat Wisconsin this weekend, and then Wisconsin loses its last 2 games (PSU and OSU) and Indiana loses its last 2 to PSU and Purdue. A 5-7 Indiana teams plays in the Big 10+ championship game and pulls the upset and wins the Big 10+. Unfortunately, at 6-7, they are not eligible for post season play so the Rose Bowl in cancelled. They still have the parade, but the Notre Dame team flies out to L.A. and spends a week relaxing on the beach.

    5. Doesn’t the pick of Oregon State not account for their assumed loss to Oregon in the last game of the regular season?

      • Mike Coffey says:

        No, this is if the picks were made today. As the actual day gets closer, they’ll get more prognosticational.

    6. Coach Irish says:

      I really think Bama will be tested by A&M Saturday, and I think KSU (if Klein is healthy) makes it until the last week and struggles with Texas. Oregon probably has the smallest chance of losing in the regular season and I’m not sure they would be challenged in their Pac-12 championship against one of the other 11 teams that struggles with defense.
      If ND takes care of business (which is the only thing they can control), there still is a good chance they play for the national championship (in my humble opinion). They will also have the argument that they will have played the most bowl-eligible teams of the top contenders.

      • Coach Irish: I wish it were as simple as win and we’re in, but I don’t think it is. A KSU loss is probably our best bet since if we do run the table, our SoS will be better than Oregon once we too add a win over USC. The flip side to that however is that we better beat USC in a more convincing fashion than Oregon did. We can’t win a nail biter 13-10. The other thing we have going against us is the human polls. The Pitt game went a long way torwards killing any chances we have leapfrogging anyone with the humans, which is what is holding us back right now. Strong performances against BC and WFU will go a long way torwards righting that ship, but to an extent, the damage has been done. With 3 weeks left, there really is a long way to go and you never know, perhaps KSU and Oregon both fall, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either one of them make it though without a loss, in which case I think we’d be left out. But ND has to put blinders on to all of that talk and just as you suggested, take care of our own business. Hopefully you’re right and I’m wrong.

    7. If Irish cannot play in the national title game, the team should push for a warm weather bowl to reward themselves, their families and fans. Bowls, like most sports, have been corrupted by TV, with games before Jan 1 and then before National Title game designed as sports bar background. The bowl money gets better on and after Jan 1, but most of the 32 bowl games are simply to provide ESPN with something to air between commercials and for monetary bonuses for head coaches. An undefeated Irish team should be in the national game. If not in championship, opt for sunglasses and sunblock since the final rankings will be made by computers. Kelly would still get his bonus and new contract while team, band, supporters can work on tans.

    8. So basically the Rose, Sugar, and Fiesta (sans us Domers loving if b/c ND is there) will be in a virtual dead heat for the most unwatched BCS games in history. That Orange Bowl matchup would be a good one, but outside of that, these games wouldn’t be worth watching for most of the country. It really is too bad that they can’t have more SEC teams. I know that’s taboo to say, but they really do have the best teams down there. I’d love to see us take on an SEC team like Florida or South Carolina in the Fiesta. You have to admit that it would be a much bigger win than a far too overrate Oregon State team.

      • Kevin, while I admit that the SEC is very good, they certainly don’t like to step out of conference often to play someone good later in the season and/or on the road. If you look at the SEC slate of games for 11/17, it’s disgraceful…

    9. JohnCochtoastin says:

      I agree with you coach…I think Alabama has a tough matchup this weekend against a confident, nothing to lose team. It seems like every year there is an “upset weekend” in college football and this may be it. I think TCU will give KState a game and don’t forget about the Cal hosting Oreg…okay forget that one.

      While ND has an easier schedule than other undefeated teams which will hurt them, that tougher schedule also means that these other teams have a greater chance to lose, or as some say loose.

    10. Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

      Interesting analysis, but I can’t get my head wrapped around today …

      My mind is laser-beamed on the two questions I see as the key issues after one assumes that the Irish run the table, as they will.

      #1 Where do Alabama, KSU and Oregon’s losses come from?

      My sense: Oregon has numerous good loss opportunities, but I’m going to go with Oregon looking past Oregon State and dropping the Civil War, 77-73 3OT. Alabama loses 24-21 to Florida in the SEC Championship Game and/or KSU loses to Texas to close out the season with a gut-wrenching 48-45 loss on resulting from KSU missing a gimme FG to tie as time expires.

      #2 How likely is it that a 1-loss SEC team could pass an undefeated Irish squad in the BCS?

      My sense: Far more likely than any of us care to admit. If Alabama drops the SEC Championship, they could definitely do it.


      • A one loss SEC team will not pass an undefeated ND team this year, especially if Oregon and/or K-State remain undefeated. SEC fatigue has set in this year, the last thing TV powers that be want to see is another all-SEC national championship game. Now an undefeated Irish team playing a one-loss Alabama team would be a great game, national championship game or not…

    11. I think the Sugar Bowl takes Oklahoma and leaves Louisville for the Orange Bowl. Otherwise, I agree.

      In hindsight, it’s somewhat unfortunate that we actually played Oklahoma this year. If not for that fact, I think you’d see ND-Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. It’s even more unfortunate for Clemson, as I think you’d see the Sugar Bowl take Clemson over Oregon State in that event. If Oregon leapfrogs Kansas State, I think you’d see Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, the Oregon State-Stanford winner in the Rose Bowl, if eligible and ND in the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State. If another Pac-12 team isn’t eligible, we get the Rose Bowl bid, and the Fiesta Bowl gets stuck with Clemson, since they won’t match up Oklahoma and Kansas State.

