Bowl projections: Is Clemson Atlanta-bound again, at 11-1?

Clemson safety Robert Smith tackles Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings.

Photo by Sefton Ipock, Independent Mail

Clemson safety Robert Smith tackles Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings.

Bowl projections are always fun (and by fun, I mean maddening), but it is that time of the year. This is indeed a projection of Clemson's likely destination - with CBS and ESPN's outlook alongside - and not just if the season ended today.

Here's some factors to keep in mind...

1) Six conferences have an automatic bid to the BCS. Every bowl has a tie-in with at least one of those conferences as follows: Rose (PAC-12 v. Big Ten), Sugar (SEC), Orange (ACC) and Fiesta (Big 12).

2) If a non-automatic-qualifying (AQ) conference lands a team in the top-12, they earn an automatic bid. Another case, which could very well be a factor this year, is if they get into the top-16 and are ahead of all teams ranked in an AQ conference.

3) There's an order to the selection of the BCS at-larges, which starts with the bowls replacing BCS Championship Game participants. The order this year is: No. 1 team's conference bowl, No. 2 team's conference's bowl, Orange, Sugar then Fiesta.

Orange Bowl

ESPN: Mark Schlabach - Florida State v. UCF; Brad Edwards - Florida State v. Wisconsin.

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Florida State v. UCF.

O&W: Brandon Rink - Florida State v. Wisconsin

Sugar Bowl

ESPN: Mark Schlabach - South Carolina v. Wisconsin; Brad Edwards - Auburn v. Clemson.

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - South Carolina v. Wisconsin.

O&W: Brandon Rink - Auburn v. UCF

Chick-fil-A Bowl

ESPN: Mark Schlabach - Clemson v. Missouri; Brad Edwards - Miami v. Texas A&M.

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Clemson v. Missouri.

O&W: Brandon Rink - Clemson v. Missouri.

Analysis: This is the projection with a win over South Carolina or not, which is crazy because the Tigers could be in the top-five with a 'W' in Columbia, but it all comes down to BCS selection order politics. Here's what works against Clemson...

1) Non-AQ auto bid for Fresno State or Northern Illinois - One of the two will likely fend off the low-end of the BCS conferences' champ (AAC) and earn an auto bid by finishing in the top-16.

2) AAC champ still has to go somewhere.

3) FSU not making the National Title Game - They are currently in, but if Oregon wins out, the Ducks will likely pass them again.

4) The Orange has a higher pick this year - They have the top at-large selection and therefore don't have to get stuck with the AAC or non-AQ selection.

Who Clemson is rooting for/against, for a BCS bid is much the inverse of that list above (in order)...

1) Chaos in the Big Ten & 12 - The Big 12 is setting up to be a giant mess if undefeated Baylor can't survive a gauntlet that starts with Oklahoma Thursday. There's a chance they don't have an at-large eligible team by December. The Big Ten can be every bit as weird. That's the factor to weigh for the Orange, which obviously can't pit Clemson v. FSU in its game and doesn't necessarily have to pick an AAC or non-AQ team. Give them no choice and it's likely UCF.

2) Florida State to make the title game - Opens up the Orange and therefore another at-large spot essentially. Oregon would likely go to the Rose Bowl if they don't make it undefeated, and Alabama is Sugar Bowl-bound in case of loss there. If Stanford knocks out Oregon, they would likely be headed to the Rose and Oregon would be a targeted at-large. Either way, Clemson's BCS chances increase with FSU in Pasadena for that other game.

3) Fresno State and Northern Illinois to lose - Rooting against Cinderella is not typically what you do in March Madness, but in football? It's perfectly acceptable.

On the Chick-fil-A Bowl end, Clemson will have the most appeal of any ACC team - their only issue is if the CFA is dead-set on South Carolina or Georgia and not favoring a rematch.

Would you go to Atlanta again? What do you think will happen?

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Comments » 15

lhaselden writes:

If ND finishes with only 2 losses They will likely be in the Orange!

clmtgr92 writes:

All of the so-called expert projections have Clemson losing to Univ. of Stupid Chickens. We win out we are in the BCS, no questions. Lose at the Chicken Coop and it may turn into the Russell Athletic Bowl bid.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to clmtgr92:

All of the so-called expert projections have Clemson losing to Univ. of Stupid Chickens. We win out we are in the BCS, no questions. Lose at the Chicken Coop and it may turn into the Russell Athletic Bowl bid.

Mine doesn't, but "expert" would be a loose term for my stab at it. One of the ESPN ones has the Tigers in the Sugar, obviously beating South Carolina, but they don't have both North Illinois and Fresno.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to lhaselden:

If ND finishes with only 2 losses They will likely be in the Orange!

