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Bowl season is nearly upon us.
There's only one full week of college football regular season action remaining, meaning the postseason schedule should be taking shape shortly. But for the most part, the BCS has taken the guessing out of the equation this season in regards to the most important bowl games.
Look at the BCS Championship, for example. Alabama has completed its season, so everything weighs on the SEC Championship between LSU and Georgia. If LSU wins then the Tigers move to the BCS title game for a rematch against Alabama.
However, if Georgia pulls the upset, then Alabama prepares for... a rematch with LSU. Yeah, it's a lock. There isn't a relevant game relating to the BCS Championship in the season's final regular season, which kills the BCS's greatest argument about its relevance.
The BCS has always claimed that it makes every week in the regular season a potential playoff game. It's actually something I've always said in my somewhat support of the system. See, I don't have nearly as much disdain for the BCS as many do. I see a system that's better than the old bowl system. The BCS hasn't been a complete failure. It has brought us some of the best bowl matchups we wouldn't have seen otherwise like the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma or the 2005 Rose Bowl between Texas and Michigan.
Then, of course, there was the 2006 BCS Championship in the Rose Bowl between USC and Texas, which is arguably the greatest championship game ever played. But while the BCS has certainly had its positive effects on the face of college football, the system receives a lot more negative criticism from media and fans. I think this is why you find the BCS committee changing its tune in regards to forming a playoff in the near future.
But there is no playoff to look forward to this season. It's the same system as always and unless some crazy shakeup happens, LSU-Bama will be in the BCS title game in New Orleans. The only chance, and it's a slim one at that, of not seeing a Tigers-Tide rematch is for Georgia to handily defeat LSU in the SEC Championship while Oklahoma State throttles Oklahoma in Bedlam. If those two things occur, then there's a shot for Oklahoma State to jump LSU in the polls. But it's hard to believe enough voters will be swayed to move Oklahoma State ahead of LSU in that scenario.
But the title game isn't the only BCS bowl that's already been basically decided. With Oregon playing lowly UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship, it's a given the Ducks will play the winner of the first ever Big Ten Championship between Wisconsin and Michigan State in the Rose Bowl.
The Fiesta Bowl gets the winner of the Big 12, which will be the victor of Bedlam between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. With Stanford pretty much guaranteed a BCS bid and being the most attractive at-large option, the Fiesta Bowl, which gets the first at-large selection, is likely to choose the Cardinal as the opponent for Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
The winner of the ACC, either Clemson or Virginia Tech, is headed for the Orange Bowl, which has the final choice of at-large teams, which likely leaves the Miami-based game with the winner of the Big East -- West Virginia, Cincinnati or Louisville.
The Sugar Bowl is really the only BCS bowl with a completely unclear matchup. Another upset or two in the final week of the regular season could completely change the Sugar Bowl's projection. If Georgia beats LSU, then the Bulldogs earn the SEC's bid to the Sugar Bowl, which would put three teams from a single conference into the BCS for the first time in its history. That's only possible if LSU and Alabama are still playing in the title game, though. Georgia would likely see Houston as its opponent in this scenario as long as the Cougars win the Conference USA Championship against Southern Miss.
Or say LSU takes care of business against Georgia, but Oklahoma upsets Oklahoma State (strange to even call that one an upset, isn't it?) then the Sooners get the Big 12 bid into the Fiesta Bowl and Oklahoma State would likely get an at-large bid into the Sugar Bowl to play Houston.
Or Houston could get upset by So. Miss and Boise State could sneak back in as an at-large bid and play in the Sugar Bowl against potentially Michigan. But the Wolverines are hoping for no upsets this weekend because that creates the best scenario for them to move up high enough in the BCS rankings to become eligible for an at-large bid. If Michigan does become BCS eligible -- it needs to be ranked at least 14th in the BCS standings to do so -- then the Wolverines are almost assured a spot in a BCS game ahead of higher ranked teams because of how well they can draw.
But even with all the questions surrounding who might potentially play in the Sugar Bowl, the BCS has failed to create late-season drama -- something that is supposed to always happen in this system.
