What To Watch For: BCS Style


As I talked about earlier this week, the BCS has created quite an interesting situation for Michigan and Michigan State fans.  Namely, Michigan COULD be headed to a BCS bowl game without playing in the conference championship game.  Michigan State COULD be locked out of the BCS if they don’t win the conference championship game.  I think a “What to watch for” might help explain.

Michigan State

13. Michigan State vs. 15. Wisconsin (8pm Saturday) – This is pretty obvious.  Win and you go to the Rose Bowl.  Lose and you’re (probably) out of BCS contention.  Why you may ask?  Because to get an at large bid, you have to be in the top 14 in BCS standings.  Clearly, another loss by number 13 would drop them out of the top 14.

9. Oregon vs. UCLA (8pm Friday) – Why does this one matter?  Well, if State wins on Saturday, you’ll want to prepare for the Rose Bowl by scaring yourself by watching how fast Oregon is.  I just don’t think UCLA could really win this football game.


As I pointed out above, you have to be in the top 14 of the BCS to get an at large bid.  Michigan sits at 16.  So before you even consider where you might be going, Michigan will need to move up two spots.

One spot should be pretty simple.  With 13 Michigan State playing 15 Wisconsin, one of those teams should fall below the Michigan at 16.  You don’t have to bother watching.  The third loss for one of these teams will knock one of them off your list.

9. Oregon vs. UCLA (8pm Friday)
14. Georgia vs 1. LSU (4pm Saturday)
10. Oklahoma at 3. Oklahoma St. (8pm Saturday)
5. Virginia Tech vs 20. Clemson (8pm Saturday)

These four conference title games are lumped together for good reason.  In every case, Michigan fans should want to avoid the upset.  Reason being?  You don’t want extra BCS slots going to surprise teams.  For example, if Georgia wins, they go to the Sugar Bowl.  That doesn’t mean that LSU and Alabama can’t still play for the National Championship, giving the SEC 3 teams.

If UCLA wins (to improve to 7-6) they would go to the Rose Bowl, but there is no telling if Oregon would get an at large bid or not.  Bottom line, wins by Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech would likely guarantee those conferences wouldn’t get a surprise slot that isn’t foreseen at this point.

I do want to stress “likely”.  Obviously UCLA and Clemson couldn’t steal an at large bid.  It would be interesting to see where Oklahoma and Georgia would end up.  My guess is that a Georgia loss would knock them out of the top 14 for sure.  Oklahoma would be a wild card.  If they keep things close in Stillwater, they may end up staying BCS eligible, even with three losses.

Iowa State at 11. Kansas State (12:30pm Saturday) – An Iowa State victory may make all the conference title talk a moot point.  Kansas State isn’t likely to stay in the top 14 with a loss.

22. Texas at 17. Baylor (3:30pm Saturday) – This could be a shocker.  Baylor is only 3 spots away, and the BCS loves big time players like Robert Griffin III.  If the Bears demolish Texas, could they jump Michigan and end in the top 14.  Honestly, it’s not likely, but it still has to be a bit of a concern.

Of course, all of these scenarios are based on voters.  Voters, who as we have seen in the past, don’t always know everything…or anything for that matter.

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