Alas, Bowl season is nearly upon us in college football and the BCS picture is finally becoming clearer. With today's BCS rankings, mixed with the probable results of Saturday's remaining regular season and conference championship games, we can begin to contemplate match-ups for the BCS bowl games.
I would not exactly call these predictions, rather they are favorable match-ups which I believe would result in a more entertaining bowl season for the fans and the schools involved.
BCS National Championship Game
Oregon vs. Auburn
-Auburn and Oregon are clearly the most deserving teams in college football. Pending the results of Saturday's SEC Championship game, Auburn will have gone undefeated in the toughest conference in college football. Oregon is no slouch either. The Ducks have a versatile offense and the most prolific runner in college football this season, LaMichael James. And did I mention Auburn's Cam Newton? The Tiger quarterback has all but won the Heisman Trophy and has taken the country by storm. What better way to cap-off the college football season than to see the probable Heisman Trophy winner square off with the most likely runner-up in the season finale National Championship game.
Rose Bowl Game
Stanford vs. Arkansas
-I know this match-up goes against the Rose Bowl tradition of plotting the Pac-10 against the Big Ten, but in this case I think it is well worth breaking the tradition. Stanford and Arkansas both feature the nation's top two passing threats in Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallett, respectively. Arkansas will be obtaining an at large BCS berth and Stanford has won the Pac-10 while currently boasting a number 4 ranking in this week's BCS standings. Expect TCU to receive the bid for this game over Arkansas, but who can argue that most of the nation would be well-pleased in seeing Luck and Mallett square off in Pasadena come January.
Oklahoma vs. TCU
-TCU has accomplished the feat of being a BCS buster team from a non-AQ conference. While the Horned Frogs had their sights set on an appearance in the National Championship (and a small glimmer of hope still exists), they have nonetheless earned themselves a well-deserved at large BCS bid. With all of the controversy surrounding the debate of whether or not non-AQ conference teams deserve a chance in the BCS, let it be answered by letting TCU play the Sooners. Oklahoma is my pick to win the Big 12 Championship, and they are a formidable opponent out of the Big 12 year in and year out. Let TCU play Oklahoma to see if the Horned Frogs (and all other non-BCS conference teams) are worthy of holding a place in the BCS. Also, the site of the Fiesta Bowl is convenient for Oklahoma, as well as TCU and the school's fans. Getting enough TCU fans to the game is crucial. If the Horned Frogs play in nearby Arizona, this wouldn't be any problem one would think.
Virginia Tech/Florida State vs. Wisconsin
-The ACC is still undecided. What we do know is that Virginia Tech will play Florida State on Saturday for that conference's championship. While I do not know who will win that game, I do know that they, in all likelihood, will play in the Orange Bowl. An ACC/Big Ten match-up sounds intriguing, so I like picking the Badgers to play against either Virginia Tech or Florida State in Miami.
Ohio State vs. Connecticut
-Again, I know this match-up goes against the mold of an SEC team playing in the Sugar Bowl. However, this year an SEC team will be playing elsewhere for a national championship. While Arkansas does have an at large bid, I think a better route for this game would be to take the path of plotting Ohio State (the runner up in the Big Ten) against Connecticut (the probable Big East winner). To be honest, the biggest reason for this match-up is because you have no where else to put the two of these teams, who have both rightfully earned BCS bids. But I do think this match-up to be a fair one. Ohio State did not win the Big Ten, hence they will not receive a Rose Bowl bid. Traditionally, a Big East team fills a spot in the Sugar Bowl so go ahead and mark Connecticut down to play here. I expect Arkansas will get the bid to this game, but I'd rather see them play in the Rose Bowl against Stanford. Because of this, Ohio State should fill the leftover Sugar Bowl spot.
Christopher M. Barfield