ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Denard Robinson #16 of the University of Michigan throws a 43 yard touchdown to Junior Hemingway #21 in the second quarter during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Just when you thought that all was lost. Just when it seemed that the B1G was having the worst day since...well, this year's first day, Michigan won the most exciting game in the history of a twelve team Big Ten. What will drive the anti-Michigan crowd nuts, is how nicely their schedule sets up for a legitimate run at the BCS. Yes, their defense is flawed. No, they won't play against Notre Dame's turnover team every week. But, they're going to win their last two non-con games. They'll beat Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. That's eight. Can they get two wins from Northwestern, Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State? It says here they can. And at 10-2, they may not win the Legends, but they may get selected for the BCS ahead of the B1G Title Game loser, much like 10-2 Arkansas getting the SEC bid last year. There's still room. Feel free to hop on the Michigan bandwagon.
As for the projections, let's remember that there are rules:
The best teams don't always go to the best games. In the end, butts in the seat and eyes to the television are the biggest factors.
The order of BCS selection is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
Until a team is officially bowl banned, we assume that they can and will go. So, no USC. Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina, Miami...you're in consideration until otherwise notified.
If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team qualifies for the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will NOT be required to take a non-automatic qualifier. This was only required of the Rose Bowl the first time (2010 season) it occurred over the current four-year contract.
The Insight Bowl picks its Big Ten team ahead of the Gator Bowl this year. It will rotate the other way next year.
Got it? Good. Let's get on to the projections.
Virginia Tech is chugging toward it's 13-0 season.
Alabama's defense looked scary. How many of those starters are future pros? Ten? Eleven?
The B1G is Wisconsin's for the taking. I'm expecting 12-1 when it's all over.
I still like Oregon over Stanford, and I expect that LSU loss won't look bad on their final resume.
If Oklahoma wants to reach the BCS title game, they'll need to run the table. I'm still thinking that they drop one somewhere.
10-2 Stanford gets an at large pick.
10-2 LSU goes to the Sugar Bowl as the replacement for Alabama.
Left with the choice between Boise State and West Virginia, the Sugar Bowl gives us a dream matchup.
Michigan is the replacement for Virginia Tech.
West Virginia is the best that the Big East has to offer. This game is in the 40s.
10-2 Nebraska drops the B1G Title game to Wisconsin. Getting passed over for Michigan makes it feel like old times in the Big 12.
SEC East champ South Carolina gets the bid for the SEC, with a similar 10-3 record.
Look, Toledo is a good MAC team. But if Ohio State is a contender, that shouldn't matter. Today was the beginning of the end of the Fickel Era in Columbus.
It's a bit of a reach, and a return trip, but the Outback can't resist the sizzle of matching Florida with the Buckeyes.
8-4 Penn State versus 8-4 Texas. It's a sell out, and it does huge numbers for ESPN.
I can't believe that I'm saying this, but Northwestern gets to 9 wins. They still get passed over by Ohio and Penn State, but they get a better chance at ending their bowl skid.
Tennessee slips in at 7-5. Considering their non-conference schedule, it's not something to be that proud of.
Sparty may be the third best team in the Big Ten, but that schedule will still see them lose four games.
This will be a 6-6 Big 12 team. Iowa State has a huge game at UConn on Friday night. A win, and this bowl game is possible.
7-5 Iowa gets the nod over 7-5 Illinois. Why? Illinois played in Texas last year, while Iowa hasn't bowled there since 2006.
Expect to see the best from the C-USA West, outside of the league champ.
Illinois begrudgingly packs its bags for Detroit.
Toledo gets the MAC bid. I would not take them lightly.
If you can't get to six wins, you're on the couch with the Queso Bowl. With the opponents that they were playing, all three of these teams needed to win today to have a chance at even getting to six wins. You can argue whose loss was the most pathetic, but with where they stand, none of these three can get past five wins.
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