Bedlam football: Possible bowl opponents forming
Now is as good a time as any to start watching for bowl developments as it pertains to OU and OSU. If both teams win out before Bedlam, their winner is New Orleans bound, while the Bedlam loser almost surely would head to the Fiesta Bowl, because of the Big 12/Fiesta relationship.
You know who is waiting in the Big Bowl. But who could be the opponent in Glendale, Ariz.? A few developments:
* Friday night means it’s less likely that West Virginia would be there. An OSU vs. Dana Holgorsen matchup would be fun, but the Big East champ is not likely to head west. The Big East probably won’t have a ranked team Sunday, after Syracuse popped West Virginia 49-23 Friday night. Cincinnati is the lone Big East still unbeaten in conference play, and the Bearcats could lose Saturday at South Florida. The Fiesta doesn’t want a repeat of Connecticut — no ranking, low ticket sales — and the Big East champ is likely to fall to the Sugar Bowl, which has the last pick in the BCS. If not the Sugar, then definitely the Orange.
* Watch out for Notre Dame. The Irish are 4-2 and host Southern Cal on Saturday. Beat the Trojans, and Notre Dame could keep winning, right up to a Nov. 26 game at Stanford. If Notre Dame goes 10-2, the Irish are in the Fiesta Bowl. The bowl that claims the No. 1-ranked team in the BCS (Sugar, if it’s Bama or LSU); Fiesta, if it’s OU or OSU) gets first pick and would select a 10-2 Notre Dame. I might watch an OSU-Notre Dame or OU-Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, how about you?
* Boise State is BCS-bound again. The 6-0 Broncos don’t have a tough game left, with the possible exception of a road game at San Diego State. They get TCU and Air Force in Idaho.
* If the Big 12 takes the Bedlam loser, and the Sugar Bowl takes the Alabama-LSU loser, then the contenders for the final two BCS at-large spots are Boise State, Notre Dame, the Stanford-Oregon loser, a one-loss Clemson if it doesn’t win the ACC and the No. 2 team from the Big Ten, be it Penn State or Nebraska.
I don’t think Notre Dame will finish 10-2. I think Clemson will either win the ACC or have more than one loss. So I think your BCS at-larges are Bedlam loser, Bama-LSU loser, Boise State and either Stanford-Oregon loser or Nebraska-Penn State winner.
So, the Sugar Bowl takes LSU-Bama loser, the Fiesta Bowl takes Bedlam loser. Then the Fiesta gets next pick. I’d say Boise State, Stanford with Andrew Luck, Nebraska, Penn State and Oregon would be its order of preference. Most bowls, including the Fiesta, aren’t crazy about Boise State, but a Boise State-Oklahoma rematch, or a Boise State-OSU game in which the Cowboys could try to do what OU failed (beat Boise State in the Fiesta) would have all kinds of appeal. I think it’s going to be difficult for Nebraska and Penn State to keep winning enough to mount a BCS charge (the Huskers play at Penn State and Michigan, plus host Michigan State), while Penn State plays at Northwestern, hosts Nebraska and finishes the season with road games at Wisconsin and Ohio State.
So the most likely Fiesta opponents for OSU or OU are Boise State and Stanford.
Of course, OU and OSU could play their way out of the Fiesta Bowl. If either loses before Bedlam, then loses Bedlam, they would be 10-2 and on the border of eligibility. Would a 10-2 OSU still be ranked in the top 12 of the BCS? If so, Big 12 officials are confident the Fiesta still would take OSU, so long as OU is in the national title game. The Fiesta has told the Big 12 it will take a Big 12 at-large team any time one is eligible.
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