On this final Saturday of the college football season, the stakes remain high for the No. 12 ( 10-2 ) Oregon Ducks as they resume practice and wait patiently for BCS bowl decisions to be made Sunday. ( 5:30 pm PST – ESPN )
After a fun filled Friday in the snow, the Ducks went back to work Saturday morning to continue bowl preparations for an opponent and destination they won’t know until those match-ups are announced Sunday.
With an intriguing slate of college football games on Saturday’s schedule, Duck fans will be rooting for the Texas Longhorns to upset the No. 9 Baylor Bears to open the door for the Ducks to accept an at-large bid after Northern Illinois lost to Bowling Green Friday night.
After the Huskies loss to Bowling Green, a total of four at-large bids into BCS games are now up for grabs.
If form holds, Florida State and Ohio State will meet in the National Championship game on January 6th. That can only happen if the Buckeyes win the Big 10 Championship over Michigan State. If that happens, it’s likely the Spartans will still be invited to play in the Rose Bowl against the Arizona State – Stanford winner.
The Orange Bowl is typically the home of the ACC champion. That changes if the Seminoles win their conference championship over Duke and go on to play for the coaches trophy in Pasadena. This is where it could get interesting because the Orange Bowl really has two slots open and has the opportunity to select first among the BCS bowls. It’s likely the Orange Bowl will select the No. 4 ( 11-1 ) Alabama.
The next selection goes to the Rose Bowl. The Granddaddy of them all will get Arizona State or Stanford from the Pac-12 and typically the winner of the Big 10. If Ohio State dominates the Spartans and goes on to play in the National Championship, the Rose Bowl could still select Michigan State. But if the Spartans lose and fall out of the top 14 in the BCS rankings, the Rose Bowl has the opportunity to select another team.
Because No. 13 ( 10-2 ) Clemson isn’t the most attractive selection for the Rose Bowl, they could select a number of teams including Baylor and Oregon. Yes, Oregon could still play in the Rose Bowl but all of the chips must fall in their favor including an Arizona State win over Stanford and a Baylor loss to Texas.
Next, the Sugar Bowl has their selection. With Alabama going to the Orange Bowl under this scenario, the Sugar would likely select the winner of the SEC championship game which is the conference tie to this bowl. ( Missouri or Auburn )
Because the Fiesta Bowl will get the champions of the Big 12 ( Likely Oklahoma St. ) and American Conference ( Univ. of Central Florida ), that only leaves two at-large selections in the Orange and Sugar Bowls. With Oregon and Clemson, the two highest rated remaining BCS teams waiting, either could be selected to go to Miami or New Orleans.
This could only occur if Baylor loses to Texas. If both Baylor and Oklahoma State win, then only Clemson and the Ducks would vie for the final remaining at-large. Under this scenario, Clemson would likely be invited to the Orange Bowl to play Alabama because of the bowls natural tie to the ACC. Baylor would likely then be invited to play in the Sugar Bowl against Missouri or Auburn leaving the Ducks out of the BCS fold.
No matter what, Saturday sets up a great day of college football with a lot of possibilities.