Sunday December 6th, 2009

We literally came within one second of seeing complete BCS anarchy Saturday night. Had Colt McCoy thrown the ball way one second later -- or had replay officials not come to his rescue -- Nebraska would have knocked off No. 3 Texas in Saturday night's Big 12 championship game.

Fortunately for McCoy, the Longhorns and, most notably, the BCS overlords, Hunter Lawrence nailed a game-winning 46-yard field goal. It will be an absolute shock if Sunday night's selection show reveals anything other than an Alabama-Texas BCS title game.

"There is no reason to think otherwise,"'s Jerry Palm said late Saturday night. "They may not be the unanimous No. 2 in the polls. TCU will get some votes. Cincinnati will, too. But there's no reason to think Texas won't be No. 2" in the final BCS standings.

In another, 11th-hour BCS development, sources tell me the Fiesta Bowl committee took an unexpected turn in it deliberations this week and is now leaning heavily toward a matchup of the two undefeated mid-majors, TCU and Boise State. That would leave the Orange Bowl free to select Iowa or Penn State and send Cincinnati to the Sugar Bowl to face Florida.

Iowa had been the surefire Big Ten pick for the Fiesta Bowl; I have no idea, however, whether the Orange Bowl will select the Hawkeyes or Nittany Lions.

Some other bowl-related developments Saturday:

• Arizona's (8-4, 6-3 Pac-10) victory over USC (8-4, 5-4) coupled with Cal's (8-4, 5-4) blowout loss to Washington likely sends the Wildcats all the way to the Holiday Bowl. The Emerald Bowl will likely pick between the Trojans and Bears; the other will slip to the Poinsettia Bowl.

• Following Cincinnati's BCS-clinching win over Pittsburgh, the Gator Bowl officially invited 9-3 West Virginia. The Panthers (9-3) slipped to the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

• The Gator Bowl is still expected to choose 6-6 Florida State to honor Bobby Bowden, but there remains disagreement with the ACC as to whether the bowl is allowed to do so. As of Saturday night there had been no official green light.

• Finally, it's important to remember that bowls are NOT obligated to choose their teams in exact order of conference standings. For instance, "ACC No. 3" means "third choice of ACC teams" -- not "the ACC's third-place team." Also, a bowl can only select a 6-6 team from a conference if no 7-5 team from that league is still available, and bowls seeking a replacement for a conference without enough eligible teams cannot choose a 6-6 team if there is a 7-5 team available.

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