OU to the Sugar Bowl against Alabama and OSU to the Cotton Bowl against Missouri are looking more and more like realities.
New Orleans sources told The Oklahoman that Sugar Bowl officials have said they will take a Big 12 team if one is available. The Sooners, at 10-2, will be available provided they finish in the top 14 of the BCS rankings. Which they will. OU was 17th going into the Bedlam game, but the 33-24 victory over the previously-No. 6 Cowboys will boost OU up the rankings.
A couple of fine-print bowl stipulations you might not be aware of:
* The Orange Bowl will get first pick in the BCS selection process, and Alabama will be on the table. But here’s a rule from the BCS handbook:
“Further, when two bowls lose host teams, the bowl losing the No. 1 team may not select a replacement team from the same conference as the No. 2 team, unless the bowl losing the No. 2 team consents.”
Florida State will be the No. 1 team, so the Orange Bowl gets first pick, virtue of its tie-in with the ACC. Auburn will be the No. 2 team. Which means that while the Orange gets first pick, it can’t take an SEC team (Auburn’s conference) without the consent of the Sugar Bowl, by virtue of its tie-win with the SEC.
The Sugar isn’t likely to let the Orange take Alabama. That means the Orange likely will take Ohio State. The Sugar gets next pick, so it would take Alabama. Then the regular BCS rotation kicks in. This year, that the order is Orange, Sugar, Fiesta. So the Orange, spurred by its tie-in with the ACC, would take Clemson, setting up a Clemson-Ohio State game. The Sugar would then pick between OU and Oregon, and with the SEC’s impending partnership with the Big 12, the Sooners seem headed for New Orleans. That would leave Central Florida, an automatic qualifier, to play Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.
* The SEC has a clause in its bowl agreements that a division can’t fall below the Cotton Bowl. Which seems to negate the Cotton’s wish to match up OSU and LSU.
With Auburn and Alabama headed for the BCS, the next pick goes to the Capital One Bowl. The Cap One will choose between South Carolina and Missouri. The Gamecocks are 10-2, the Tigers 11-2. If the Cap One picks South Carolina, the Cotton is bound to take Missouri, which won the SEC East.
That would set up an OSU-Missouri Cotton Bowl, between schools that were members together in the Big Eight/Big 12 from 1960 through 2011.
If the Cap One takes Missouri, then the Cotton could pick from South Carolina or LSU. If somehow the Sooners fell out of the BCS, the Cotton likely would take the Sooners and match them against South Carolina, a Bob Stoops/Steve Spurrier duel. Stoops was Spurrier’s defensive coordinator for three years, 1996-98. If the Cotton takes OSU, LSU is the more likely matchup, matching LSU coach Les Miles against his former employer. Miles coached OSU from 2001-04. Mike Gundy was Miles’ offensive coordinator.