Each week, Covers Expert Matt Fargo will give his projected matchups and spreads for the five BCS Bowls. Alabama and Florida St. are still well ahead of the pack but are there more upsets on the way?
BCS Championship: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida St. Seminoles
Projected line: Alabama -3
Alabama and Florida St. were both able to blowout their overmatched opponents last week to maintain the top two spots in the BCS standings. The Tide have a tough test this week at Auburn and many are calling for an upset, it may be too much to ask for but we have seen our fair share of upsets this season. The Seminoles are 27.5-point favorites at Florida just four years removed when Florida was a 25.5-point favorite against Florida St. which shows where these two programs have gone. The Seminoles should roll again and would have only the ACC Championship remaining against a still unknown opponent.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma St. Cowboys vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Projected line: Oklahoma St. -14
This game now will have two new participants based on the changes from last week. The Cowboys blew out Baylor and now have the upper hand in the Big XII as they moved from 10th to 7th. Oklahoma St. closes the season against Oklahoma in two weeks and if it wins that, it is in. Northern Illinois moved up from 16th to 14th while Fresno St. dropped from 15th to 16th so the Huskies now have the upper hand of the two non-AQ schools. Whether or not either makes it up to 12th may not matter because both are well ahead of UCF out of the AAC. The Huskies easily won Wednesday and it now has to take care of the MAC Championship against either Bowling Green or Buffalo.
Orange Bowl: Michigan St. Spartans vs. Clemson Tigers
Projected line: Clemson -4
With Florida St. still in the BCS Championship, Clemson would take the ACC spot in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers will have to defeat South Carolina to keep their spot here and that is more than possible. While the Orange does have the at-large top pick, that would be deferred to the Sugar Bowl since that bowl lost the number one team. The Sugar will stay close to home with Auburn so the at-large pick here comes from the Big Ten. There is a lot of buzz about Wisconsin playing here but I am sticking with the Spartans for now. Michigan St. moved up to 11th and still have a shot at Ohio St. A win there moves them into the Rose Bowl while a close loss could still keep them in the Orange Bowl.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
Projected line: Stanford -3
No one from the Pac 12 seems to want this spot as Oregon lost to Stanford then Stanford lost to USC then Oregon lost again last week at Arizona. Does that mean Stanford loses to Notre Dame this week? That is doubtful and a win there gets the Cardinal into the Pac 12 Championship. The only way Ohio St. can get to the BCS Championship is if Florida St. loses and for that to happen, it seems unlikely. The Buckeyes could be the first team ever from a BCS conference to go undefeated two straight seasons and not have a shot at the BCS Championship either time.
Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers vs. Central Florida Knights
Projected line: Auburn -9
The Sugar Bowl would get Central Florida because as an AQ, it has to go somewhere and the Sugar would likely grab the Knights over Fresno St. or Northern Illinois because of location. But if the Bulldogs and Huskies do not make it into the top 12, a more attractive option would be taken, such as Auburn because Clemson would be off to the Orange Bowl and UCF would end up in the Fiesta Bowl, which has the fourth at-large spot. Auburn moved from 6th to 4th even though it had a bye because of the Baylor and Oregon losses. The Iron Bowl has gotten a lot more exciting over the last month and should Auburn upset the Tide on Saturday, things will get a lot more interesting.