Updated 2013 bowl projections, Week 14: Florida State-Ohio State within reach
One week away from Selection Sunday, we have a new championship game. And it's not exactly locked in yet, either. Projections for all 35 bowl games here.
"This will be fun," you thought, as Auburn cornerback Chris Davis went through the motions of fielding Alabama's 57-yard Hail Mary of a field goal with one second left.
As he churned left around Alabama's sprawling linemen, picking up big blocks by LaDarius Owens and Kris Frost and Ryan Smith, you realized he might actually make it pretty far up the field. Too bad he's about to step out of bounds, though. Seemed like he could've made it pretty far if not for that sideline.
But he didn't step out of bounds. Then Alabama's No. 29, its punter and holder, couldn't lay a hand on him. Then you wondered who Bama had back that could catch him. Then he cut back toward the middle. CBS' camera zoomed out, looking for the answer. Alabama had only a plodding lineman, already out of hope. Then you saw green. Then you don't know whether you started screaming or kept screaming. You just screamed. Everything changed.
Ohio State fans and players immediately grasped the significance: the Buckeyes are one win over Michigan State away from playing Florida State for the national title (and no, not even the SEC champ is jumping an unbeaten team from a power conference with master BCS-politicker Urban Meyer around). (The Noles need to down Duke as well, but let's pencil that one in.) And the rest of the bowl picture was shaken up as well.
New projections here. And yes, I had Auburn in a BCS game last week and now in a non-BCS game, despite the Tigers just ending Alabama's dynasty. Allow me to explain below.
|Bowl||Matchup (Not always tied to conference standings)||Team||Team|
|1/6/2014||BCS National Championship (Pasadena)||BCS 1 vs. BCS 2||Florida State||Ohio State|
|1/3/2014||Orange (Miami)||Florida State replacement vs. At-large 1||Alabama||Clemson|
|1/2/2014||Sugar (New Orleans)||SEC 1 vs. At-large 2||Missouri||UCF|
|1/1/2014||Rose (Pasadena)||Ohio State replacement vs. Pac-12 1||Michigan State||Stanford|
|1/1/2014||Fiesta (Glendale, AZ)||Big 12 1 vs. At-large 4||Oklahoma State||Northern Illinois|
|1/5/2014||GoDaddy (Mobile, AL)||MAC 2 vs. Sun Belt 2||Ball State||Western Kentucky|
|1/4/2014||BBVA Compass (B'ham)||SEC 9 vs. AAC 5||Mississippi State||Rutgers|
|1/3/2014||Cotton (Arlington)||Big 12 2 vs. SEC 3||Baylor||LSU|
|1/1/2014||Capital One (Orlando)||Big Ten 2 vs. SEC 2||Wisconsin||Auburn|
|1/1/2014||Gator (Jacksonville)||Big Ten 4 vs. SEC 6||Minnesota||Georgia|
|1/1/2014||Heart of Dallas||Big Ten 7 vs. C-USA||North Carolina*||Rice|
|1/1/2014||Outback (Tampa)||Big Ten 3 vs. SEC 4||Iowa||South Carolina|
|12/31/2013||Chick-fil-A (Atlanta)||ACC 2 vs. SEC 5||Duke||Texas A&M|
|12/31/2013||Independence (Shreveport)||SEC 10 vs. ACC 7||Washington State*||Pitt|
|12/31/2013||Liberty (Memphis)||C-USA 1 vs. SEC 8||Marshall||Vanderbilt|
|12/31/2013||Sun (El Paso)||ACC 4 vs. Pac-12 4||Virginia Tech||UCLA|
|12/30/2013||Alamo (San Antonio)||Big 12 3 vs. Pac-12 2||Oklahoma||Oregon|
|12/30/2013||Armed Forces (Ft. Worth)||MWC 3 vs. C-USA/Navy||Boise State||Navy**|
|12/30/2013||Holiday (San Diego)||Pac-12 3 vs. Big 12 5||Arizona State||Kansas State|
|12/30/2013||Music City (Nashville)||ACC 6 vs. SEC 7||Georgia Tech||Ole Miss|
|12/28/2013||Belk (Charlotte)||AAC 3 vs. ACC 5||Cincinnati||Boston College|
|12/28/2013||Buffalo Wild Wings (PHX)||Big 12 4 vs. Big Ten 5||Texas||Michigan|
|12/28/2013||Pinstripe (New York)||Big 12 7 vs. AAC 4||Notre Dame*||Houston|
|12/28/2013||Russell Athletic (Orlando)||AAC 2 vs. ACC 3||Louisville||Miami|
