By Ralph D. Russo
The Daily Item
This season, the B might as well stand for buh-bye.
The BCS is going away for good after January, and for the most part any tears shed by college football fans about its pending extinction are filled with joy.
That’s not totally fair, of course. The BCS was a step in the right direction. It was darn good to the Southeastern Conference, tended to work out well for Oklahoma and wasn’t all bad for Boise State.
Come 2014 it will be out with the Bowl Championship Series, in with the College Football Playoff and all will be perfect with the postseason. Right? Maybe.
Anyway, before we can start griping about the new system, we have one last season of griping about the old one. Here’s one educated guess at how the last BCS will play out.
1. Rose Bowl — Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. Oregon (at-large). The Buckeyes and Ducks have national championship aspirations, and if we fast-forward to next season maybe both would be in the semifinals with a chance to win a title. This season, they’ll have to settle for a rematch of the 2010 Rose Bowl, won by Ohio State.
2. Sugar Bowl — South Carolina (at-large) vs Louisville (American champ). The team that loses the SEC championship game usually gets sent to a non-BCS game — Hello, Orlando! — but the Gamecocks will be the exception thanks to some impressive nonconference victories and the desire to put Jadeveon Clowney’s likely last college game on a big stage. Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals make a return trip to New Orleans looking to make it two straight against SEC powerhouses after beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season.
3. Fiesta Bowl — Oklahoma (Big 12 champ) vs. Boise State (at-large automatic qualifier). Seems only fitting Boise State gets into the final BCS. In many ways, the Broncos have been the poster children for everything that’s wrong with a system that too often did not reward the best teams. On the other hand, without the BCS Boise State might never have gotten the opportunity to become America’s most polarizing college football team. A rematch of that unforgettable 2007 Fiesta Bowl against the Sooners awaits the Broncos. Oklahoma fans will relish the chance for payback.
4. Orange Bowl — Florida State (ACC champ) vs. Wisconsin (at-large). The Seminoles make it back-to-back ACC titles and earn a return trip to the Orange Bowl behind redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. The Badgers make it four straight BCS appearances, though this time it’s a trip to south Florida instead of southern California as new coach Gary Andersen proves to be a more than capable successor to Bret Bielema.
5. BCS National Championship — Alabama (SEC champ) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 champ). It’s time to stop being surprised by the Stanford Cardinal. This is what they are now. A legit college football powerhouse, with an emphasis on power. Coach David Shaw’s team will get the next shot at stopping Alabama and snapping the SEC’s streak of seven straight BCS titles.
6) And the winner is .... roll three-peat! Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, behind AJ McCarron, T.J. Yeldon, C.J. Mosley and an array of other NFL prospects with full first names, wins Alabama’s fourth championship in the last five seasons. And unlike the previous two, the Tide goes undefeated.
Six more predictions
— Ohio State beats Michigan in the Big Ten title game, avenging the Wolverines’ victory a week earlier in Ann Arbor.
— Stanford beats Southern California in the Pac-12 title game, avenging its only loss of the regular season to advance to the BCS championship game.
— Florida State beats Miami in the ACC title game, avenging a regular season loss that keeps the Seminoles from playing for a national title.
— Boise State beats Fresno State in the Mountain West title game, avenging its only regular season loss (notice a pattern) and earning a top-12 final BCS ranking and automatic BCS bid, despite not being unbeaten.
— Louisville proves to be the class of the American, but not a national title contender, losing twice in the regular season.
— Oklahoma wins a four-way tiebreaker for the Big 12 title, with Texas, Oklahoma State, TCU and the Sooners all finishing 6-2.