What a crazy day of college football. After all the talk of from some about how this season was just plain dull and boring, this weekend couldn't have been any more nuts. Three top five teams lost and five of the top 13. The BCS debate lost some members, but added an unlikely Rutgers squad to the mix.
Heading into the week, Louisville had a lock on the No. 2 spot if it won out. After Thursday, it appeared that Auburn, Texas or Florida would be most likely in. Now, after getting help in the polls USC is No. 3. With games left against Cal and Notre Dame, there's no way anyone passes the Trojans if they win out. The only slim chance is if Rutgers goes unbeaten. The Scarlet Knights could very well end up with the best computer numbers and that just might be enough to get them up to No. 2 if they're undefeated.
In terms of LSU, the Tigers best BCS chance was to slip into the SEC Championship Game. That won't happen now after Arkansas' victory over Tennessee. However, the Auburn loss helps tremendously. The best situation for LSU is for Florida to work its way into the national championship game. That would free up a Sugar Bowl slot and you'd think they would want LSU, likely to face Notre Dame. It's doubtful -- but possible -- the Orange Bowl would take the Tigers as an at large team. However, it doesn't seem likely Florida would move up to No. 2 ahead of the USC/Notre Dame winner.
The other big news is that Boise State moved up to No. 12 in the BCS, the magical spot for a non-BCS team to earn an automatic bid. So, on to the projections. Because everything is so much in flux, we're just going to try explain each bowl's thought process at this point.
National Championship Game - This is easy because there's no picking. It's 1 vs. 2. Clearly the Ohio State-Michigan winner gets one spot. It's likely that the USC-Notre Dame winner gets the other. They have to be drooling over any of those possibilities except a Notre Dame-Michigan rematch. If Rutgers goes unbeaten and can get up to No. 3 in the polls, they'll probably get in. Florida will need to gain style points and beat an 11-1 Arkansas in the SEC Championship game. Arkansas only gets in if it beats Florida and USC, Notre Dame and Rutgers all lose.
Rose Bowl - This is the second easiest bowl to project. The Rose will get the first at-large pick by virtue of losing the Big 10 champ to the NC game. If they lose the Pac 10 champ, they get the first two picks. The Rose Bowl will want their traditional Big 10-Pac 10 match up. So it'll be the Ohio State-Michigan loser vs. USC or Cal, depending on who wins their match up and if USC is playing for the national title.
Sugar Bowl - Here's where it starts getting crazy. The Sugar Bowl gets the SEC Champion and has the first at-large pick after the bowl that loses its team to the national title game. So, the winner of the Arkansas-Florida game is in, unless somehow that team goes to the NC game. If that happens, a 10-2 LSU would likely be the replacement. However, a 9-3 LSU would likely prompt the Arkansas-Florida loser into the game. As for the other spot, it's Notre Dame if they're available. If not, it's anybody's guess. But my prediction is the Rutgers/West Virginia winner goes here.
Orange Bowl - The one good thing projecting this bowl is that the ACC Champion has no shot at the national title game. However, there are three teams that could still win it: Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest. My gut says Wake is the best team in the conference. Then, the Orange has to wait for the Sugar to pick before it gets its at-large choice. If Florida is available, they get the slot. If Florida is out, they'll go after the Big East champ. If neither is available, who knows. But it would probably come down to a 10-2 LSU, 10-2 Auburn or 11-1 Louisville.
Fiesta Bowl - The poor Fiesta Bowl is getting the shaft once again. It appears Boise State will earn an automatic bid and be left to the Fiesta where it plays the Big 12 champ. That should be Texas. However, Nebraska almost beat them once, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.