It's not like college football fans aren't going to watch it all unfold anyway, though. In fact, this college football fan went as far as to try to predict how the entire bowl picture might look. #whatasinglemanobsessedwithfootballdoesinhissparetime
Notes: Many will notice I have teams not affiliated with a certain conference plugged into some bowl games. Not every conference, most notably the Pac-12 and Conference USA was able to fill all of its bowl affiliations with eligible teams. In those cases, at-large bids were received instead. Also, Notre Dame is eligible for any bowl game affiliated with the Big East, which is why they plug into the Champs Sports Bowl. ... The numerical listings of each game indicates what order they are allowed to select a team from each conference. Bowl games are not required to invite the next best team available from its affiliated conferences. It's about making the best matchup that will sell tickets, so region is also taken into consideration at times. However, there are several bowl games that do typically invite the next team in line from each conference. ... Only four teams -- BYU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State -- had officially accepted bowl bids at the time this was posted.
|New Mexico||Albuquerque, N.M.||MWC 4 or 5 vs. Pac-12 7||San Diego St. vs. Temple|
|Humanitarian||Boise||WAC 1 or 2 vs. MAC 3||Nevada vs. Ohio|
|New Orleans||New Orleans||Sun Belt 1 vs. CUSA 5||La-Lafayette vs. W. Michigan|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||St. Petersburg||Big East 6 vs. CUSA 4||Pitt vs. Fla. International|
|Poinsettia||San Diego||MWC 2 vs. WAC||Boise St. vs. La. Tech|
|MAACO Las Vegas||Las Vegas||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 5||TCU vs. Utah|
|Hawaii||Honolulu||CUSA 2 vs. Hawaii/WAC 3||So. Miss vs. Utah St.|
|Independence||Shreveport||MWC 3 vs. ACC 7||Wyoming vs. Miami|
|Little Caesars Pizza||Detroit||MAC 1 vs. Big Ten 8||No. Ill. vs. Northwestern|
|Belk||Charlotte||Big East 3 vs. ACC 5||Cincinnati vs. Wake Forest|
|Military Bowl||Washington DC||ACC 8 vs. Navy or at-large||NC State vs. Illinois|
|Holiday||San Diego||Big 12 5 vs. Pac-12 3||Missouri vs. Cal|
|Champs Sports||Orlando||Big East 2 vs. ACC 3||Notre Dame vs. Florida St.|
|Alamo||San Antonio||Big 12 3 vs. Pac12 2||Oklahoma vs. Washington|
|Armed Forces||Fort Worth||CUSA3 vs. BYU or MWC 4 or 5||Marshall vs. BYU|
|Pinstripe||Bronx||Big East 4 vs. Big 12 7||Rutgers vs. Texas A&M|
|Music City||Nashville||ACC 6 vs. SEC 7||Ga. Tech vs. Vanderbilt|
|Insight||Tempe||Big Ten 4 vs. Big 12 4||Nebraska vs. Baylor|
|Meineke Car Care||Houston||Big Ten 6 vs. Big 12 6||Ohio State vs. Texas|
|Sun||El Paso||ACC 4 vs. Pac-12 4||Virginia vs. Arizona St.|
|Liberty||Memphis||SEC 8 vs. CUSA 1||Mississippi State vs. Tulsa|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||San Francisco||Pac 12 vs. Army or ACC||Air Force vs. North Carolina|
|Chick-fil-A||Atlanta||ACC 2 vs. SEC 5||Clemson vs. Auburn|
|TicketCity||Dallas||Big Ten vs. CUSA||Purdue vs. SMU|
|Outback||Tampa||SEC 3 or 4 vs. Big Ten 3||South Carolina vs. Penn St.|
|Capital One||Orlando||Big Ten 2 vs. SEC 2||Michigan St. vs. Georgia|
|Gator||Jacksonville||Big Ten 4 or 5 vs SEC 6||Iowa vs. Florida|
|Rose||Pasadena||Big Ten champ vs. Pac-12 champ||Wisconsin vs. Oregon|
|Sugar||New Orleans||SEC champ vs. BCS at-large||Michigan vs. Houston|
|Orange||Miami||BCS at-large vs. ACC champ||West Virginia vs. Va. Tech|
|Fiesta||Glendale||BCS at-large vs. Big 12 champ||Stanford vs. Oklahoma St.|
|Cotton||Arlington||SEC 3 or 4 vs. Big 12 2||Arkansas vs. Kansas St.|
|BBVA Compass||Birmingham||Big East 5 vs. SEC 8||Louisville vs. Iowa St.|
|GoDaddy.com||Mobile||Sun Belt vs. MAC 2||Arkansas St. vs. Toledo|
|BCS Championship||Pasadena||BCS 1 vs. BCS 2||LSU vs. Alabama|
Week 13's Top 10 Performances
10. Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
Rushing, 28-184, 3 TDs
Stacy has been a big piece in Vanderbilt's improved performance this season and was domnant in the Commodores' 41-7 victory against Wake Forest that made them bowl eligible. The junior RB scored three times in a single game for the third time this season. Impressive considering he had all of three rushing TDs all of last season.