Weighed that also, but don't think they will.

clmtgr92 writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

Mine doesn't, but "expert" would be a loose term for my stab at it. One of the ESPN ones has the Tigers in the Sugar, obviously beating South Carolina, but they don't have both North Illinois and Fresno.

Wasn't throwing you into the so-called group. Just SEC-Schlabach, Palm, Fowler, etc.. I would and do trust your predictions. Also, I think the BCS bowls have a provision where they can switch the tie-ins to create better match ups. It hasn't been used yet; however, seeing how this is the last year of it, they may do it and that would help Clemson's chances if we finish 11-1.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to clmtgr92:

Wasn't throwing you into the so-called group. Just SEC-Schlabach, Palm, Fowler, etc.. I would and do trust your predictions. Also, I think the BCS bowls have a provision where they can switch the tie-ins to create better match ups. It hasn't been used yet; however, seeing how this is the last year of it, they may do it and that would help Clemson's chances if we finish 11-1.

The problem for the Orange is even though they have the top at-large pick...it could be real slim pickings, which works in Clemson's favor if they can pick the AAC champ or a non-AQ. They got stuck with Northern Illinois last year so they'd probably go UCF in that case.

The Sugar, when it inevitably has to replace Bama, will probably go SEC with its first pick but then they select after the Orange for the next at-large. The ideal scenario is they pick Clemson first, but then they risk losing Auburn or LSU or whoever SEC to the Orange.

Since it is the last year of the BCS, it'd be cool if they did switch it up a little and let the Orange have an SEC team v. FSU. Shake things up. We'll see.

Xander5000 writes:

I do believe style points for our next three games will help lock us in the BCS.If we have three more wins with style points, the committee will and should have a difficult time not looking our way for a BCS spot. Will be glad when this BCS stuff is over and everything will start to be handled on the field as it should be.........for the most part anyway.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to Xander5000:

I do believe style points for our next three games will help lock us in the BCS.If we have three more wins with style points, the committee will and should have a difficult time not looking our way for a BCS spot. Will be glad when this BCS stuff is over and everything will start to be handled on the field as it should be.........for the most part anyway.

If we had the playoff already, Clemson would still be in the national title hunt with a couple of those undefeated teams falling.

With the current system, there's no overall committee though - just the individual bowls. What they can do is maybe work a deal where the Orange bites the bullet on an AAC team if the Sugar really wants Clemson. We'll see.

clemvol writes:

What I see is Clemson in 3 bowl games.....The Georgia Tech bowl...The Citadel bowl and The South Carolina bowl/State Championship bowl. When these are won ( and Tigers, you will win all three ) then to me it doesn't really matter what bowl game or who is to be played. Just enjoy the last few remaining games and have fun, and again what ever we do just relax and have fun. Go get it done Tigers

lhaselden writes:

Orange get 1st pick after tie ins and NC replacements... They will take an Big 12 team such as Oklahoma or SEC team if available before AAC team or NQ conference member.

Bleedsorange writes:

If Stanford wins tonight.......and other teams lose later ........I'm still hoping for the miracle scenario.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to Bleedsorange:

If Stanford wins tonight.......and other teams lose later ........I'm still hoping for the miracle scenario.

Well at least for a BCS bowl anywhere, it's looking better with the Cardinal's win. Not sure Oregon will drop below Clemson though.

f8thwlk writes:

The Tigers will be in the RED mixed with Yellow BOWL............

rsb8931#286014 writes:

If we finish 11 and 1 we will be ranked 5th in the BCS after the conference championship games and I believe that qualifies you for an automatic BCS game. Maybe the top 6 get in. And trust me, if we finish 11 and 1 we are going to the Orange or the Sugar. That is stupid talk to say we will not go to a BCS bowl. We can get beat by SC and still get a BCS game. It just depends on what a couple of other teams do. There will be a couple of 2 loss teams in BCS games this year I think, so why can't Clemson be one of them?

rsb8931#286014 writes:

in response to Xander5000:

I do believe style points for our next three games will help lock us in the BCS.If we have three more wins with style points, the committee will and should have a difficult time not looking our way for a BCS spot. Will be glad when this BCS stuff is over and everything will start to be handled on the field as it should be.........for the most part anyway.

I don't particularly like being contrary, but the bowls and the pairing are settled on the field now. Had we not lost to Florida State we would be number 2 or 3 in the BCS and then wait to see what happened in Columbia. It would settled on the field. We win we in. We lose we out. Having a 4 team playoff isn't any different than it is now. You just have one more round of games for somebody to win and get in or get beat and go home. What I am saying is if you win your games you will more than likely get to where you want to go. If you get beat once or especially twice, it changes things quite a bit. So, in reality, the playoff begins the first week of the season. Never get beat and you will end up in a good position in mid January. Seldom does it not work out that the best team doesn't win. Not all the time, but the system works far more times than it doesn't work.

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