Tonight Teddy Bridgewater went 29/38 for 341 yards, no picks and 2 TD's; and none of it was enough to stop the UCF Knights from taking away Louisville's BCS dreams in a shocking 38-35 upset. The natural question now is, where does that put our BCS aspirations?
First, let's look at the AP Top 25 as of the start of this week.
1. Alabama (6-0) -- 55 first-place votes
2. Oregon (6-0) -- 5 first-place votes
3. Clemson (6-0)
4. Ohio State (6-0)
5. Florida State (5-0)
6. LSU (6-1)
7. Texas A&M (5-1)
8. Louisville (6-0)
9. UCLA (5-0)
10. Miami (5-0)
11. South Carolina (5-1)
12. Baylor (5-0)
13. Stanford (5-1)
14. Missouri (6-0)
15. Georgia (4-2)
16. Texas Tech (6-0)
17. Fresno State (5-0)
18. Oklahoma (5-1)
19. Virginia Tech (6-1)
20. Washington (4-2)
21. Oklahoma State (4-1)
22. Florida (4-2)
23. Northern Illinois (6-0)
24. Auburn (5-1)
25. Wisconsin (4-2)
As I am sure most of you know, out of the 10 teams that get to BCS Bowls, Automatic Qualifying (AQ) bids are given to the champions of six conferences: Atlantic Coast, American Athletic, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conferences. To determine where we stand, let's go ahead and predict the winners of each conference:
SEC - Alabama
They could slip up and lose to LSU, but for right now, let's just assume the Nick Saban process keeps working.
Pac 12 - Oregon
With Stanford taking a loss to Utah, let's assume the Ducks roll.
AAC - UCF/USF/Houston - Outside chance for Louisville
Those first three teams are at the top of the feeding order right now, each being 2-0 in conference play. If UCF takes two losses, and Louisville wins out in the round robin agains the others, then they still have a shot. A top 10 BCS ranking will probably not be in their future though.
ACC - Clemson/FSU
With the ACC Coastal division looking incredibly weak at the top with Virginia Tech and Miami, you have to assume the winner of tomorrows game goes on to win the conference.
Big Ten - Ohio State
The Big Ten is soft, and it would be shocking to not see Urban run the table.
Big 12 - Who Cares
The same Texas team that fell to BYU and Ole Miss is still sitting on top of the conference standings. Baylor is probably the champ, but let's just sing Kumbaya and watch that dumpster fire burn.
So, to sum it up, out of the 10 spots available, 6 will be occupied, at least 2 of which will have us all trying to find an internet poll to let our frustrations be heard and/or quantified.
Of the 4 remaining spots, all of our hopes and dreams lie on coming out on the top side of this rule:
No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings.
The odds of every conference completely imploding and putting two SEC-West teams in a national championship game again are incredibly slim. This gives us three ways of getting in, all of which require the same formula. We have to win out.
To go Big Boy Bowling, A&M has to:
Get to the SEC Championship game. Because of LSU's defense-optional shootout loss to Georgia, this would be nearly impossible, requiring a 2-loss Bama miracle. Even if LSU beats Bama, and we beat LSU, the three-way SEC-West tie is reduced to a two-way tie between Texas A&M and Bama since overall records would come into play. That puts us into the head-to-head result rule, and we lose.
Get an AQ Bid. The BCS selection rules make this a possibility. According to the selection rules, if any of the remaining slots are open, and a team in a conference that already has an AQ participant ranks #3 or #4 (if a second conference mate isn't #3) in the BCS standings, they get an AQ pass.
This is going to be tough for us to hit. Either Ohio State or the winner of FSU/Clemson would need to take a loss. I can't see any way that we jump an ACC/B1G #3 or #4 team who runs the table the rest of the way, regardless of what conference they are playing in.
Get an At-Large Bid. This is simple. Win out. Beat LSU. If there are still spots available, then we are in. The only way that they're aren't spots available for us is if the 4 remaining fill up based on the following criteria:
A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or
B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.
- The top of the Sun Belt is a 4-2 Louisiana-Lafayette that lost to a K-State team that lost to a North Dakota State FCS team. Not happening.
- C-USA is currently led by Marshall and Tulane, both of which have losses, and both of which don't even have a stews worth of meat left on their schedules.
- The MAC is currently represented by NIU sitting at #23. There are a definitely some losses to come for other teams sitting in the back half of the current standings, so this is a possibility if the Huskies win out.
- Oh my oh my the MWC. Fresno State is currently at #17, and they have had some really close grind-it-out wins this year. They also have a Pac-12 team left on the schedule. A former acquaintance of ours, the Buffs of Colorado, have been getting crushed this year. I could definitely see Fresno making an AQ when the Big 12 starts to eat itself alive again.
No matter what, there should be 2 spots left available for the Aggies to seize if they can win out and be in the #5 spot at the end of the year. Oh, that's right, there is one more rule for an AQ that could take one of our spots:
4. Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings.
It would appear that we are fully in control of our own destiny for a BCS berth. BTHO Auburn.