In the SEC Championship game, Florida was able to outlast Alabama and took the game over in the 4th quarter en route to a 31-20 victory. Making the win even more impressive was that superstar, do-everything Percy Harvin did not play. Despite the absence of Harvin, the Gators were able to survive because they have one of the greatest players in the history of college football. Yes, I said it: Tim Tebow is one of the greatest players in the history of college football. As a Tennessee fan, I have always “hated” Tebow; but I have to admit that he makes it pretty hard to do so.
What more could you want in a superstar player? He’s an oustanding player, he sounds like a good, genuine kid (even if he comes across as slightly haughty and holier-than-thou every now and then), and my goodness does he compete. I loved the speech he gave after Florida was upset by Mississippi, mainly because he complete backed it up. I don’t know if he is more deserving that Sam Bradford for the Heisman Trophy this year, but it would be pretty hard to argue with Tebow if he is the choice.
So Florida won, and they should be in the BCS National Championship Game.
In the Big 12 Championship game, Sam Bradford and Oklahoma continued their explosive ways. The Sooners because the first team in college football history to score 60 or more points in five straight games. That is ridiculous. And while Texas has a logical argument against Oklahoma to be in the title game, I’m not sure how you can watch Oklahoma play and reasonably say they should not be playing for it all. I am sure that Texas fans are holding out hope that something quirky will happen and that they will somehow eclipse Florida or Oklahoma, but it’s not happening — nor should it.
So as we look at the updated projections for the BCS bowl games, we can pretty much fill in the championship game with pen:
BCS National Championship Game: Florida v Oklahoma
And we know another one for sure as well:
Rose Bowl: USC v Penn State
The other three games are all subject to the choices of the individual bowl games as to who they match up with the automatic tie-in. The Orange Bowl will get the ACC Champ Virginia Tech, while the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will get the #2 teams from the SEC and Big 12, respectively: Alabama and Texas. And Cincinnati won the Big East, so they will get a bid as well.
Utah also gets an automatic bid by virtue of winning the Mountain West Conference and being ranked in the top 12 of the BCS. By rule, only one automatic bid will go to a non-BCS conference team. Other teams, like a Boise State, then go into the normal at-large pool — meaning they have no chance.
So what will the other matchups be?
By rule, choice of at-large teams goes in the order of the proximity to the BCS Championship game. That means that the order for the 2009 BCS is Fiesta, Sugar, then Orange.
Here are the most reasonable projections:
Fiesta Bowl: Texas v Ohio State
Sugar Bowl: Alabama v Utah
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech v Cincinnati
You have to assume that the Fiesta Bowl will take Ohio State to leverage their gargantuan fan base and create a high profile, made-for-TV matchup against Texas. If only those two fan bases watch the game, ratings will be great. And I would think that the Sugar Bowl would want undefeated Utah over Cincinnati, leaving the Bearcats to head down to Miami for the Orange Bowl.
Obviously, we will have to watch and see how the final BCS rankings shake out. My dream is to wake up tomorrow to a Texas-USC BCS National Championship game, because surely the BCS would then be blown up in favor of a playoff. The chances of that happening, however, are about as good as the chances of Tim Tebow being picked up for a DUI tonight — absolutely impossible.
And the truth is, there is no matchup I can think of that will get me more excited for the BCS National Championship game than Florida-Oklahoma. Sure, both Alabama and Texas only have one loss, and Texas actually beat Oklahoma back in October. But no two teams have been more dominant over the past 6 weeks in college football — and they are more than deserving of a berth in the title game under the current system.
But wouldn’t it be great to see a 4-team or 8-team playoff? We might end up with Oklahoma-Florida anyway, but who knows? That’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament, and it could add even more excitement to college football — if we are ever to be so lucky.
(Follow the link to see the complete 2008-09 College Football Bowl Schedule. We’ll update it once all the matchups are announced.)