Chaotic BCS miracle night changes bowl picture

Filed under: Football,Previews |


By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief

Nov. 18, 2012

 

Sometimes, there’s just no way to explain anything.

 

After Alabama lost at home to Texas A&M a week ago, few people would have given any chance for Alabama to reach the BCS Championship Game – and fewer still given the set of circumstances that came together in 2011 for Alabama to get there.

 

Just like last year, the die has not officially been cast yet. Alabama must face Auburn first, and if the Tigers needed motivation to play over their heads in this game, the prospect of knocking their hated rivals out of a national title shot is certainly it. The near-miss that Alabama survived in 2009 isn’t an old memory, either.

 

And then there’s a Georgia Bulldog team that, despite its penchant for underachieving, probably has as much pure talent on the roster as either Alabama or LSU. Any time there is that much talent on hand, the team that has it is dangerous.

 

But the fact is, after Oregon and Kansas State lost their respective games Saturday, Alabama is back in control of its own destiny. Win out, and the Crimson Tide is in the BCS Championship Game for a second year in a row. Something that looked like the slimmest of possibilities a week ago is suddenly right in Alabama’s hands once again. For such insanity to happen once is unlikely enough. For it to happen to the same team twice is almost impossible. For it to happen two years in a row, inconceivable.

 

The only thing left to do now, besides shake our collective heads in wonderment, is update the SEC bowl projections. Teams are ranked based on their expected finish in the bowl pecking order:

 

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Potential landing spots: BCS Championship Game, Sugar Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl

Most likely scenario: BCS Championship Game

Worst-case scenario: Outback Bowl

Prediction: BCS Championship Game vs. Notre Dame

Analysis: Alabama finds itself right back where it was on Nov. 2 when this article first ran; the only difference is Notre Dame has replaced Kansas State as the Tide’s likeliest opponent. Alabama has a tough road ahead of it, as Georgia is an improving team with a physical defense and a very good offense. Alabama also has a wide range of possibilities in front of it should it lose to either Auburn or Georgia. Alabama could fall all the way to the Outback Bowl, as the presence of Texas A&M in the SEC changes the landscape in terms of how the bowls prioritize their matchups. In fact, it’s now tougher for Alabama to get to the Sugar Bowl than any other bowl on this list, provided Florida beats Florida State.

 

2. Florida Gators

Potential landing spots: BCS Championship Game, Sugar Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl

Most likely scenario: Sugar Bowl

Worst-case scenario: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Prediction: Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma

Analysis: Florida, with a win over Florida State, likely locks up the Sugar Bowl. The winner of the SEC Championship Game (assuming both Alabama and Georgia survive games against their in-state rivals) will head to the BCS title game, while the loser probably drops to the Capital One. If Florida loses to Florida State, however, the Gators could fall all the way to the Chick-fil-A.

 

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Potential landing spots: BCS Championship Game, Sugar Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl

Most likely scenario: Capital One Bowl

Worst-case scenario: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Prediction: Capital One Bowl vs. Michigan

Analysis: Because Florida is a one-loss team, the loser of the SEC Championship Game will probably get skipped over by the Sugar Bowl committee as it picks a replacement team. Georgia should beat Georgia Tech next week, but the Yellow Jackets have a knack for pulling big upsets and playing the Bulldogs tough.

 

4. Texas A&M Aggies

Potential landing spots: Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl

Most likely scenario: Cotton Bowl

Worst-case scenario: Gator Bowl

Prediction: Cotton Bowl vs. Texas

Analysis: The Cotton Bowl organizers must feel like a Powerball ticket dropped in their laps. Texas A&M upset Alabama last week, lifting the Aggies into a virtual tie with LSU, and the Cotton Bowl will gladly take the Aggies over the Tigers if Texas A&M gets by Missouri. A potential matchup with hated rival Texas would make the Cotton Bowl one of the most-watched bowl games of the year. Lose to Missouri, though, and A&M could fall all the way to the Gator.

 

5. LSU Tigers

Potential landing spots: Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl

Most likely scenario: Outback Bowl

Worst-case scenario: Gator Bowl

Prediction: Outback Bowl vs. Wisconsin

Analysis: LSU still could get a Sugar Bowl invite if Florida and Texas A&M both lose their final regular-season games. As such a scenario is unlikely, the Tigers will probably carry the title of the SEC’s most shafted postseason team, falling all the way to the Outback and getting lined up against either an underachieving Wisconsin team or a Northwestern team that would barely give the Tigers a game.

 

6. South Carolina Gamecocks

Potential landing spots: Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Music City Bowl

Most likely scenario: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Worst-case scenario: Music City Bowl

Prediction: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Clemson

Analysis: If you think a Texas-Texas A&M matchup in the Cotton Bowl would be weird, a South Carolina-Clemson rematch would be ever worse – and South Carolina would force it to happen by beating Clemson to end the year. Yes, you read that correctly: If South Carolina wants to avoid a rematch with Clemson, it should lose the first game. By doing so, Clemson would be a BCS at-large team and the Gamecocks would draw North Carolina State in Atlanta. But if the SEC fails to put two teams in BCS games, South Carolina could drop to the Gator Bowl or even the Music City Bowl.

 

7. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Potential landing spots: Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl

Most likely scenario: Gator Bowl

Worst-case scenario: BBVA Compass Bowl

Prediction: Gator Bowl vs. Northwestern

Analysis: State is dangerously close to falling down a rung or two thanks to Vanderbilt’s late-season surge. The Gator Bowl will likely find itself picking between a pair of eight-win teams, Mississippi State and Vandy, that don’t travel well. Worse yet, if Vanderbilt is the pick, the Commodores’ reward in Jacksonville could be a rematch with Northwestern. The Gator Bowl could work something out with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl where the Gator takes Michigan State to avoid having a rematch scenario in play, but will likely avoid the problem outright by taking Mississippi State with its pick. If State loses to Ole Miss next week, however, the Bulldogs could wind up bowling in Birmingham when all is said and done.

 

8. Vanderbilt Commodores

Potential landing spots: Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Music City Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, Liberty Bowl

Most likely scenario: Music City Bowl

Worst-case scenario: BBVA Compass Bowl

Prediction: Music City Bowl vs. Duke

Analysis: One of these days, Vanderbilt won’t have to go to a bowl game in the state of Tennessee. Especially in its own backyard. But the Commodores are happy to just be going back to a bowl in consecutive years. Even better, the Commodores might get Duke in this game, which would be very winnable for the Commodores. In such a case, just call this thing the SAT Bowl and be done with it.

 

9. Ole Miss

Potential landing spots: Music City Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Independence Bowl

Most likely scenario: No bowl

Worst-case scenario: No bowl

Prediction: No bowl

Analysis: Ole Miss must beat Mississippi State to advance to the postseason. The Rebels certainly look capable of it, but after a late collapse against LSU, one has to wonder if Ole Miss is up to the task. If Ole Miss is, the Rebels are a perfect fit for the Liberty Bowl, where they would face the Conference USA champ, most likely Tulsa, perhaps Central Florida. Lose the game and the season ends at 5-7.

 

10. Missouri Tigers

Potential landing spots: OMusic City Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Independence Bowl

Most likely scenario: No bowl

Worst-case scenario: No bowl

Prediction: No bowl

Analysis: Missouri must beat Texas A&M to get bowl-eligible. The Tigers don’t have the defense for it, and the offense is prone to sputter. As such, look for Mizzou to sit home following its first season in the SEC.

 

11 (tie). Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Tennessee Volunteers: These teams are already guaranteed of missing the postseason.

 

 

 

 

 

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