Unbeaten ND to Sugar or Rose Bowl?

It’s moved past the half-way point of the season, but there is still time to stop and consider some issues that will be resolved in the next 5 to 6 weeks.

So let’s start.

Best chance to be in the BCS title game–Right now it looks easy. Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame are the front-runners.

Of that group, Kansas State and Notre Dame appear to have the best chance of making it to 12-0. We’ll find out about both Oregon and Alabama this week when they take on USC and LSU on the road.

I’m not sure if there are any great teams out there this season.  Alabama comes close and Oregon might be near that, which is why I think the best BCS title game would be Alabama vs. Oregon. Nothing against Kansas State or ND, I just think I would rather see Oregon and its rapid-fire offense vs Alabama’s defense.

If I play that out, here’s how the BCS bowl games might match-up.

BCS title game

Alabama (13-0) vs. Oregon (13-0).

Orange Bowl

FSU (12-1) vs.  Oklahoma (10-2)

Sugar Bowl

Notre Dame (12-0) vs Boise State  (11-1)

Fiesta  Bowl

Kansas State (12-0) vs.  Louisville (12-0)

Rose Bowl

LSU (10-2)vs. Nebraska (10-3)

This could all change after Saturday, of course. But if you play out the season with four undefeated teams at the end (a stretch considering the history of upsets which always occur in November), the maneuverings of the BCS bowls will be interesting to  watch.

The BCS rules state that bowls which lose teams to the BCS title game get the first choices, which means that the Sugar Bowl, which loses Alabama, and the Rose Bowl, which loses Oregon, have the first two picks.

Here’s where it gets even more complicated. The Sugar Bowl will have to choose between taking a second SEC team–normally a slam dunk–and an unbeaten Notre Dame. And if the SEC team is LSU it becomes even more of a political football for the New Orelans’ based Sugar Bowl committee.

I think the Sugar Bowl will grab an unbeaten Notre Dame team since more fans will come to the game earlier and stay later than LSU fans, who can make it a one or two night stay. Making it easier to sell is the fact that LSU will not be shut out of the BCS.

So now it is the Rose Bowl’s choice to find a replacement for Oregon.  Again, the normal procedure would be to simply put in the Pac-12 runner-up.  But what if no Pac-12 team qualifies under the BCS ranking rules, which is a possibility?

The Rose Bowl won’t take two Big Ten teams. It won’t take a  Big East team. It won’t take Boise State. It probably won’t take an ACC team, which leaves the  Big 12 and SEC. The  guess is that the choice will be LSU.

The Fiesta Bowl, which will take unbeaten Big 12 champion Kansas State. will grab an unbeaten Big East champion in Louisville.

So that bowl is now filled.

The Orange Bowl needs an opponent for ACC champion Florida State and the Sugar Bowl needs an opponent for Notre Dame.

I think the  Sugar Bowl will take Boise State which will leave the Orange Bowl with a choice of having an ACC rematch in Clemson vs. Florida State or a Florida State-Big Twelve runner-up match up, with Florida State vs. Oklahoma being the biggest draw.

The key figure in all of this is Notre Dame, which if it is unbeaten could wind up in the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl or, if the Sugar Bowl sticks with the SEC, the Rose Bowl.

Even with 1 loss, the Irish will almost certainly wind up in a BCS bowl–probably the Fiesta Bowl.

All of this could change after Saturday, but for now, that’s the way it looks.

Here’s some other slightly past halftime observations:.

Coaches on the Hot Seat

1. Move past Boston College coach Frank Spaziani because that seat is too hot for anyone right now.

Other than BC here’s a guess as to those coaches in the most jeopardy.

1. Gene Chizik, Auburn

2. Derek Dooley, Tennessee

3. John L. Smith, Arkansas–Basically a done deal already

4,  Joker Phillips, Kentucky

5. Jeff Tedford, California


Heisman Trophy Leaders

1.  Collin Klein, Kansas State

2. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

3,  A.J. McCarron, Alabama

4.  Geno Smith, West  Virginia

5.  Marquise Lee, USC


Coach of The Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

2. Bill O’Brien, Penn State

3,  Brian Kelly, Notre  Dame

4.  Mike Riley, Oregon State

5.   Kyle Flood, Rutgers


Biggest Surprise

1. Notre Dame’s emergence as a national contender

2. Penn State’s progress despite all the turmoil around the program and the school

3.  Rutgers turning into a Big East power under first year coach Kyle Flood

4. The lack of quality teams in the Big 10

5. USC’s failure to utilize all its talent.


© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

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