Just scattershooting some here, but what would happen if Texas or USC loses one of their last two games? There would be a bunch of one-loss teams that would be trying to lay claim to that coveted BcS Rose Bowl spot.
The contenders are:
• Miami (8-1): The Hurricanes have won eight in a row since an opening-night loss to Florida State (10-7) on Sept. 5, a game in which they were the better team but managed to lose. After their beat down of Virginia Tech on Nov. 5, it's hard to see anybody playing better.
• LSU (8-1): If not for one regrettable 4th quarter against Tennessee, the Tigers would be 9-0 and right in the middle of a big BcS argument.
• Penn State (9-1): Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions are one play away (a last-second touchdown pass by Michigan) from also being undefeated. Could you see the BcS formula leaving an undefeated Joe Pa out of the Rose Bowl?
• Virginia Tech (8-1): Despite getting thrashed by Miami, this team can beat anybody on a given day. Alabama (9-1), Oregon (9-1), UCLA (9-1), West Virginia (8-1) and a one-loss Texas/USC could all make arguments, but not as compelling as the other four.
Clip and save this. If USC or Texas loses in the next three weeks, it just might come in handy.
So projecting the bowls as things stand now…
• Rose Bowl (BcS Championship), Jan. 4: With Alabama suffering its first loss, the BcS championship game looks like an undisputed No. 1 USC (10-0) vs. No. 2 Texas (10-0). The Trojans do not have a gimme in No. 16 Fresno State (8-1) on Saturday while Texas gets the week off before hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 25. If either stumbles, surging Miami (8-1) is there to step into the BcS championship game.
Projected game: No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas Two words - Go Trojans!
• Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: Miami (8-1), which is No. 3 in today's BcS standings, looks pretty untouchable right now with regular-season games remaining against Georgia Tech and Virginia. If the Hurricanes win out and beat Florida State in the ACC championship game, they likely would host the Big Ten champion in the Orange. That will be Penn State (9-1) if the Nittany Lions can win at Michigan State (5-5) on Saturday.
Projected game: Miami vs. Penn State
• Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2: The Fiesta still likes Notre Dame (7-2) if the Irish can win their final two games, against Syracuse and Stanford. If Alabama (9-1) beats Auburn on Saturday but does not reach the SEC championship game, the Fiesta could lean heavily toward a Notre Dame-Alabama matchup. If Alabama stumbles on Saturday, don't be surprised if Ohio State (8-2) gets in the mix if the Buckeyes beat Michigan.
Projected game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
• Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2: LSU (8-1) looks like the team to beat in the SEC right now. Wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas would put the Tigers into the SEC championship game, probably against Georgia. The winner of that game will go to the Sugar to host the Big East champion, probably West Virginia (8-1).
Projected game: LSU vs. West Virginia