Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Cleaning up the mess in the BCS

Upset Saturday was bound to happen sometime.

Without last week’s stunning turn of events, we would have likely watched Nebraska win the Big XII title game and prance into the Rose Bowl to face Miami — another undefeated team.

That would have been too easy. Now, it’s time to argue and speculate about the teams deserving to play in the BCS games and other New Year’s Day bowl games.

With only two undefeated teams left — one who will likely end up in the Liberty Bowl (BYU) — and seven one-loss teams, we once again have controversy in college football.

Still, we have to abide by the system, and here is how it works.

After No. 1 and No. 2 are decided, the Orange Bowl gets its first pick of teams. The Sugar Bowl picks the next two, and the Orange Bowl gets the final choice. The Fiesta Bowl will take the Pac-10 and Big XII at-large teams.

With that, here are my 2002 bowl projections.

Rose Bowl: Jan. 3, 2002. Miami vs. Florida

Miami has basically controlled its own destiny since Day One of the season, and thanks to Oklahoma State and Colorado, the Gators are now on path to Pasadena like they ought to be. Of course, no one is saying that this is a guaranteed thing. Winning in Blacksburg, Va., has never been easy for the ‘Canes, and playing the Vols on Saturday is no walk in the park for UF, especially with Earnest Graham out three to five weeks with an injury. Also, if Auburn — the only team to blemish the Gators’ record this year — beats LSU this week, Florida will be facing the Tigers in the SEC title game on Dec. 8.

Orange Bowl: Jan. 2, 2002. Tennessee vs. Maryland

These two teams really don’t have much of a history against each other, unless you think back to the 1953 Sugar Bowl when the Terps upended the Vols 28-13 for their first and only national championship. But this matchup may not happen if the Vols get a Huskie-esque shellacking by the Gators. If that happens, expect the Orange Bowl committee to choose Nebraska.

Fiesta Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Oregon vs. Texas

This game is the most likely to happen of any of the BCS games, if both teams win this weekend. Last year’s Holiday Bowl between the two was a shootout, as the Ducks edged Texas 35-30, and expect this year’s to be the same with two potent offenses.


Sugar Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Nebraska vs. Illinois

Fine, Nebraska was embarrassed by Colorado last week. But bear in mind, the Huskers have only one loss this season and are currently No. 4 in the BCS standings. Nonetheless, the Huskers will have over a month to prepare to figure out what went wrong defensively, because Illinois will put points on the board.

Citrus Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Michigan vs. South Carolina

Within seconds of losing to Ohio State last week, it seemed Michigan had already accepted an invitation to the Citrus Bowl. The Gamecocks will be invited over Georgia simply because they have had a bigger name this season. These two teams match up well, as both have tough defenses, solid running attacks and up-and-down quarterbacks.

Cotton Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Oklahoma vs. Georgia

Everyone has figured out the key to success against Oklahoma: Score points. The Sooner offense has played pitifully this season and really has become worse in the past few weeks. Georgia will end its season with a big win against Georgia Tech and a gimme against winless Houston this weekend. OU would be playing in its first-ever Cotton Bowl.

Gator Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Florida State vs. Virginia Tech

Instead of a rematch between two powerhouses that the 1999 national championship game had, we have a match-up between a Michael Vick-less team and a Chris Weinke-less and Peter Warrick-less squad. This year, both were expected to have much better seasons than the inconsistent ones they had. Bobby Bowden will have to get his team fired up, since FSU has not played in the Gator Bowl since 1985.

Outback Bowl: Jan. 1, 2002. Ohio State vs. Auburn

The Buckeyes have accepted an invitation to Tampa, Fla. If the Tigers are to end up here, they would have to defeat LSU this week and lose to Florida in the SEC title game. If they defeat Florida for a second time, then Auburn would play in the Sugar Bowl. Otherwise, they will likely end up here, the Cotton Bowl or the Peach Bowl. Jim Tressel would love for his Buckeye team to end on a good note — beating Michigan and an Outback Bowl victory.

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