The initial BCS rankings are out and here is what we have to look forward to starting on January 1. Each week, Covers Expert Matt Fargo will give his projected matchups and spreads for the five BCS Bowls:
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida State Seminoles
Projected line: Alabama -3
Alabama has a pretty significant lead in the BCS and should it run the table. The Tide will be guaranteed its third straight BCS Championship invite. Their opponent right now looks to be Florida State, which is narrowly ahead of Oregon but that can easily change.
Florida State still has to host Miami, has a tough game at Florida and will have another test in the ACC Championship. It should be noted that only twice since the BCS rankings came out in 1998 that the two top teams in the initial standings actually went on to play in the BCS Championship. Alabama is still the team to beat.
Baylor Bears vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Projected line: Baylor -14
Baylor has been close to untouchable but it has yet to play anyone. The Bears close the season against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU but they are still the team to make the biggest run at this point.
Fresno State was projected by many to be a BCS buster and so far, the Bulldogs are holding up their end of the bargain. Four of their final six games are on the road, however, so the backend of the slate is more challenging. They have to finish ahead of at least one conference champion which comes from an AQ conference and right now that is looking like the AAC.
Central Florida Knights vs. Clemson Tigers
Projected line: Clemson -6
Central Florida has snuck into the BCS picture after its upset win at Louisville last Friday. The Knights are a very solid team with their only loss coming against South Carolina by just a field goal. The back end of their schedule is pretty soft.
Clemson couldn’t get it done against Florida State at home, which likely knocked it out of BCS Championship consideration. Even though it trails Miami in the standings, the Hurricanes are at Florida State in two weeks, a likely loss. The Tigers have a tame schedule and finishing at 11-1 gets them here.
Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Projected line: Oregon -10
Oregon was third in the initial BCS rankings last year but held onto our two spot until its loss against Stanford. This year the Ducks land in the Rose Bowl as Florida State probably has the slightly easier ride the rest of the way. Oregon still hosts UCLA and is at Stanford in two weeks after a bye plus the Pac-12 Championship.
Ohio State has won 19 straight games and could go undefeated once again, but it may not be enough for a BCS Championship appearance. The Buckeyes weren’t eligible last year but this season, it could be playing in the Orange Bowl due to a soft non-conference schedule and a weak Big Ten. Ohio State needs a lot of help to move up.
Missouri Tigers vs. Stanford Cardinal
Projected line: Missouri -2
The Cardinal are ranked sixth in the BCS but their destination is the cloudiest of any other team. The way it shakes out now, they are heading to the Sugar Bowl which would make it four different BCS Bowls in the last four years.
Should Florida State lose at some point or gets taken over by Oregon, Clemson would be the likely replacement but that could mean Stanford heads back to the Rose Bowl. Missouri is the surprise of the SEC and is running the table in the East Division. Two tough games remain against South Carolina and Texas A&M but both are at home.
Agree or disagree with Matt's matchups and odds? Give your projected BCS Bowl spreads in the comment section below.