A fair amount of these BCS rundowns begin with “It’s that time of the year,” where writers attempt to create a wintery threshold between a college football system that will be banished in two years and the holiday season. No, I’m not going down the route, I’d rather just dive right into it.
The BCS rankings themselves are a headache, as they are currently the selection system college football possesses to rank the top 25 of Division I’s best. The selection system is broken down into thirds: 1/3 comes from the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, 1/3 comes from the Harris Poll (Harris Interactive conducts their own rankings) and 1/3 comes from computer rankings that crunch numbers far beyond your imagination. Schedules, wins, conferences and other factors come into play for computer computation.
Now, after understanding how the BCS ranking system works, the thrilling part of bowl selection finally comes into play.
There is a crucial element to the Bowl Championship Games the fans tend to brush over: conference affiliations. With the five major bowls, each has some sort of pre-requisite or
requirement to it.
Like how the National Championship Game takes the No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the BCS rankings. And the Rose Bowl has the Pac-12 and Big 10 conference winners. Can’t forget about the Fiesta Bowl’s Big 12 ties or the Sugar Bowl’s SEC affiliation or even the ACC’s spot in the Orange Bowl. A bit much, but with everything comes practice and repetition. Trust me.
Let’s start with the most obvious of the bunch: the BCS National Championship Game, featuring the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish versus the SEC juggernauts, the Alabama Crimson Tide. A projected No. 1 versus No. 2 in the BCS, and rightfully so.
Things become a bit muggy after that. It’s a guarantee Pac-12 winner Stanford will face Big 10 winner Wisonsin in the Rose Bowl. It seems as if Big 12 winner Kansas State will take on at-large bid (meaning that the bowl decides) Oregon for the Fiesta.
We also know the Florida Gators replace Alabama as an SEC rep in the Sugar Bowl and ACC winner Florida State will head to the Orange Bowl.
But that’s where the roadblock hits.
As an automatic qualifying conference, Louisville took home the Big East title, but does not have a conference affiliation to a bowl game. Still, it is an AQ conference and thus earns a spot in one of the five lucrative games.
Another factor is for the final at large bid, enter the non-AQ BCS crashers such as our beloved Boise State Broncos. Known as the mid major conferences, Boise State’s chances, alike other non-AQ schools, for a spot is to finish in the Top 16 and ahead of a conference champ. This becomes possible as this year, Louisville ranks in the bottom half of the Top 25 and the Broncos inch closer and closer to No.16. Consequently, so do MAC champs Northern Illinois.
But voters can turn down another road and stay comfortable with a conference runner-up from a major conference, which in this instance would be Oklahoma. So many routes the BCS can head, which makes for an exciting time of the year. However, the presents left under the bowl tree can either be a very profitbale gift or just another run-of-the-mill year.