Some talking heads are claiming that Oklahoma’s ass-whipping of Texas Tech on Saturday night is enough to eventually push them into the second position in the BCS. But in the words of Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Now wait just a minute.”
In the next two weeks, three games are going to determine who ends up playing where. The first is the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game in Stillwater. While OU has not lost to OSU since 2002, each of the games in Stillwater in recent years have been exceedingly tough games. In 2006, OU edged the Cowboys 27-21 and in 2004 Oklahoma eked out a 38-35 victory. The 2002 game was won by OSU 38-28. Obviously most of those teams are completely gone and won’t affect this coming weekend’s match-up but it is interesting to see how OU struggles to win in Stillwater. This year’s Cowboys are much better than any of those previous three teams and should challenge the Sooners to their limits.
If Oklahoma wins that game, it will likely reach the Big 12 Championship. The tie-breaker between Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma, all of whom have beaten each other and would tie atop the Big 12 South (assuming OU wins in Stillwater) is BCS ranking. With a win over another highly ranked team, OU would likely jump ahead of Texas in the BCS standings and go on to the Big 12 title game.
If however, Oklahoma State were to pull the upset, Texas Tech would reach the title game because there would just be a two-way tie at the top and they would have the head-to-head advantage over Texas.
The second game that will determine the national championship game is that Big 12 title game. Whoever reaches that game from the South will face North champion Missouri, certainly no pushover. It is entirely conceivable that Mizzou could beat either Texas Tech or Oklahoma. Regardless of who makes it from the South, a win over Missouri would make a huge difference in the BCS standings.
The third game that matters is of course the SEC title game. Provided Alabama wins the Iron Bowl and Florida can stave off Florida State, a very difficult game in Tallahassee no less, The SEC title game should provide a forum for debate about national title implications as well. If Alabama beats Florida, they obviously reach the title game. But if Florida were to win (and not lose to FSU first) the whole scenario gets interesting. Would Florida jump ahead of the Big 12 winner? If Missouri and Florida win their conference title games, is there any chance that the Big 12 team that did not make the title game could play for the BCS title? Would Southern Cal make a move up the standings, despite not playing any more games?
My prediction is as follows: Oklahoma will be Oklahoma State in Stillwater and reach the Big 12 title game. In that game they will defeat Missouri. Florida will beat Florida State, but just barely, and then beat Alabama soundly in the SEC title game. With ‘Bama’s loss, Oklahoma will move up to no. 1 in the BCS while Florida will bypass Texas and reach no. 2.
That will leave the BCS bowls as follows (and it is assuming that Oregon State beats Oregon in the Civil War):
Rose Bowl – Penn State (Big 12 winner) v. Oregon State (PAC 10 winner)
Orange Bowl – ACC winner (don’t even get me started) v. Cincinnati (Big East winner)
Sugar Bowl – Alabama (at-large) v. Texas (at-large)
Fiesta Bowl – Southern Cal (at-large) v. Utah (at-large)
BCS Title Game – Florida (SEC winner) v. Oklahoma (Big 12 winner)