      Rest of the New Year’s Day lineup:

      Gator: Northwestern (Big 10 #4) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #6)
      Capital One: Michigan (Big 10 #2) vs. Florida (SEC #2)
      Outback: Wisconsin (Big 10 #3) vs. South Carolina (SEC #4)
      Rose: Nebraska vs. Oregon
      Orange: Florida State vs. Louisville
      Sugar: Oklahoma vs. Georgia
      Fiesta: ND vs. Oregon State
      Cotton: Texas (Big XII #2) vs. Texas A&M (SEC #3) (Note: I don’t think Texas A&M will finish third in the SEC, but the bowls have some leeway in how they make their selections, and I don’t think the Cotton Bowl will be able to resist this matchup).
      National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Kansas State

    12. If Kansas State loses, we also skip Oregon. This is because Kansas State is between OR and ND in the human polls and OR does not stand to gain a quarter as much ground in the computers off a Kansas State loss as ND stands to gain in the human polls. So, if Kansas State loses, ND goes up to BCS #2, at least for now.

    13. Mike
      Spot on with the Fiesta bowl…it is what we need in year 3 with BK. Oregon State needs a very good beating since it was one of our tremendous bowl losses in years past. This program needs a convincing bowl victory to get back to relevance and show the nation how we are way past the carnage in prime time bowl games. A big step up in the program needs to be a major bowl win with a national audience. Awesome observation Mike

      • Captain Jack says:

        No Mike and everyone else when your 9-0 and have very winnable remainder of your schedule nothing less then a National Championship game appearance is what we need. Now I understand making predictions is one thing but to say that’s what we need when a title appearance is actually within reason this year makes me think fans have really lost out on what the goal should be. It would be damn near tragic if we go 12-0 and get shout out of the title game. Even if Kelly is building a powerhouse at ND which is highly debatable it takes a combination of staying injury free, getting a few breaks and hoping that young men stay up for practically every game. This is a tall task which is why as great as Alabama is they dont win it every year or most for that matter. We just need Oregon or Alabama to lose in my opinion to play for the title. I dont think KST will be the team to keep us out of the title game. Now I really think Oregon will lose. Not sure if it will be to Stanford (a team who could slow the game up and be more physical then them), Oregon St ( rivalry) or PAC 12 title game (most likley SC rematch) but I do think they will get picked off. If not Alabama has only one real test which should be Georgia in their title game and i dont think Georgia is up for that task. KST will most likely lose anyway to either OU who should’ve beat them earlier in the yr anyway.

        National TITLE Alabama vs ND Alabama may win this game but they will get a dose of their own medicine in a team just as likely to stuff the run and make them one dimensional. IF you can do that then it comes down to a timely turnover or a big return. I’ll say we lose to them close based on experience in these kind of games but playing the best SEC team to a great game is EXACTLY WHAT NEED!

        • Captain Jack
          NC is not out of reason when we have earned it. BYU and Pitt have shown we have not earned the right at this point. Going 12 – 0 is a tremendous goal in year three with Kelley but we have not won a big bowl game with NC status for a very long time. I root for ND with the passion that you do…please believe me…but as the standings go – and we maybe undefeated at the end…we are not ready yet for a debate about ND being #1 We have got to win the bowl game we are in to recapture the “relevance” factor. You said:

          “I’ll say we lose to them close based on experience in these kind of games but playing the best SEC team to a great game is EXACTLY WHAT NEED”

          Do not agree … we need a bowl WIN much more than a close BCS game loss … Alabama wins the NC over ND and we are in better shape. Don’t think so. This program needs to finish a great season with a great bowl game victory. Watch the standings for a late season knock – off if you want to but ND has to focus on whats left in the regular season and dominate the bowl game it gets.

    14. My sense is that even if all 4 run the table, there is a strong chance there could be just enough movement in the BCS standings, which would bring ND to #2. Call me jaded, but an ND v. Bama matchup provides the prospect for too many folks to make a significant amount of money — much more than any of the other potential pairings. I would like to think that the deciding factor would be to put together the two “best” teams, but college football is a business. And dollar signs will always take precedence. There is just too much money at stake to leave an undefeated ND out of the BCS Championship Game.

      • FJC1109
        A sad but relevant comment. Money is king these days with college sports – and football leads the way. ND has been swept up into the fray with NBC entitlements and the money brought into the program with national coverage of home games – an absolute precedent – ABC and CBS broadcast all home games on WHO during the football season?

        I would hope the BCS provides the best two teams at year end to play for the NC with money being the least relevant factor. Can not dismiss your point though. An undefeated Irish team against Alabama would be a TV and cable jewel.

        Let’s hope the best two teams play for the NC. I love the Irish and always will. Have a first son there in his junior year – pre-prof – pre-med hopeful. It has been a great experience for him and an awesome time for us this football season visiting him on football weekends for Stanford, BYU and Pitt

        GO IRISH!