Stewart Mandel

Stewart Mandel: Bowl Projections: USC's upset of Stanford creates Pac-12 chain reaction

Javorius Allen (37) and USC shook up the bowl projections with their upset of Stanford on Saturday.

Most would agree the Pac-12 is, at worst, the second-best conference this year. But USC’s upset of Stanford likely cost the league a second BCS berth, since the Fiesta Bowl is not an option this year. That pushes all of the Pac-12′s other teams down a rung and could leave two or more eligible teams without a guaranteed spot. They could land anywhere from Dallas to Detroit to Shreveport.
(NOTE: A previous version of this column included the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego as an option, but that game has a secondary agreement with the MAC. The table has been updated accordingly.)
Elsewhere, my dream of a Northern Illinois-Notre Dame Pizza Bowl is likely no more — the Fighting Irish have a lot of fans in New York and the Big 12 will not be able to fill its spot in the Pinstripe Bowl. Also, two unforeseen subplots emerged after I was done moving around this week’s pieces. The Chick-fil-A Bowl could become the Steve Spurrier Bowl by pitting Duke against South Carolina, while the Outback Bowl could reunite old Big 8 rivals Nebraska and Missouri in a Big Ten-SEC matchup.
By the way, I’m currently projecting 76 eligible teams for 70 spots. The MAC and Sun Belt will each likely have multiple teams left out.
A quick refresher on how all this works:
? After the No. 1 and 2 teams are slotted and replaced, the BCS at-large selection order this year is: 1) Orange, 2) Sugar and 3) Fiesta, The highest-ranked champion from a non-automatic qualifier is guaranteed a BCS berth if it finishes in the top 12, or in the top 16 and ahead of an AQ-conference champion.
? Most bowls are not obligated — I repeat, NOT OBLIGATED — to choose in exact order of conference standings. For instance, “Big 12 No. 3″ means “third selection of Big 12 teams,” not “the Big 12′s third-place team.” Bowls often pick a team with an inferior record due to its location, the propensity of its fans to travel, the need to avoid a regular-season rematch or good old backroom politicking.
BCS Bowls
Jan. 1 Rose Pasadena, Calif.: Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. Oregon (Pac-12 champ)
Jan. 1 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz.: Baylor (Big 12 champ) vs. Fresno State (BCS at-large)
Jan. 2 Sugar New Orleans: Auburn (BCS at-large) vs. UCF (AAC champ)
Jan. 3 Orange Miami: Clemson (BCS at-large) vs. Michigan State (BCS at-large)
Jan. 6 Champ. Pasadena, Calif.: Alabama (BCS No. 1) vs. Florida State (BCS No. 2)
Other Bowls
Dec. 21 New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M.: San Diego State (MWC) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 No. 7)
Dec. 21 Las Vegas Las Vegas: Boise State (MWC No. 1) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 21 Idaho Potato Boise, Idaho: San Jose State (MWC) vs. Ball State (MAC)
Dec. 21 New Orleans New Orleans: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Tulane (C-USA)
Dec. 23 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg, Fla.: Toledo (AAC*) vs. Marshall (C-USA)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu: UNLV (MWC) vs. Rice (C-USA)
Dec. 26 Little Caesars Detroit: Northern Illinois (MAC) vs. Syracuse (Big Ten No. 8*)
Dec. 26 Poinsettia San Diego: Utah State (MWC No. 2) vs. Buffalo (Army*)
Dec. 27 Military Annapolis, Md.: Maryland (ACC No. 8) vs. Middle Tennessee State (C-USA)
Dec. 27 Texas Houston: Iowa (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 6)
Dec. 27 Fight Hunger San Francisco: Washington (Pac-12 No. 6) vs. BYU (BYU)
Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bronx, N.Y.: Rutgers (AAC No. 4) vs. Notre Dame (Big 12 No. 7*)
Dec. 28 Belk Charlotte, N.C.: Houston (AAC No. 3) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC No. 5)
Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Orlando, Fla.: Louisville (AAC No. 2) vs. Miami (ACC No. 3)
Dec. 28 Wild Wings Tempe, Ariz.: Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Michigan (Big Ten No. 4)
Dec. 30 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas: Colorado State (MWC) vs. Navy (Navy)
Dec. 30 Music City Nashville, Tenn.: Boston College (ACC No. 6) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Dec. 30 Alamo San Antonio: Stanford (Pac-12 No. 2) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego: UCLA (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Kansas State (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 AdvoCare Shreveport, La.: North Carolina (ACC No. 7) vs. Arizona (SEC*)
Dec. 31 Sun El Paso, Texas: Virginia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 4)
Dec. 31 Liberty Memphis, Tenn.: East Carolina C-USA No. 1) vs. Tennessee (SEC)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Atlanta: Duke (ACC No. 2) vs. South Carolina (SEC)
Jan. 1 Heart of Dallas Dallas: Oregon State (Big Ten No. 7*) vs. North Texas C-USA)
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville, Fla.: Minnesota (Big Ten No. 5) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa, Fla.: Nebraska (Big Ten No. 3) vs. Missouri (SEC)
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando, Fla.: Texas A&M (SEC No. 2) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten No. 2)
Jan. 3 Cotton Arlington, Texas: Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC)
Jan. 4 BBVA Compass Birmingham, Ala.: Cincinnati (AAC) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)
Jan. 5 GoDaddy Mobile, Ala.: Bowling Green (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
* — Replacement team for a conference without an eligible team

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