Southern Cal’s upset of Stanford last Saturday could have repercussions all the way to the Oklahoma prairie.
It means an OU-Stanford bowl matchup is quite possible.
The Sooners seem headed to the Alamo Bowl. They never have been to the San Antonio game. A victory over Kansas State or against OSU in two weeks would almost assure an Alamo invitation for the Sooners.
If KSU beats OU on Saturday, the Alamo might take the Wildcats, who then could finish 8-4 with a season-ending victory over Kansas.
Texas is 7-3 and Texas Tech is 7-4. They play Thanksgiving night in Austin. If Tech wins, it could climb onto the Alamo radar. But that’s unlikely. The Alamo isn’t likely to court Texas, since the Longhorns were in the San Antonio bowl last season.
It seems unlikely that OU would fall past the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. The Sooners played in that bowl in 2011, when it was known as the Insight Bowl.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is run by the Fiesta Bowl, and the Tempe bowl is intrigued by a possible OU-Nebraska matchup. Also in the mix in Tempe is Texas and Michigan. The Wild Wings Bowl would be thrilled with any of those matchups – OU-Michigan, Texas-Nebraska, Texas-Michigan or OU-Nebraska.
The Alamo gets the No. 2 Pac-12 team, but all season, it appeared that the Pac-12 would get two teams into the BCS rotation. That changed with Stanford’s defeat.
Now Oregon is back in the saddle to win the Pac-12 North Division and thus the conference’s Rose Bowl bid. If Stanford had won the Pac-12, with Oregon finishing 11-1, the Ducks almost surely would have received a berth in the BCS.
But Stanford is not likely to receive a BCS berth at 10-2. The Fiesta Bowl generally likes to take a Pac-12 at-large team if a quality candidate is available, but the Sugar and Orange bowls do not, because of travel distance. However, this year, the Fiesta gets last pick in the rotation, and it’s quite likely that at least one automatic-qualifying, but totally unappealing, team will be remain on the table at the end, forcing the Fiesta to settle. That list includes Central Florida or Louisville, Fresno State and Northern Illinois.
So Stanford then would drop to the Alamo Bowl, which could produce the second OU-Stanford bowl matchup in four years. The Sooners beat the Cardinal 31-27 in the 2009 Sun Bowl.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl has an agreement with the Big Ten to take that league’s No. 4 team in odd-numbered years and No. 5 team in even-numbered years. The Big Ten bowl lineup is more fluid, because it is likely to get two teams into the BCS.
The four at-large teams for the BCS likely will be Clemson, an SEC team, a Big Ten team and either Northern Illinois or Fresno State, if either can remain unbeaten. If both lose, then Stanford or even a Big 12 team could climb back into contention.
Right now, the Big Ten’s ranked teams are No. 3 Ohio State (10-0), No. 13 Michigan State (9-1), No. 19 Wisconsin (8-2) and No. 25 Minnesota (8-2). A 10-2 Wisconsin or an 11-2 Michigan State (the Spartans likely are headed for the Big Ten title game) would be a prime squad for the BCS.
The Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl get to pick before the Buffalo Wild Wings for a Big Ten team. Some speculate that the Outback would like Nebraska; the Cornhuskers never have played in the Tampa Bay game.
Nebraska and Michigan both are 7-3. So it seems likely that one or the other will end up in Tempe.
Here are the Big 12’s bowl scenarios:
Baylor, OSU or Texas appear to be headed for a lackluster matchup.
If a mid-major is ranked in the top 16 of the BCS and is ranked ahead of an automatic qualifier to the BCS, that mid-major achieves automatic qualifying status. That’s how Northern Illinois got to the Orange Bowl last year and knocked OU out of the BCS.
So this year, Fresno State is ranked 15th and Northern Illinois 16th. If one or both stay unbeaten and ahead of No. 18 Central Florida, the higher-ranked of the two will. And will drop to the Fiesta Bowl.
That means a Baylor-Fresno State or an OSU-Northern Illinois type game. If both lose, Central Florida (or, less likely, Louisville) would drop to the Fiesta as the American Athletic Conference champ. OSU-Central Florida, anyone?
For the Big 12, OSU and Baylor are the greatest possibilities. If Baylor loses one of its last two games and doesn’t make the Fiesta, then the Bears probably are Cotton-bound. If OSU loses to Baylor and beats OU, the Cowboys probably are headed to the Cotton. Texas or OU might be Cotton-bound if Baylor and OU sweep OSU. The Sooners played in the Cotton last year, but there would be renewed excitement in Soonerville if OU wins Bedlam.
In the SEC, it’s not likely that Texas A&M makes a return trip to the Cotton. For one thing, the Capital One Bowl, which usually takes an SEC East team, doesn’t have a glittering lineup of options. It should prefer to have the glamour of Johnny Manziel. Pencil in A&M for the Cap One.
Auburn seems likely for the Sugar Bowl, assuming it loses to Alabama. That means LSU is the likely Cotton Bowl foe for the Big 12.
OSU isn’t likely to be considered for the Alamo, since it played in the Alamodome in September, against Texas-San Antonio. So if Texas and Baylor took the Fiesta and Cotton slots, the Cowboys likely would slip to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
If Stanford somehow sneaks back into the BCS, the Alamo would look at Southern Cal (8-3), UCLA (8-2) or ArizonaState (8-2).
BUFFALO WILD WINGS
We’ve covered this one pretty well. Tech seems out of the picture. So is KSU, since the ‘Cats were in the Fiesta Bowl last year, and the bowl officials in the Valley learned from OU that going from the Fiesta in one season (2010) to the lesser Phoenix bowl (2011 Insight) does not make for an excited fan base.
Otherwise, Texas seems most likely, with OU next. Kansas State and OSU also remain candidates.
The Big 12’s No. 5 team could come from Kansas State or Texas Tech, most likely, though OU, Texas and OSU also could slip this far. You never know. OSU fell all the way to the Heart of Dallas Bowl last year, and no one saw that coming.
The Holiday picks the No. 3 Pac-12 team, which again will likely come from the trio of USC, UCLA or Arizona State. Southern Cal never has played in the Holiday Bowl.
The Houston game would like to avoid Texas Tech, since it had the Red Raiders last year. Actually, it would like to avoid Tech-Minnesota, since that was the matchup last year and could be again this year.
Best scenario for Houston: Tech upsets Texas, and the Longhorns tumble to the Houston Bowl. Maybe Texas-Iowa, since Minnesota could go to the Gator Bowl.
K-State could fall to Houston, if the Wildcats fade, starting with a loss to OU.