Projected BCS bowls spreads: Tide, Seminoles ahead of the pack
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 looked rather hungover last week but escaped Mississippi St. with a victory. Right now only Auburn and Missouri stand in the Tide's way of a third straight trip here. Even with the lethargic effort, the Tide did not lose much ground on their hold of first place. Florida St. rolled yet again and it still has a sizable lead over Ohio St. The only way the Seminoles get passed is if they lose and at this point, it doesn't look like it is going to happen. Many more seem to be lining up behind the Florida St. bandwagon but the title still goes through Alabama and it remains the slight betting favorite.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor Bears vs. Fresno St. Bulldogs
Projected line: Baylor -19
There is no change here once again this week. Baylor won big again last week over Texas Tech and has a big test at Oklahoma St. this week. Because of the Stanford loss, the Bears moved into fourth place so now all four of the remaining undefeated teams from BCS conferences are in the top four. Fresno St. has to finish ahead of at least one conference champion which comes from an AQ conference and right now it is still ranked ahead of Central Florida. Northern Illinois could pass the Bulldogs though with a big win against Toledo on Wednesday although the win over Ball St. last week did not move them up.
Orange Bowl: Michigan St. Spartans vs. Clemson Tigers
Projected line: Clemson -6
With Florida St. still in 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 comes from the Big Ten because Stanford lost and Oregon would head to the Rose Bowl. Michigan St. should be able to move up into the top 14 but the Spartans are not being counted out just yet against Ohio St. as the defense remains a force.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
Projected line: Oregon -10
With Stanford losing to USC last week, Oregon is back in the Rose Bowl as it now can run the table for the Pac 12 title. While playing in the Orange Bowl against Clemson could have been an exceptional game, the Ducks would stay out west because of the conference affiliation. 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. That gives Urban Meyer something more to cry about.
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 made another solid jump up this week thanks to an incredible finish against Georgia last week. The Iron Bowl has gotten a lot more exciting over the last month and should Auburn upset the Tide in two weeks, things will get a lot more interesting.