The BCeStimation is a weekly column that predicts which 10 teams will make it to the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl and National Championship game.
With rivalry week behind us and championship weekend on the horizon, I'm sad to announce that this will be the last BCeStimation of the year. This time next week, we will all know who is playing whom for the five big bowls because selection Sunday is this Sunday. It seems like just yesterday that I was picking Texas to make it to the Fiesta Bowl at the beginning of the year. Crazy.
I even thought about prolonging our departure... For instance, instead of having no article next week, I thought about doing a recap of the year by highlighting the craziest and most bizarre picks throughout the season (the aforementioned Texas pick), and basically reliving the high's and low's of this crazy journey we've all gone on together. The only problem -- that sounds exactly like a clip show, and I hate clip shows. So after much debating, I decided this will be the last BCeStimation. I just can't go out with a clip show... It definitely has nothing to do with me just wanting the week off. Yeah, it's only because of my hate for clip shows.
Anyway, it almost seems unfair that this is the last week... I feel like I need an entire month to celebrate the fact that Boise State lost to Nevada on Friday. It would be like Oktoberfest, only with more beer. I'd call the event "NotBoiseFest". In one loss, they went from possible BCS Championship contenders to Toe Nail Bowl contenders, or something equally not good. It was a Thanksgiving weekend miracle.
I hope you enjoy the last BCeStimation for the 2010 season. I'll be back with a BCS Bowls preview (sometime before the new year), and then go into hibernation for eight months. I promise the BCeStimation 2011 version will be just as awesome as it was this year. Unless I think of something better to do, or get fired. We'll see.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia
It's the battle of teams that have "Virginia" in their name. This is how rivalries are born.
Why Virginia Tech? Because I think they're going to beat Florida State in the ACC Championship game, earning the automatic bid to the Orange Bowl. Part of me is just really hoping Virginia Tech wins this game so we don't have a repeat of last year's Gator Bowl between Florida State and West Virginia. But maybe trying to hope for a good game from the Orange Bowl is pointless either way. Maybe I shouldn't waste my hope on such a futile situation. I'll have to redirect it toward something else, like Michigan finding a coach who can actually make The Game matter to people nationally again.
Why West Virginia? Because Pitt had to be all Big-East-like and lose in convincing fashion to West Virginia. I was again hoping that Pitt would just win so I wouldn't have to learn anything about the Big East's tie breaking system, but again, that was hope wasted. Man, I've been really careless with my hope lately. Anyway, here's the sitch: if UConn beats South Florida this weekend, they'll win the Big East with an 8-4 record (shaking my head so hard my neck and brain hurt). If UConn loses to South Florida and West Virginia beats Rutgers, then West Virginia wins the Big East and earns the automatic bid. If both UConn and West Virginia lose and Pitt beats Cincinnati, then Pitt goes to the BCS. If all three lose, then I vote that the Big East donates their BCS bid to their future member, TCU. I don't even care if TCU is already in.
When all is said and done, I think UConn is going to lose to a mauve-hot South Florida team (red-hot is not appropriate for any Big East team), and I think West Virginia will beat Rutgers to earn the automatic bid.
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas vs. Ohio State
Fortunately, LSU lost this past weekend, so Ohio State won't be playing a virtual road game against the Tiger's in the Louisiana Superdome.
Why Arkansas? Because they knocked off the Tigers this past weekend, improving to a 10-2 record and rising to 7th in the BCS standings. The Razorbacks are in good shape right now as their season is complete (they do not have to play in the SEC Championship game). The only way I see Arkansas getting knocked out of the BCS is if South Carolina can upset the top ranked Auburn Tigers. Don't hold your breath.
An interesting side story to this game will be Arkansas' quarterback, Ryan Mallet. The former Michigan player will get another crack at the Buckeyes after he played sparingly (attempting only three passes) in their loss to the Ohio State in 2007.
Why Ohio State? Because frankly, they travel better than Michigan State does, and they're the higher ranked team between the two. Wisconsin pretty much locked up their spot in the Rose Bowl, so the BCS selection committee has to pick one of the two remaining BCS candidates from the Big Ten. With the Buckeyes and Spartans having identical records, the BCS will likely pick the team that has a bigger brand name and the fan base that travels better.
