Different SEC BCS scenarios


It’s the final year of the BCS, headed into the final weekend. We know something crazy is going to happen, right?

The odds are against the SEC winning its eighth straight national championship. Leaving the conference’s title hopes in the wide-open arms of a one-dimensional Michigan State team doesn’t make anyone feel great at all.

Related: SEC Bowl Projections

Still, two SEC teams will make it to BCS bowl games, even without a national championship berth, and there’s still a shot there’s an all-SEC BCS national championship…a long shot, that is.

The top five in the BCS sits like this heading into conference championship weekend:

1. FSU
2. Ohio State
3. Auburn
4. Alabama
5. Missouri

The most likely path if the favorites play out: The one-loss SEC Champion will get the automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl, and Alabama, which will likely be the second-highest BCS ranked SEC team over the SEC Championship loser, should get the at-large bid for the Orange Bowl. Undefeated Ohio State and FSU will play for all the marbles. That’s the most likely scenario at this point.

Related: SEC Championship Game Predictions 

Does a one-loss SEC Champion get in over an undefeated Ohio State? If Auburn didn’t jump Ohio State last week with their win over Alabama, I’m not sure the SEC gets in if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship. If this were to happen, OSU would have to play a dreadful game against Michigan State in a winning effort, and the SEC Champion would have dominate in Atlanta with no questions asked. Furthermore, the only likely SEC team that could jump an undefeated Ohio State is Auburn, not Missouri. The only way I see it that the SEC gets into the BCS National Championship is if OSU loses Saturday.

Auburn plays for a national championship if: They win the SEC Championship and Ohio State loses Saturday, or if Auburn throttles Missouri with ease and OSU really struggles in a winning effort against MSU. That might be enough momentum from voters to put Auburn ahead of Ohio State.

Missouri plays for a national championship if: Ohio State loses to Michigan State, and Mizzou wins in Atlanta. I don’t see any way Missouri jumps an undefeated OSU, despite being the one-loss SEC Champion currently sitting at No. 5.

The ultimate chaos situation: If FSU loses to Duke and Ohio State loses to Michigan State, we could be looking at another All-SEC national championship with the one-loss SEC Champion against Alabama. Imagine the meltdown of the rest of college football.

One team that could trump Alabama if OSU and FSU lose: There’s currently a lot of momentum in Oklahoma State’s corner. With one loss and Oklahoma on the schedule Saturday, the Cowboys could theoretically find its way into the national championship. But the odds are slim to none.

Where does this leave #8 South Carolina? South Carolina’s best bowl hopes ride on an Auburn win and Missouri loss. With Alabama likely grabbing that other BCS at large bid, South Carolina could land in the Capital One Bowl, mainly because of the head-to-head win against Missouri. The Cotton Bowl is also in the mix, too. So, if you’re South Carolina, you want Auburn to win the SEC Championship.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports



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  • Thank you for seeing reason, Jon. Half of Gamecock nation is all tied up in knots about going to the Cotton Bowl. Personally, I don’t think we have a good shot at stealing that bid from the West, and I don’t really want to. It’s a tougher, more expensive trip, and Capital One is at least equal in prestige and pays out more. Plus, you can’t beat that Florida weather. When you miss the BCS, you have to just think of it as a vacation opportunity. Why couldn’t we just beat Tennessee?

    • Good thoughts 270. I want the Cotton Bowl, partly because it is close to home, but I see your point. One thing to consider is that the Cotton Bowl is probably a bigger stage than the Capital One (even though Capital One may have a bit more prestige). Yes, the Capital One is on New Year’s Day and leads in to the Rose Bowl, but the Cotton Bowl is on a Friday night (January 3rd) and only has the Orange Bowl to compete with. I think there will be four games that kickoff on New Year’s day between 12-1pm (including the Capital One bowl). Considering that an ACC team will be playing in the Orange Bowl and that the Cotton could be against TX or OK, that is a pretty big stage for an SEC team. A potential match-up of Bama vs. Clemson will be a good draw in the Orange Bowl, but SC vs. OK or TX would be just as big because of the market out west. Either way, plenty of good exposure in either bowl game.

  • As a Mizzou fan, if we lose to Auburn I would rather to the the Cotton Bowl over the Capital One Bowl. Mizzou would get to play a former Big 12 foe and Mizzou wants to keep a presence in the state of Texas for obvious reasons.

  • It would be very interesting to see how everything would play out if we had the playoff this year.

  • I would think a road trip down I-95 vs. a flight to Dallas is preferred for USCe fans….

  • ” That might be enough momentum from voters to put Auburn ahead of Alabama.”

    I think you mean OSU. Cause Auburn is already ahead of Bama.

  • While I agree that you are probably right and Auburn is probably the only team that could jump OSU in the polls should they stay unbeaten; I think it is total BS. It could just as easily be argued that Mizzou has had a more impressive season than Auburn thus far. Sure Auburn has the Bama victory, but if Mizzou blows out Auburn they will have blown out the team that beat Bama. Regardless, 3 top 25 victories and being crowned champions of the toughest conference in all of football should be enough to surpass the cupcake factory that is OSU in this Tigers opinion.

  • Let’s face it…..the Gamecocks are paying dearly for the loss at a hapless Tennessee, and they have no one to blame for a somewhat disappointing bowl invitation except the results of that one game. I attended the Capital One Bowl 2 years ago when South Carolina literally shutdown Nebraska in the second half and won going away, even though the Nebraska coach said his team was the better team in his post game press conference. I attended the Outback Bowl this past January 1 when Clowney made his infamous hit after the bonehead first down call from the official. Now once again South Carolina is looking at either a Capital One Bowl invitation or an Outback Bowl invitation. The Capital One will pick first…..in all likelihood they will invite the Gamecocks. If they don’t the Outback Bowl will pick next, and if the Capital One doesn’t pick the Gamecocks, the Outback Bowl will. The Gamecocks will not be available when the Cotton Bowl makes their pick. Now, from a fan’s standpoint, I would much rather go to the Outback Bowl. That is an NFL stadium which is modern, and the locals were great with us. On the other hand, the stadium the Capital One Bowl is played in has been in dire need of renovation for years, and as a fan, I would pick the Outback Bowl. Again, the Gamecocks will not be available when the Cotton Bowl gets ready to pick.

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