Well with Iowa in our rear view, and the "Game of the Century" (cough) over, the BCS picture is clearer... The main points:
- LSU is in the drivers seat for the Nat'l championship game. They can probably even absorb a defeat vs Arkansas and still make it in so long as they beat the SEC East rep in the SEC champ game.
- LSU's opponent is likely Ok St or Stanford in that order if they both go undefeated. Ok St has one more chance to impress voters big time with a win over OU, and if Stanford beats Oregon, they will likely leapfrog Alabama.
- Your at larges at this point (in order) are probably Alabama, Boise St, and maybe Oklahoma??
- The Big East is only getting one team in the BCS.
- The projections for the BCS are (based on Fiesta-Sugar-Orange order for this year):
BCS championship: LSU vs. Ok St.
Rose (B1G v Pac12): B1G champ vs. Stanford
Fiesta (Big 12 v at large): Oklahoma (2-loss, 1st choice at large) v. Boise St (3rd at-large)
Orange (ACC v. at large): Clemson v. Houston/Oregon/B1G runner up
Sugar (SEC v at large): Ala (2nd choice at-large) v. West Virginia (4th at-large)
The biggest factor here is the order of the bowl selections. That will make a HUGE difference as you'll see:
- First the locks by contract: LSU & OkSt in the Nat'l Champ Game, aka the Les Miles Bowl; B1G champ (we'll say MSU for argument sake) and Stanford in the Rose; Clemson (ACC champ) in the Orange. That's it.
- The Fiest goes first to replace OkSt... Alabama isn't as attractive to them as a Big 12 team, so they take a Big 12 team eligible and even with two losses, a sure draw. they take Oklahoma.
- Next, the Sugar goes, and they take another SEC team to replace LSU. Alabama.
- Now we get back to the regular bowl selection order for this year, meaning the Fiesta goes first. they chose between the Big East champ (probably West Va), Boise who gets the non-AQ autoqualify slot, and a bunch of unattractive teams with 2 losses or more from power conferences or Houston. I think the Fiesta goes for undefeated Boise in a BSU v OU rematch.
- Next the Sugar gets an at-large pick, they get their choice of West Va, the same 2-loss teams as before or an undefeated Houston. Since an SEC team just played Oregon last year in the BCS, and teh Sugar doesn't want to take a flyer on Houston, it basically comes down to West Va, a 2nd B1G team (Wiscy? Penn St? Nebraska?), or an ACC at large, the highest ranking would be Va Tech. I think the Sugar goes West Va, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Wisconsin if the Badgers win out from here on and lose tiebreakers to Penn St to get into the B1G champ game.
- Finally the Orange gets to select their at-large team. Basically, they can't take an ACC team since Clemson is already there. So they chose between Oregon, 2nd B1G, undefeated Houston. Probably they take a Wisconsin or Penn St (JoePa's last game?) over the non-AQ Houston or the cross country traveling Oregon.
- If a 1-loss MSU gets to the B1G champ game and loses to Penn St or Wiscy, they probably become a good Orange at-large team... not Sugar since Saban blew their doors off last year.
- If Penn St gets to the B1G game and loses with the Sandusky cloud hanging over them, they might not be a good at-large candidate... this could cause a B1G trickle down with no 2nd B1G team in the BCS and everybody getting slotted one game lower.
- LSU can probably absorb an Arkansas loss, but an Arkansas loss with a loss to Georgia in the SEC title game??? Would the voters keep Alabama or LSU in the #2 slot knnowing that Boise blew out Georgia in the Georgia Dome to open the season? This will be the litmus test for SEC backlash.
- If Stanford gets to the BCS title game via a Ok St stumble against OU, look for Oregon to be the Rose fill-in for Stanford and no 2nd B1G team in the Orange or Sugar.
Could Michigan stil get in?
- Probably not but maybe.... it would take
1) us winning out including convincingly against Neb and OSU.
2) Wisconsin dropping another game, probably to Penn St
3) Penn St to lose in the B1G champ game in a blow out and have turmoil in the coaching / AD as a result of the Sandusky scandal.
At that point, we're a 2-loss team competing with a 2nd ACC team and the Big East champ for the right to go to the Sugar against Alabama. We might be prettier than West Va or Va Tech to the Sugar, although with the 2012 season game against Alabama, we're probably a better bet as an at-large to the Orange vs Clemson with West Va facing Alabama in an SEC sacrifice game.
- for chaos and death to the BCS: Stanford, Ok St, and Boise to win out with an embarassing LSU loss to Georgia in the SEC champ game.
- Michigan in the BCS: us to win out, Penn St to beat Wisconsin but lose another game