|12/27/2013||Fight Hunger (San Francisco)||Pac-12 6 vs. BYU/ACC 9||Washington||BYU**|
|12/27/2013||Military (Annapolis)||ACC 8 vs. C-USA||Maryland||Middle Tennessee|
|12/27/2013||Texas (Houston)||Big 12 6 vs. Big Ten 6||Texas Tech||Nebraska|
|12/26/2013||Little Caesars (Detroit)||MAC 1 vs. Big Ten 8||Bowling Green||Syracuse*|
|12/26/2013||Poinsettia (San Diego)||MWC 2 vs. Army||Fresno State||Ohio*|
|12/24/2013||Hawaii||MWC 5 vs. C-USA||San Jose State||North Texas|
|12/23/2013||Beef O'Brady's (St. Pete.)||AAC 6 vs. C-USA||Toledo*||East Carolina|
|12/21/2013||Idaho Potato (Boise)||MAC 3 vs. MWC 6||Buffalo||Colorado State|
|12/21/2013||Las Vegas||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 5||Utah State||USC|
|12/21/2013||New Mexico (Albuquerque)||MWC 4 vs. Pac-12 7||San Diego State||Arizona|
|12/21/2013||New Orleans||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA||UL Lafayette**||Tulane|
* Taking another conference's unfilled spot.
** Already locked in.
Bold: Moving up from last week, sort of.
Italics: Moving down from last week, sort of.
For reference, last week's projections.
We have a whole new order. The Orange Bowl will likely get the first pick, since it will probably have to replace No. 1 Florida State. The Rose will go second, and will almost certainly take a Big Ten team if one is available. The Orange is next up again, since it's first in the non-replacement order this year.
Assuming Michigan State doesn't fall out of the top 14 in the event of a loss to Ohio State next week, the Spartans are the Rose's replacement for the Buckeyes. That means the Orange essentially gets the first two real choices.
The two-time national champions will be available and likely ranked No. 4, with the other choice likely coming down to Baylor, Clemson, or Oregon -- matching the Tide against any of those three would've sounded like a dream national championship back in, say, September. Clemson could get the nod due to the Orange's partnership with the ACC, which will only strengthen in 2014 and beyond, when the bowl essentially becomes an ACC property.
After that, the choices could be done. If NIU beats Bowling Green, it's into the BCS. If UCF beats SMU, it's into the BCS. UCF is the easy choice over NIU for the Sugar.
AUBURN BEAT ALABAMA AND FELL?
Okay. So. Hear me out. Um.
Last week, Auburn looked like a lock for the Sugar Bowl's Alabama-replacement spot, which the Sugar would get by giving up Bama to the title game. Now, the Sugar's almost certainly not getting a choice. It gets the SEC Championship winner. And I think Missouri's better than Auburn.
The Tigers could still compete for an at-large spot in the Orange Bowl -- their recent and historical mini-rivalry with Clemson has been fun and could take its biggest stage yet. Or maybe an Auburn-Oregon rematch. Auburn fans certainly travel well, and could still be fired up enough to convince the Orange they'll travel to both Atlanta and Miami in one postseason despite a loss in the middle.
So while Auburn still has two shots left to get into a BCS game, I think they just miss it this year, due to a Mizzou SEC title and the Orange taking a one-loss reigning national champion over its two-loss archrival. Betting against Auburn does not feel smart right now, I can assure you. Not one bit smart.
Eight teams will be left out
There are 78 bowl-eligible teams right now. That number should hold through next weekend, but there are still only 70 spots to go around. There will be many justifiably disappointed fan bases around the country, and quite a few of them will likely be in the Sun Belt, sorry to say.
What's horrifically wrong here? What are you angry about? Any of these games look extra appealing?
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