Bowl projections: Stanford win creates nationwide ripple
I didn't make too many changes from last week, but the ripple effect of Stanford's win over Oregon did impact both the BCS lineup and one conference's entire lineup. Florida State's move up to the national title game allowed Clemson to move up to the Orange Bowl but cost Wisconsin its projected at-large berth. That knocked every Big Ten team down a rung, the end result of which is Minnesota might end up in the Texas Bowl for a second straight year despite fielding a much better team. The ACC also had a few teams move around or enter the fray (Pittsburgh and Syracuse).
Elsewhere, the SEC now has an open spot with Florida predicted to go 5-7, while the Mountain West filled its spot with San Diego State joining the mix. Last week I only had room for four MAC teams; this week there are six. And Notre Dame's loss to Pittsburgh ensures the Irish will in fact be available for some lucky lower-tier game. I'm sticking with the Pizza Bowl for now.
A quick refresher on how all this works:
• After the No. 1 and 2 teams are slotted and replaced, the BCS at-large selection order this year is: 1) Orange, 2) Sugar and 3) Fiesta. The highest-ranked champion from a non-automatic qualifier is guaranteed a BCS berth if it finishes in the top 12 or in the top 16 and ahead of an AQ-conference champion.
• Most bowls are not obligated -- I repeat, NOT OBLIGATED -- to choose in exact order of conference standings. For instance, "Big 12 No. 3" means "third selection of Big 12 teams," not "the Big 12's third-place team." Bowls often pick a team with an inferior record due to geography, anticipated fan travel, the need to avoid a regular-season rematch or good old backroom politicking.
Teams in bold have accepted a bid.
* -- Replacement team for a conference without an eligible team