BCS Bowl Projections: Alabama to the National Championship Game, Florida to the Sugar Bowl

Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Where is everyone going based on the first batch of BCS bowl rankings? We're so glad you asked.

So, now that we know who ended up where in the inaugural edition of the BCS Standings, it's time to take a look at who is likely to end up where when the postseason gets started. Just a brief reminder of how we do this: We assume that the highest-ranked team in each conference will win its conference and follow any logical conclusions from that, but otherwise try to assume that teams will remain in pretty much the same position they are right now.

Teams that have an automatic bid to a certain game are italicized.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Oregon
Fiesta: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
Orange: Florida State vs. Rutgers
Rose: Southern Cal vs. Whoever emerges from the slap-fight known as the B1G
Sugar: Florida vs. Oklahoma

We're going to assume that Florida wins the SEC East -- which is the smart bet unless South Carolina discovers a way to play well on the road -- and performs well enough in Atlanta to get the Sugar Bowl nod to replace the SEC champion. Southern Cal is currently ranked lower than Oregon State, but the Beavers would be projected to lose to Oregon under our guidelines, Southern Cal could very well be the Pac-12 South champion, and it doesn't matter -- marketability and ticket concerns dictate choosing the Trojans over Oregon State is if comes to that and both teams are eligible. Hooray capitalism!

The Fiesta Bowl has the Big 12 Champion and first pick for a team after the auto-replacements are done. Notre Dame will still be on the board because of the Rose Bowl's slavish devotion to hidebound tradition (and the potential of a rematch depending on who crawls out of the crater where the B1G used to be), and the Sugar Bowl will also stick with tradition and the waterfalls of money that would come from selecting a re-energized Florida. The Fiesta Bowl has to market a game with Kansas State -- which is a great team but brings very little commercial value to the table -- and has no traditional niceties to prevent it from snapping up the Irish.

The Sugar Bowl goes next and pairs Florida with Oklahoma, the closest eligible team that wouldn't be a regular-season rematch but would also have the sizzle of being a rematch from the "Corch Urban Meyers" national championship game in 2008. West Virginia is an outside chance here and maybe a better chance if the Mountaineers can defeat Oklahoma, but I find the latter part of that sentence to be implausible even aside from the fact that West Virginia is ranked lower right now.

And so the Orange looks around and realizes that someone has to take Rutgers, which right now is ranked thisfar ahead of Louisville thanks to the computers. Sorry Louisville. (I actually think that Louisville is more likely to win the Big East, for whatever that is worth.)

I'm not going to go through the process of picking all the opponents for the SEC teams in certain bowls based on a bit more than half the season, but guessing where the SEC teams would likely go right now isn't too outlandish.

Capital One: LSU
Cotton: Texas A&M
Outback: South Carolina
Chick-fil-A: Georgia
Gator: Mississippi State
Music City: Tennessee
Liberty: Vanderbilt
BBVA Compass: None eligible
Independence: None eligible

The Capital One Bowl takes LSU -- it had South Carolina last year and the Tigers haven't been there in a few years. I think the Cotton Bowl leaps at the chance to get Texas A&M into the bowl and pair them with a Big 12 team. (Perhaps a certain team from the same state?) Assuming for a moment that the Outback Bowl does not take leave of its senses and choose Vanderbilt, they go with the Gamecocks because the Outback seems to have some strong attachment to the Gamecocks and South Carolina hasn't been there in a while. (So the inventory has been properly circulated.)

Georgia is an easy choice for the Chick-fil-A, and the Gator has no really good choices left with Florida off the board, so they take Mississippi State. Tennessee gets to bowl eligibility and gets tabbed by the Music City Bowl, and the Liberty takes Vanderbilt. If Ole Miss is eligible, my guess would be that the Liberty goes with the Rebels and the Commodores are headed to Birmingham.

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