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Archive for Friday, November 6, 2009

Sizing up bowl games, with a little license

November 6, 2009

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’Bama or Penn State? Which initials, USC or TCU? Grab ’em now or try to sneak ’em through later?

Just about everybody, it seems, plays some form of fantasy football these days, and that’s exactly what will take place Dec. 6, a day after college football’s regular season ends. Except this is a reality show as well, as Bowl Championship Series officials wrangle to maximize best matchups.

Today, we’ll do it for them, realizing that making the assumptions we’re about to make is like counting on being able to go skiing the day after Thanksgiving.

We’re going to start here: The national-title game is going to feature the winner of the SEC title game against Texas. In this discussion, we’ve also opted to exclude Notre Dame, which has a long road ahead to BCS eligibility. We’re plugging Oregon and Iowa into the Rose Bowl, still anchored to the Pac-10 and Big Ten.

The picking order is: 1) Sugar Bowl (assuming the SEC winner is tops in the BCS standings). 2) Fiesta. 3) Orange. 4) Fiesta. 5) Sugar.

Quotes are apocryphal, but surely not unrepresentative of what’s being discussed long and hard these days behind closed doors.

You go, Sugar.

“Thanks, fellas,” says Lester Lagniappe of the Sugar Bowl committee. “We may have a lot of French influence down here, but we don’t recognize the term deja vu. So we’re going to overlook the fact Alabama laid an egg the size of Lake Ponchartrain against Utah here last year and take ’Bama. Roll Tide!”

Fiesta?

“There are only great choices left,” says Manny Maricopa of the Fiesta Bowl committee, while muttering under his breath that there are no great choices left. “We’re going to honor a long-standing tradition of mooning the Pac-10 and take Penn State.”

Orange?

“Well, we’re stuck with — I mean, blessed by — having a triple-option team in Georgia Tech on one side,” says LaMarcus Loudcoat of the Orange Bowl committee. “We had Cincinnati last year, so we’re going to think outside the box and take USC, although we’d prefer it leaves the band at home. Fight on!”

Fiesta?

“It’s about time somebody stood up for the little guy, and we’re going to do that,” says Maricopa. “TCU. By the way, what’s a Horned Frog?”

That, of course, leaves the Sugar with the last automatic qualifier, Cincinnati, to play Alabama.

More BCS thoughts:

• The bowls no doubt would love Notre Dame to become eligible, not only for their own gig, but to occupy another bowl and facilitate a better matchup of their own. The Sugar, for instance, could possibly pull off an Alabama-Penn State game. (Notre Dame, 22nd in the BCS standings, has to get into the top 14; it probably needs to win out, and has road games at Pitt (7-1) and Stanford (5-3).)

• If Boise State is an at-large, unbeaten team but TCU gets an automatic bid (finishing ahead of the Broncos), will there be a fear of fallout and more Congressional snooping if the bowls pile more pain on BSU, as they did with undefeated Boise State teams in 2004 and 2008?

• Anybody out there brassy enough to pair Boise State against TCU in a battle of unbeatens?

The end around

• The NCAA will review in January a policy whereby a 6-6 team without a conference hookup to a bowl can’t go to the postseason until all teams with winning records are placed. How about a mileage exception, as in, if your campus is within 500 miles of the host site, you can go at 6-6?

• Don’t look now, but Duke is 5-3 and a win from being eligible for its first bowl in 15 years.

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