Projected BCS bowls spreads: Oregon loss shakes up BCS
Each week, Covers Expert Matt Fargo will give his projected matchups and spreads for the five BCS Bowls. Auburn and Michigan State enter the picture and with some huge matchups this week, big changes could be coming if any upsets take place:
BCS Championship: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida St. Seminoles
Projected line: Alabama -3
Alabama kept its grasp on the top spot of the BCS standings with a resounding win over LSU. Right now only Auburn and Missouri stand in the Tide's way of a third straight trip here. The Seminoles are the biggest fans of Stanford now after the Cardinal defeated Oregon last Thursday, helping them move into the second place spot. The Seminoles have a sizable lead over Ohio St. so the only way they get passed is if they lose. And right now, none of the four remaining opponents have any chance of defeating Florida St. We give a slight edge at the window to Alabama based on legacy even though some consider the Seminoles the better team.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. Fresno St. Bulldogs
Projected line: Baylor -19
There is no change here once again this week. Baylor won a big game last week against Oklahoma and while it was not really that much talked about in the National Title picture, that has changed. The Bears went from sixth to fifth but have a strong argument to be ahead of one-loss Stanford. While a couple tests remain, they should be able to win out. Fresno St. has to finish ahead of at least one conference champion which comes from an AQ conference and right now it is ranked ahead of Central Florida. Northern Illinois could pass the Bulldogs though with a big win against Ball St. on Wednesday, giving the Huskies a second straight BCS Bowl bid and likely a second straight blowout loss.
Orange Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Clemson Tigers
Projected line: Oregon -8
With Florida St. moving up the BCS Championship, Clemson would take the ACC spot in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers should be able to win out and that is what the Orange Bowl would prefer. 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 is an easy one with Oregon. The Ducks blew yet another chance to run the table but this would be an extremely exciting matchup. This line is shortened somewhat due to better proximity for the Tigers.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
Projected line: Stanford -3
The Rose Bowl matchup remains the same as Stanford gets the spot should it take the Pac 12 title. The Cardinals are not out of the BCS Championship picture after defeating Oregon as they are fourth in the standings but they need a lot of help and it likely is not going to come. 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. This line has gone up slightly since last week.
Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers vs. Central Florida Knights
Projected line: Auburn -7
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. 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 made another solid jump up this week as it continues to win and win big. The Tigers will have to beat Georgia as a loss to Alabama will likely not take them out of the Sugar as long as they win this week against the Bulldogs.