I know that all the Spartans fans are up in arms over this, but coincidentally, I do think the BCS will be picking the better team. Do you honestly think that Michigan State would be able to stay within two touchdowns of Ohio State if they played? If you look at the two teams losses -- Ohio State lost a tough game on the road by 13. Michigan State was absolutely demolished by 31 points to a five loss Iowa team. I understand that the transitive property doesn't work, because you can say Michigan State beat Wisconsin, who beat us, so there! It's just my opinion that the Spartans would not be able to hang with the Bucks.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Stanford
The Fiesta Bowl will luck out by not getting stuck with the Big East champ... I think. And geographically, this makes sense. Why have a Stanford team travel all the way across the country and have West Virginia do the same when both bowls could benefit by keeping things relatively close this way?
Why Stanford? Because they've pushed themselves up to the fourth spot in the BCS polls, and the rules state that if a team is in the top four, they earn a BCS bid whether they win the conference or not. The Cardinal have been overlooked by most of the country and myself for much of the season, but the team has fought for an 11-1 record with their only loss coming from unbeaten Oregon. Andrew Luck is probably the best quarterback in the country, and the Cardinal would get a chance to redeem last year's close loss to Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl.
Why Oklahoma? Because Nebraska hasn't been the same since Taylor Martinez hurt his ankle earlier this year, and that lingering injury makes me think the Sooners will be able outlast the Cornhuskers this Saturday. Oklahoma boasts a solid passing game that will challenge Nebraska's strong secondary much like Oklahoma State did earlier this year. With the Big 12 on the line, and the way the Cornhuskers have played recently, I'm going to take sort-of-not-really-Big-Game Bob and Oklahoma in this one.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU
I'm still in shock that Boise isn't here. I should send a fruit basket to Nevada's head coach.
Why Wisconsin? Because they wracked up 70 points against Northwestern's awful defense and protected their lead in the BCS standings. The Badgers have looked downright unbeatable down the stretch this season, and I think they'll represent the Big Ten very well against TCU on New Year's day. I'm just looking forward to the Badgers losing two of their best offensive lineman and the quarterback that has really put them over the edge this year to graduation. Next year, hopefully things will return to normal and we can expect the Badgers new quarterback to throw their games away.
Why TCU? Because they're undefeated, and because Boise State lost to Nevada. Only one of these non AQ's was getting into the BCS this year, and honestly, I'm glad it's TCU. Collectively as a team, the Horned Frogs are probably the only people in the country who are happier that Boise lost than I am. Last week, they were looking at a possible MAACO Bowl Las Vegas appearance. Now, they're smelling roses. Congrats, TCU. Now you have the privilege of getting crushed by the Badgers.
National Championship Game: Auburn vs. Oregon
It will be a lot of fun seeing these two offenses go at it for sixty minutes if this prediction holds, especially considering the defenses aren't really stellar for either team.
Why Auburn? Because they pulled off one of the greatest come-from-behind victories I've ever seen last weekend against Alabama to keep their undefeated season intact. The Tigers fell behind 24-0, and looked like they were absolutely done. Then, Cam Newton all but locked up the Heisman (NCAA investigation pending) by leading his team back and outscoring the Tide 28-3 for the rest of the game. Whether the allegations against him are true or not, Newton is 250 pounds of running fury and contains an ability to carry his team to victory unlike anyone I've seen since Vince Young at Texas.
Why Oregon? Because they survived a slow first half by burying Arizona in the second for a 48-29 victory. The Ducks have one game left on their schedule; the Civil War against their most hated rival, Oregon State. Obviously, anything can happen in a rivalry game, but I fully expect the Ducks to take care of business, even if they have to do it on the road. Oregon State is just not an impressive team, and they're coming off a 38-0 man handling from Stanford. If they can keep the game within four touchdowns, I'd be surprised.
So here I am riding off into the proverbial sunset for about the next three weeks. Have a great holiday season my friends, and drink lots of that "NotBoiseFest" beer.