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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

One Final Stab at the B.C.S.

In advance of tonight’s unveiling, let’s take one final stab at projecting this season’s B.C.S. field. We know which pair will meet for the national title will meet in Glendale on Jan. 10; what about the remaining eight teams? Not surprisingly, the field has changed little since a week ago: conference champions have been decided, but the at-large spots remain static.

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1

Wisconsin vs. T.C.U.

It would be strange to see Wisconsin leapfrogged by either Ohio State or Michigan State, though it’s difficult to project where the threesome will fall in the final computer rankings. One thing is assured: it will be T.C.U., whether the Rose Bowl committee likes it or not. My guess — and this is purely conjecture — is that they’re not too pleased. Look for the terrific Wisconsin fan base to travel to Pasadena in droves; it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we see upwards of 40,000 red-clad Wisconsinites enjoying both the game and the nice weather.

Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1

Oklahoma vs. Connecticut

Each clinched this berth last night: Oklahoma did so by defeating Nebraska, while Connecticut squeaked past U.S.F. to clinch the Big East. Are you excited for this game yet? It does bear noting that the Huskies entered last season’s Papajohns.com Bowl as decided underdogs against South Carolina but thoroughly dominated the Gamecocks. These Sooners are a better team, of course, but they would be wise not to overlook the Huskies.

Orange Bowl, Jan. 3

Virginia Tech vs. Stanford

I said a week ago that the Orange Bowl would be worried about Stanford not bringing a large contingent of fans to this game — I stand corrected. Several readers pointed out that while Stanford might not sell out its own stadium, the national alumni base does attend bowl games on a fairly strong level. So that’s good news for the Orange Bowl. There’s more good news: this game pits two of the hottest teams in the country. Look for plenty of scoring, unless the Hokies use the added bowl practices to locate a defense.

Sugar Bowl, Jan. 4

Ohio State vs. Arkansas

The SEC has not been kind to Ohio State, but the Buckeyes showed a year ago — in beating Oregon in the Rose Bowl — that they have a defense capable of slowing down the nation’s more fast-paced, prolific offenses. O.S.U. will have its hands full with Arkansas, but it should also feel confident in its ability to run the ball effectively, controlling the clock and keeping Ryan Mallett on the sidelines. Arkansas is the only two-loss at-large team in this year’s B.C.S., but the Razorbacks have done enough to earn this bid; those two losses came at the hands of Auburn and Alabama.

National Championship Game, Jan. 10

Auburn vs. Oregon

No. 1 and No. 2. Since the wait for this game will seem interminable, I’m going to save any discussion for another time.

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  1. Chris says:

    UCONN-USC wasnt in the Outback Bowl.

    Still would put the # of UCONN and Stanford fans traveling to their Bowl games at about 5K.

    Paul: Oops. Was the Papajohns. Thanks, Chris. Fixed it above.

  2. 31southst says:

    Paul – I completely agree with your thoughts on twitter last night re: UConn in the BCS. I would just like to add that Temple, a two-touchdown winner over UConn, got left out of the bowls this year. Oklahoma-UConn is going to be Georgia-Hawaii part two.

  3. Dave says:

    I love bashing the BCS as much as the next guy, but I have to admit, other than the Fiesta Bowl, this is a great set of games. Always fun to see two teams that have never played match up, and I think we are getting that x 3 or 4 here if I’m not mistaken.

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