Whenever an upset happens, that reshuffles the rankings a little bit and makes this whole exercise a little more interesting. The Oregon upset shakes things up quite a bit, because it makes Stanford the favorite for the Rose Bowl and makes Oregon a free agent. The Sugar Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl are pretty much status quo -- and could be until the end of the season -- but the Rose and the Orange are completely recast.
A short reminder: These are with the rankings as they stand today, with the highest-ranked team in a conference assumed to win the championship. (UCF finally beating out Louisville made any caveats unnecessary.) It's meant to be organic and change over time instead of trying to guess at the future.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida St. Seminoles
Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers vs. Central Florida Knights
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. Fresno St. Bulldogs
Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers vs. Oregon Ducks
Most of those games look pretty good. Okay, so Baylor is likely to incinerate Fresno State and Auburn could very well send the Knights back to the Dark Ages. But the teacher vs. the student for the crystal football? The smart kids at Stanford vs. the loathed Urban Meyer? And the Orange Bowl will take those points if you're not going to use them, thank you very much.
This field pretty much wrote itself once the new standings came out. The Sugar Bowl is going to take some SEC team to fill in for Alabama, which would be Auburn if the bowls were seeded today -- which, of course, they will not be. Missouri, South Carolina and Texas A&M are all still in the running for that slot, depending on how the final games of the season play out. At No. 21, LSU might be too far out of the Top 14 to get back into at-large contention -- and would probably be viewed as a disappointment even if they did -- but they could certainly deep-six TAMU's hopes with a win there.
Once the other SEC team goes to the Sugar Bowl and the automatic berths are handed out, the remaining eligible teams are Oregon, Clemson, Oklahoma State and UCLA. To me, this isn't even close. The Orange Bowl puts Clemson and Oregon into its game for an offensive barn-burner, while the Sugar Bowl takes Central Florida and the Fiesta Bowl gets stuck with Fresno State. Really, that's going to be the layout unless and until Fresno State (and Northern Illinois) lose, in which case UCF gets bumped to the Fiesta Bowl. The Sugar probably takes Oklahoma State in that case.
More from Team Speed Kills:
- College Football Rankings, Week 12: The AP Remains Slightly Rational, the Coaches Poll Remains a Disgrace
- Topics for Discussion: An Important Iron Bowl and Which Coaches Are Coming and Going?
- Alabama Crimson Tide 38, LSU Tigers 17: Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Real Nick Saban?
- Texas A&M Aggies 51, Mississippi St. Bulldogs 41: Johnny Manziel Bows Out With a Bravura Performance
- Auburn Tigers 55, Tennessee Volunteers 23: The Tigers Strike Back With a Vengeance