Posted: Sun December 8, 2013 4:26AM; Updated: Sun December 8, 2013 4:55PM
Stewart Mandel

Bowl Projections: Championship Saturday leaves little unanswered

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Bryce Petty capped off a tremendous season by propelling Baylor to the Fiesta Bowl
Quarterback Bryce Petty and Baylor locked up the Big 12's Fiesta Bowl bid with a 30-10 win over Texas.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I can't recall a final weekend of the season where the expected BCS bowl lineup changed so radically.

It started Friday night with Bowling Green's upset of Northern Illinois, which opened up an extra at-large spot for a power-conference school in the Sugar Bowl. Then on Saturday, Oklahoma upset Oklahoma State, opening the door for Baylor to win an outright Big 12 championship and trip to the Fiesta Bowl. And then of course Auburn beat Missouri and Michigan State upset Ohio State, lifting the SEC champ to yet-another BCS title game and most likely sending the Buckeyes to the Orange Bowl to face ACC replacement Clemson.

ROSENBERG: Michigan State upsets Ohio State to bring fitting end to BCS era

Heading into Saturday the Orange Bowl was looking forward to hosting Alabama, but the Tide will instead head to the Sugar Bowl to replace Auburn. So the one big mystery Sunday night will be who the New Orleans game picks as the Tide's opponent. The obvious national draw would be Alabama-Oregon, a matchup many have been pining for the past two seasons. But the Sugar Bowl cares more about ticket sales than TV ratings, has never hosted a former Pac-10 team and has a contractual partnership with the Big 12 starting next year. For those reasons I'm predicting the Sugar Bowl takes 10-2 Oklahoma over 10-2 Oregon.

STAPLES: SEC champ Auburn one win away from improbable BCS dream

A few other notes heading into Sunday.

• The Capital One, Cotton, Outback and Chick-fil-A's SEC picks are no given, but the Capital One is more likely to take 10-2 South Carolina than 11-2 Missouri, and the Tigers can't fall below the Cotton Bowl. If both those picks happen, LSU will go to the Outback Bowl.

• It's a coin flip whether the Chick-fil-A Bowl takes 10-3 Duke or 9-3 Miami to meet likely SEC choice Texas A&M.

• Northern Illinois' expected landing spot after falling out of the BCS is the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

The Mountain West lineup after Fresno State (which accepted a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl) is completely in flux, in part because of the uncertainty surrounding Boise State. There were rumblings late Saturday about ESPN Regional (which owns nine bowl games and can thus swap teams among them) working out a deal to send Boise to the Hawaii Bowl to face a surplus Pac-12 opponent.

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 geography, anticipated fan travel, the need to avoid a regular-season rematch, or good old backroom politicking.

Teams in bold have accepted a bid.

BCS bowls
DateBowlLocationPredicted matchup
Jan. 1 Rose Pasadena, Calif. Michigan State (Big Ten champ) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 champ)
Jan. 1 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Baylor (Big 12 champ) vs. UCF (AAC champ)
Jan. 2 Sugar New Orleans Alabama (BCS at-large) vs. Oklahoma (BCS at-large)
Jan. 3 Orange Miami Clemson (BCS at-large) vs. Ohio State (BCS at-large)
Jan. 6 BCS championship Pasadena, Calif. Florida State (BCS No. 1) vs. Auburn (BCS No. 2)

Other bowls
DateBowlLocationPredicted matchup
Dec. 21 New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. Colorado State (MWC) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 No. 7)
Dec. 21 Las Vegas Las Vegas Fresno State (MWC No. 1) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 21 Idaho Potato Boise, Idaho San Diego State (MWC) vs. Buffalo (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. Ohio (MAC) vs. East Carolina (C-USA)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu Boise State (MWC) vs. Oregon State (C-USA*)
Dec. 26 Little Caesars Detroit Bowling Green (MAC) vs. Pittsburgh (Big Ten No. 8*)
Dec. 26 Poinsettia San Diego Utah State (MWC No. 2) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Dec. 27 Military Annapolis, Md. Maryland (ACC No. 8) vs. Marshall (C-USA)
Dec. 27 Texas Houston Minnesota (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Syracuse (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 Cincinnati (AAC No. 3) vs. North Carolina (ACC No. 5)
Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Orlando Louisville (AAC No. 2) vs. Miami (ACC No. 3)
Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Tempe, Ariz. Kansas State (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten No. 4)
Dec. 30 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas Middle Tennessee State (MWC) vs. Navy (Navy)
Dec. 30 Music City Nashville Georgia Tech (ACC No. 6) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
Dec. 30 Alamo San Antonio Oregon (Pac-12 No. 2) vs. Texas (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 AdvoCare Shreveport, La. Boston College (ACC No. 7) vs. Arizona (SEC*)
Dec. 31 Sun El Paso, Texas Virginia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 No. 4)
Dec. 31 Liberty Memphis Rice (C-USA No. 1) vs. Mississippi State (SEC)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Atlanta Duke (ACC No. 2) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)
Jan. 1 Heart of Dallas Dallas UNLV (MWC) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville Michigan (Big Ten No. 5) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa Iowa (Big Ten No. 3) vs. LSU (SEC)
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando South Carolina (SEC No. 2) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten No. 2)
Jan. 3 Cotton Arlington, Texas Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Missouri (SEC)
Jan. 4 BBVA Compass Birmingham, Ala. Houston (AAC) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)
Jan. 5 GoDaddy Mobile, Ala. Ball State (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)

* -- Replacement team for a conference without an eligible team

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