9. Patrick Edwards, WR, Houston
Receiving, 8-181, 4 TDs
It's easy to put Case Keenum on this list every week, but Edwards deserves just as much recognition. Edwards ranks fifth in receiving yards per game and has 1,496 on the season. He's also scored 18 TDs -- more than any other receiver in the country. Friday's 48-16 victory against Tulsa was the third time this season Edwards scored at least four times in a single game.
8. Terrance Parks, S, Florida State
6 tackles, 2 TFL, 29-yard INT return TD
Parks is typically known as a big hitter at safety, but he was recruited to Florida State as a CB. The Florida State senio showed off his cover skills with the first intereception of his career as a Seminole, returning it 29 yards for a TD and giving the Seminoles a comfortable margin in a 21-7 victory against rival Florida. This was by far Parks' best statistical game of the season. Rivalry week is always perfect for such a timely performance.
7. Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
Rushing, 42-246, 2 TDs
With Robert Griffin III on the sidelines with a concussion, Ganaway took over, carrying the ball a school-record 42 times in Baylor's decisive 66-42 victory against rival Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Ganaway is actually ranked 17th in the nation in rushing yards per game -- a fact lost on many as the senior RB is consistently overshadowed by Griffin.
6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Passing, 35-42-0, 423 yards, 6 TDs
Barkley essentially ensured his spot in New York at the Heisman Trophy presentation as he guided the Trojans to a 50-0 victory against rival UCLA. Barkley also likely ended the coaching career of Rick Neuheisel at UCLA and might have also cemented himself as a top five pick in April's NFL Draft. He's been better than Andrew Luck over the final month of the season.
5. Julian Miller, DT, West Virginia
12 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 sacks
Miller was a disruptive force in the middle of West Virginia's defense, with a career high four sacks in the Mountaineers' 21-20 win against rival Pitt. It's the high point in what has been a frustrating season for Miller, who had registered nine sacks in his two previous seasons as a Mountaineers starter. Miller had just one sack this season entering the Backyard Brawl with Pitt.
4. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Rushing, 25-156, 4 TDs
Ball is unlikely to get a Heisman invite and it will be the biggest travesty of this season if he doesn't. The Wisconsin junior RB now has 34 TDs this season and has found the end zone at least once in every game he's played this season. He's third in the nation in rushing yards per game and has a chance to add to those totals in the Big Ten Championship against Michigan State.
3. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Passing, 14-20-0, 210 yards, 3 TDs; Rushing, 19-107, 1 TD
Steve Spurrier is probably wishing he had put Shaw in at QB a couple weeks earlier this season. The sophomore QB has been particularly stellar in the last two weeks and provided the Gamecocks with pivotal play on offense in a 34-13 victory against rival Clemson. With a healthy Marcus Lattimore and Shaw next season, the Gamecocks have to feel better about the offense.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
8 tackles, 2 FFs, 1 FR, 92-yard punt return TD
Mathieu hasn't lacked for hype as to his defensive prowess this season. Mathieu is capable of doing it all and did a little bit of everything in LSU's 41-17 dismantling of rival Arkansas on Friday. LSU opened the game down 14-0, but had pulled within a TD when Mathieu took a punt back 92 yards to tie the game. On the next possession, he forced a fumble the Tigers recovered and eventually turned into another score, giving the Tigers a 21-14 lead. They never looked back from there.
1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Passing, 14-17-0, 167 yards, 3 TDs; Rushing, 26-170, 2 TDs
Robinson isn't known for his accuracy, but he picked apart rival Ohio State's defense, throwing just three incompletions in the Wolverines' 40-34 victory Saturday. It was the best passing performance of Robinson's career and just the third time this season he didn't throw an interception. Accomplishing that feat against Ohio State is much more impressive than doing it against Western Michigan and Minnesota, though.
Hull's Week 13 Top 25 Poll