After one of the most riveting weekends of college football in recent memory, voters will need to put some serious thought into their submissions over the next two weeks.
This past Saturday, two climactic finishes turned the tide of the BCS picture. Faced with the possibility of suddenly downing rival Ohio State, Michigan coach Brady Hoke made an all or nothing decision to attempt a two-point conversion late in the game with the Wolverines down one. After OSU redshirt-freshman cornerback Tyvis Powell intercepted redshirt-junior quarterback Devin Gardner’s pass attempt, the Buckeyes managed to survive and stay unbeaten.
The rest of Saturday’s games made OSU one of only two unbeaten teams from BCS conferences (the other being Florida State). Previously undefeated and top-ranked Alabama lost to then-No. 4 Auburn, after senior cornerback Chris Davis returned a failed Alabama 57 yard field goal attempt 100 yards for a touchdown.
After the release of the BCS standings on Sunday night, the Top 5 rankings are No.1 Florida State, No. 2 OSU, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Missouri.
If Florida State and OSU both win their conference championship games (against No. 20 Duke and No. 10 Michigan State respectively), it seems difficult to prevent both teams from playing in the national title game. I predict that both teams will win, and that this scenario will occur. If either team loses, the media’s SEC bias may sneak the winner of the SEC Championship game between Auburn and Missouri into the title game (especially if Auburn wins).
Looking beyond the title game, I do believe that Auburn will win the SEC Championship. Between their No. 5-ranked rushing attack and scoring proficiency (ranked 18th in points per game), Auburn should pull out a tight victory over Missouri.
In the Pac-12, I see No. 11 Arizona State will upset No. 7 Stanford in the championship game. Most of Stanford’s victories have been close games, and they almost melted down against then-No. 2 Oregon, even though they held on for a six point victory. Although Arizona State has also had many close victories, they will be playing at home, where they have defeated every opponent besides No. 21 Wisconsin by at least double digits (ASU is 8-1 as the home team, with the lone loss to Notre Dame).
In the Big 12, I predict that No. 6 Oklahoma State will win the conference. I think that No. 9 Baylor will lose to No. 25 Texas, and the Cowboys will take down No. 17 Oklahoma, thus securing their place in a BCS bowl.
In the American Athletic Conference, I believe that the No. 16 Central Florida will win the BCS bid. Although I believe that No. 19 Louisville is the more talented team, it seems that most scenarios favor UCF claiming the bid (since they are undefeated in conference, including a win against Louisville).
These results would lead to the following matchups:
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Arizona State
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Alabama (At Large)
Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. UCF
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Northern Illinois (At Large)
National Title Game (in Pasadena, California): Florida State vs. Ohio State
I predict that Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Northern Illinois will all win their BCS contests. Oklahoma State and Alabama will probably be the most intriguing regular BCS contest as both teams have only one loss on the season by single digits.
As for the National Title game, it will be close. I predict in a thriller similar to the Michigan game, the Buckeyes will prevail at the last second. Considering the talents of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller (who combined for 379 rushing yards against Michigan), Florida State will be hard pressed to stop the Buckeye run game.