BCS Bowls Explained (with Logic...and a poll)

Andy Lyons

While it's true that there will be a four-game playoff in college football soon enough, we still have two more seasons of life with the BCS. Fear not, I say! For anyone who greets each season's BCS Bowl match-ups with a resounding "huh?", I give you a foolproof explanation of how they have been determined. Of course, I will be referencing the pure wisdom that exists throughout selection process. On to the logic!

1. The Game: BCS National Championship Game a.k.a. Corporate Sponsor Championship Game a.k.a. The Mythical National Championship Game

The Match-up: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0; BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1; BCS No.2/SEC Champion)

Reason for the match-up: Ah, tradition! Isn't that what college football is really all about after all? Of course, some traditions go back a bit further than others... So it came to be then, that about 14-odd years ago, the powers that were (yes, that includes the Big East) initiated their plan to match-up the two best teams in the country based on ridiculously biased opinions professional analysis and orangutan created mathematically sound computer rankings. So what did that get us this year? A traditional match-up! The Fighting Irish, after a decade or so of poorly played football, takes their storied past and flawless record to Miami to take on the SEC Overlord Crimson Tide, who will make it their mission to be sure that we all get another year of having to listen to ESPN talking heads extoll the virtuous dominance of SEC Speed.

2. The Game: Rose Bowl a.k.a. Corporate Sponsor Bowl #1 a.k.a. Your Granddaddy's Bowl Game

The Match-up: Stanford Cardinal (11-2; BCS No. 6/Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (8-5; Unranked/Big Ten Champion)

Reason for the Match-up: Let's start with Stanford: Prior to the start of the season, many people had left them for dead due to the graduation of Andrew Luck. The Cardinal responded with an 11-2 2012 campaign, derailing Oregon's championship hopes along the way and losing only to Notre Dame (understandable) and Washington (kind of weird). Wisconsin's path to Pasadena was somewhat different: Let's call it "Big Ten Bonanza". The Badgers lost five games, including 27-30 at Nebraska, and came in third place in their oddly named division. However, due to the postseason ineligibility of first place Ohio State and second place Penn State, Wisconsin found its way into second annual Big Ten Championship Game, exacting its revenge on the Huskers in a blowout victory. As for anyone concerned about what it means to send a five-loss team to the most prestigious game of them all, I urge you not to worry. Maryland and Rutgers will be there to save the Big Ten from football mediocrity soon enough.

3. The Game: Orange Bowl a.k.a. Corporate Sponsor Bowl #2 a.k.a. Horrific Ratings, but Tasty Fruit Bowl

The Match-up: Florida State Seminoles (11-2; BCS No. 12/ACC Champion) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1; BCS No. 15/MAC Champion)

Reason for the Match-up: Oh no, it seems someone made a huge mistake! Oh, of course the Seminoles belongs here, despite being considered the second best team in the questionable ACC by our friends the computers...after all they did legitimately win their conference (important) and they are a traditional power (more important). No, it's the Huskies and their mid-major BCS busting ways that are making a mockery of the whole system. They do not belong here and if it weren't for things like "rules" and "losing only one game" these pretenders would never tarnish the venerated institution that is the BCS.

4. The Game: Sugar Bowl a.k.a. Corporate Sponsor Bowl #3 a.k.a. We Could Care Less What They're Ranked, Boise State Will Never Play Here Bowl

The Match-up: Florida Gators (11-1, BCS No. 3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (10-2, Big East Champion)

Reason for the Match-up: Fact: Even after beating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Alabama still carries a lower computer rating than Florida in the BCS standings. Do the Gators have a legitimate gripe? Probably not, since they lost that head-to-head contest with Georgia. In fact, one could argue that if Florida _had_ found its way into the SEC Championship, that a loss would have eliminated them from the BCS Bowls altogether. So quit whining Gators! Meanwhile, Louisville enters New Orleans with a lowly ranking and is expected to be manhandled by Florida's SEC acumen. Under normal circumstances, I'd cheer for an upset, but considering that the "Benedict Cardinals" (see what I did there?) just announced they're bolting for the ACC, I'll just sit back and hope that Brent Pease and company dismember them.

5. The Game: Fiesta Bowl a.k.a. Corporate Sponsor Bowl #4 a.k.a. Bronco Nation Home Away From Home (with chips!) Bowl

The Match-up: Oregon Ducks (11-1, BCS No. 4) vs. Kansas St. Wildcats (11-1, BCS No. 5/Big 12 Champion)

Reason for the Match-up: It was only three weeks ago that we thought we were going to be seeing these two teams in a different, more hyped prestigious bowl game. Oh, how quickly things changed...and as usual, in the SEC's favor (funny how that works). Fiesta Bowl organizers matched these star-crossed squads up in hopes of providing viewers with an "alternative" to the "traditional" championship game. Expect the crowd to be full of disillusioned hipsters wearing either purple or whatever color has been adopted by the Ducks for the moment.

On the outside looking in: Here are a few of the teams that just missed the cut this year...

Georgia Bulldogs (11-2, Capital One Bowl), LSU Tigers (10-2, Chick-Fil-A Bowl), Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, Cotton Bowl), & South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, Outback Bowl): These four teams, combined with Alabama and Florida, give the SEC 6 of the top 10 BCS teams... Things to look forward to when the new "playoff" system commences...a four team SEC bracket! Huzzah?

Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, Cotton Bowl): The Sooners earned the title of "Traditional Power That Didn't Make a BCS Bowl While Some No-Name Non-AQ Team Did". I am absolutely convinced this moniker will catch on.

Clemson Tigers (10-2, Chick-Fil-A Bowl): Oh, to be in the Coastal Division...

Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, Capital One Bowl): After that debacle against Wisky, the Huskers should be thankful they're even allowed to be in a bowl game at all..

Boise St. Broncos (10-2, Las Vegas Bowl): None of you actually thought this was happening, right?

So, what have we learned this season? Let's do a scientific poll and find out!

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