The College Football Notebook

November 14, 2010 6:27 AM

BCS Bowl Projections

BCSChampionshipTrophy.jpg The SEC Championship Game is set. South Carolina will meet Auburn on December 4 to settle the league title. The Gamecocks wrapped up the East last night with a complete dismantling of Florida 36-14, in the Swamp no less. The game was as mismatched as the score makes it sound. The Gators ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and didn't score again until the game was all but over late. Auburn survived a test from Georgia and eventually pulled away to win 49-31. The Tigers still have Alabama in front of them, but they have a two-game lead on the Tide and Arkansas, and hold the tiebreaker on one-loss LSU. The only question for Auburn is whether they will still be unbeaten when the league title is settled.

In other major conferences...

ACC: Virginia Tech beat North Carolina 26-10, allowing an early Heels touchdown and then taking over in methodical fashion. I misspoke yesterday when I said a Hokie win clinched the Coastal Division. They have a two-game lead, but still have Virginia to play after a road trip to Miami the only team left who can catch them. As long as Tech beats the Cavs, they are home free for the ACC Championship Game. On the Atlantic side, Florida State nipped Clemson 16-13 and prevented that race from becoming even more chaotic. With the Tigers out, it's now "only" a three-way tie among FSU, Maryland and N.C. State. The Terps host their two rivals the next two weeks.

Big Ten: Iowa fell out of the four-way tie for first with a loss to Northwestern. If Ohio State beats the Hawkeyes next week and stays in a three-way with Wisconsin & Michigan State, it comes down to BCS ranking. Ohio State is narrowly trailing Wisconsin, who hung 83 points on Indiana yesterday to make their own statement. Michigan State needs to take care of Purdue and Penn State and hope it's a two-way tie with Wisconsin, whom they beat.

Big 12: Form held in this conference for once this year. Nebraska beat Kansas and remained on track to win the North. Oklahoma hammered Texas Tech and Oklahoma State continued Texas' season of misery. The Sooners & Cowboys are on track to settle the South in two weeks. Texas needs to win its least two just to be 6-6 and bowl eligible.

Pac-10: Oregon got a hair-raising test in Berkeley last night, but hung on to beat Cal 15-13, keeping control of the Pac-10 race and likely of their trip to the national championship game if they win the last two. Stanford also escaped, 17-13 over Arizona State and is in the hunt for an at-large BCS bid.

Other: Boise pounded Idaho on Friday night. TCU fell behind a good San Diego State team early and let them rally late. In between the Horned Frogs dominated enough to win 40-35. The Big East race got interesting on Thursday night when Pitt fell at UConn. The Panthers lead is cut to one game and Big East play goes all the way through December 4, so there's plenty of time for someone like West Virginia, who still gets Pitt head-to-head to make a move.

Here's how I see the major bowl matchups shaking out. I'm picking Alabama to beat Auburn in two weeks, which explains the championship matchup...

BCS National Championship: Oregon vs. TCU
Rose: Wisconsin vs. Stanford
Sugar: Auburn vs. Boise State
Orange: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
Fiesta: Nebraska vs. Pitt

Key question: Would the BCS really do the right thing and take Boise over an 11-1 Big Ten co-champion that lost a Rose Bowl tiebreaker, especially if that team was Ohio State. Some might call it naïve, but I think so, if only for the fact they don't want another round of lawsuits and congressional anti-trust hearings.

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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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