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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

Down the Stretch With the B.C.S.

The main difference is in the bottom line: L.S.U., not Alabama, will be the SEC representative in the B.C.S. national title game. But the basics remain the same: the SEC will have a chance to continue its run atop college football with a team defined by a defense-first mentality and a confidence to go toe-to-toe with any team in the country, whether home or away. It’s just L.S.U., not Alabama, and no, I don’t think we’ll see a rematch. Which is a good thing. At least Alabama will still see its season end in B.C.S. play; you can no longer say the same of Nebraska, which blew its shot at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Rose Bowl

Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Oregon (At-Large)

So it won’t be the Cornhuskers: Nebraska took a wonderful opportunity — controlling its own destiny in the Legends division — and threw it away, losing at home to a fairly average Northwestern team to drop one full game behind Michigan State in the conference standings. Wisconsin would get the better of the Spartans in a rematch, in my mind, and all Oregon needs to do is not lose to Stanford and U.S.C. over its next two games. The Ducks will go to Pasadena at 10-2, but not at 9-3.

Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Boise State (At-Large)

For O.U. to get this far — and farther, since that’s a possibility — it would obviously need to knock off Oklahoma State in the season finale. But the Sooners could theoretically land a Fiesta Bowl berth even with a loss to the Cowboys, should O.S.U. earn a spot in the national title game. Waiting in the Fiesta, should that be where the Sooners fall, is Boise State: O.U. remembers Boise State. We all remember Boise State and Oklahoma’s meeting six years ago, and I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Sugar Bowl

Alabama (At-Large) vs. Oklahoma State (At-Large)

There’s a way for Alabama to land a rematch with L.S.U. in January, but it’s far more likely that the Crimson Tide land in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since losing the 2009 version to Utah. Alabama’s defense would meet Oklahoma State’s offense — each team at 11-1 — in perhaps the most intriguing bowl matchup of the season outside the national title game.

Orange Bowl

Virginia Tech (A.C.C.) vs. Cincinnati (Big East)

Cincinnati can lose to West Virginia and still take home the Big East, such is the job the Mountaineers have done blowing a conference that seemed theirs for the taking. In appreciation of winning the Big East, the Bearcats will earn a second B.C.S. bowl date with Virginia Tech since 2009, when the pair met in, yes, the Orange Bowl. To get to this point, the Hokies need to get past Georgia Tech on Thursday — a very serious test — and then get the better of Clemson in the pair’s second meeting on the season.

B.C.S. Championship Game

L.S.U. (B.C.S. No. 1) vs. Stanford (B.C.S. No. 2)

I think Stanford should play in the national title game ahead of Oklahoma state even if the Cowboys, like the Cardinal, finish the regular season without a loss. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily be upset about the B.C.S. rankings should O.S.U. get the call; clearly, the Cowboys would be deserving, even if the Cardinal, in my opinion, are the better team. But I don’t think O.S.U. survives without a blemish; even with O.U.’s losses, such as Ryan Broyles to a knee injury, I think the Sooners win the season finale. That would put Stanford here. L.S.U., of course, is cruising here with little trouble, most believe.

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Comments

  1. Dr. Nick says:

    Aside from the obligatory white-washing of the Big East representative, this would be a very good slate of games. A rematch of one of the greatest bowl games ever played, a classic Rose Bowl match-up between teams that personify the Big 10 and Pac 12, a pair of teams with completely different philosophies, and a title game with between the nation’s best defense and the one team that might be able to use the power run game and the play action to move the ball on them. That’s a pretty darn good set of games.

    Of course we’ll probably end up with something far less appealing, but such is life with the BCS.

  2. IsaacTM says:

    People are really overlooking that Arkansas/LSU matchup at the end of the year. Arkansas won it it last year, albeit with a different team, and they have a good enough team to do it this year. It would take a lot for them to pull the upset, especially in Death Valley, but it isn’t at night and Wilson has proven to be a more than capable replacement for Mallett.

  3. Jams says:

    The reason you can’t believe it’s been six years since Boise State – Oklahoma is that it only happened five years ago.

  4. Dave says:

    I would rather watch the WAC # 4 play the Sun Belt # 5 than watch that Orange Bowl.

  5. BobJ says:

    @Dave – or a couple of MAC/CUSA teams that have no defense to speak of.

    If OkSt finishes the regular season without a loss, but not If Stanford . . .?

  6. DMK says:

    Out of
    Stanford-Oregon
    OkSt-Oklahoma
    LSU-Arky
    LSU-UGA
    we will see two upsets

    And everyone in the world would love to see Bama-Boise. Can it happen? Far more interesting than Bama-OkSt.

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