BCS Bound?

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Everybody has their different take on the teams that will be in the BCS bowls this year. The picture is definitely becoming more clear each week, and at this point it looks like Iowa's inclusion is a real possibility. So here is my take:

BCS Top 14:
  1. Florida
  2. Alabama
  3. Texas
  4. TCU
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Boise State
  7. Georgia Tech
  8. LSU
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Ohio State
  11. Oregon
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Iowa
  14. Penn State
Pac-10: 1 team
The Pac-10 is still wide open as there are 4 teams (Oregon, Stanford, Oregon State, and Arizona) still with a shot at a championship. It will most likely be Oregon, but whoever it is will be the lone Pac-10 representative in the BCS. The runner up will at best be 9-3, and this year that will not be good enough.

SEC: 2 teams
Florida and Alabama have already locked up their places in the SEC championship game and the winner will get the automatic bid, but the loser will almost certainly be an at large pick. The only scenario I don't see this happening is if Alabama loses to Chattanooga (yeah right...), Auburn, and Florida. LSU could get the 2nd SEC place as long as they win out. So, basically there is no way SEC only gets 1 team.

Big 12: 1 or 2 teams
Unless Texas has a complete meltdown the next two weeks against Kansas and Texas A&M, the Longhorns are in and likely in the title game. There are 2 scenarios that the Big 12 could get a 2nd team in. First, Texas loses in teh B12 title game. The North champ would get the auto bid, and Texas at 12-1 would still be picked. Second, Oklahoma State could win out (including a win at Oklahoma) . At 10-2 the Cowboys might be an attractive pick for the BCS.

ACC: 1 or 2 teams
There is really only 1 worthy team in the ACC and that's Georgia Tech. But with a conference title game there is always the chance of an underdog (in this case, most likely Clemson) getting the automatic spot. So the question would be, if Georgia Tech loses in the ACC title game and finishes 11-2, would they get get an at large spot?

Big East: 1 or 2 teams
Cincinnati is in the driver's seat in the Big East and may still have a shot at the national title (crazier things have happened). The match up against Pittsburgh in 2 weeks will decide the conference champion. If Cincinnati wins, then Pitt could still be 10-2 and would likely be in the top 14. If Pitt wins, Cincinnati will likely be 11-1 and I think would be a very attractive pick for the BCS. And, a team nobody is talking about, Rutgers even has a chance to finish 10-2 if they win out and could work its way into the mix (though I don't think it's likely).

Non-BCS: 1 or 2 teams
TCU and Boise State have both survived their toughest tests and should both finish undefeated and in the top 10. It looks like TCU at this point will be the automatic nod, but Boise State, considering their success in past BCS games, would be an attractive at large choice.

Big Ten: 1 or 2 teams.
Saving the best for last... Ohio State has things locked up, but it's likely that Penn State, Wisconsin, and Iowa will all finished 10-2 and all be in the top 14 in the BCS. If there is a spot open, then who do they take? From a most-deserved perspective, Iowa would be the obvious choice with wins over the other 2. Of course though, that doesn't matter. Penn State, with its huge fan base, could be an option. And even Wisconsin, though less likely, has good traveling fans.

Who is it?
If you're counting, that's 7 spots that are locks and another (the SEC runner-up) that is a virtual lock. So, there are just 2 spots open for Iowa to play in a BCS bowl for just the second time. Here's how I see the pecking order to fall (minus Iowa):
  1. Texas (12-1): lost in B12 title game
  2. Cincinnati (11-1): lost to Pittsburgh
  3. Penn State (10-2): win out
  4. Boise State (12-0): win out
  5. Oklahoma State (10-2): win out
  6. Georgia Tech (11-2): lost in ACC title game
  7. Pittsburgh (10-2): lost to Cincinnati
  8. Wisconsin (10-2): win out
The order isn't really set in stone and I could easily see teams being flopped around, but these are probably the only teams with a shot at one of the 2 open at large spots. The question becomes, where would you put Iowa? I'd say probably somewhere between 3rd and 5th. The big problem would be sitting behind Penn State. If PSU is in, then Iowa is automatically out. The other potential problem I see is a Texas loss. Texas would still get a spot almost certainly and that would narrow the options. Couple that with Boise State (who will likely be undefeated and its hard to argue with that), and Iowa could get pushed out.

Realistically though, a victory over Minnesota puts Iowa in a great position.
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