Bowl projections: Orange more likely, opponent up in the air

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley tackles Georgia Tech running back Robert Godhigh.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley tackles Georgia Tech running back Robert Godhigh.

Bowl projections are always fun (and by fun, I mean maddening), but it is that time of the year. This is a projection of Clemson's likely destination - with a couple of the national outlook's alongside - and not just how it would be 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). After that, only one more team from each conference can go to a BCS bowl.

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

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Clemson v. Wisconsin

SB Nation: Clemson v. Wisconsin

O&W: Brandon Rink - Clemson v. Oklahoma State

Analysis: Another top-10, PAC-12 team bites the dust - and at the same time, it improves Clemson's BCS chances and shakes up the possible opponent.

Stanford pulling a Stanford moves Oregon back into position for a Rose Bowl bid - and gives the Orange quite the quandary. Here's what they're looking at for at-large picks...

1) Big 12 - I have Okie State losing to Baylor next week then knocking off Oklahoma to earn the Orange's selection. It could very well be the inverse if the Cowboys can hold the home field against the Bears. Brent Venables may not sleep between the BCS announcements and Jan. 3 if Baylor is the choice.

2) Big 10 - Wisconsin has one more test, at Minnesota next week, between them and 10-2. They entered the weekend at No. 22 in the BCS standings. The field will likely open to 18 teams for selection with a lack of eligible teams in the top-14 and they should get there at 10-2. Michigan State can really shake it up by winning out and then Ohio State would be the sure Orange pick. Not seeing that one and I need to see Wisconsin win at Minnesota before projecting them to Miami.

3) UCF - They are line to win the AAC for an automatic at-large and theoretically, could sell some tickets due to their location. I'm a little skeptical there, and the TV ratings wouldn't be as high as a Clemson v. Big Five conference game.

4) UCLA or Stanford - Even after two losses to unranked opponents, Stanford will finish eligible for selection. UCLA could be there if they make the PAC-12 title game. The Orange probably takes UCF before this situation though.

No one wants to talk the two-loss Clemson-to-BCS scenario, which I understand, but it's looking more possible by the day. I still wouldn't project it until a couple other dominoes fall, but a combination of politics (Orange's ACC ties) and a lacking field of at-larges could mean the Tigers still bring in the big payday.

Other possible bowls...

Sugar Bowl

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Auburn v. UCF

SB Nation: Auburn v. UCF

O&W: Brandon Rink - Texas A&M v. UCF

Chick-fil-A Bowl

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Miami v. Missouri

SB Nation: Virginia Tech v. South Carolina

O&W: Brandon Rink - Virginia Tech v. Missouri

If Miami is the destination, who would you want Clemson to play?

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Comments » 13

rsb8931#286014 writes:

How can anybody project VA Tech to the Peach Bowl. They may not even qualify for a bowl game. What about a 10 and 3 Duke going there? And Clemson will be in the top 10 in the BCS even if we get beat by SC. With our reputation with the bowls and the Orange Bowl likes us, we should still get the Orange. Who else would be more attractive to them than Clemson? Let me clarity something: We should be in the top 10 in the BCS even with a loss to SC provided we are 6th going in to the game which we will be.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to rsb8931#286014:

How can anybody project VA Tech to the Peach Bowl. They may not even qualify for a bowl game. What about a 10 and 3 Duke going there? And Clemson will be in the top 10 in the BCS even if we get beat by SC. With our reputation with the bowls and the Orange Bowl likes us, we should still get the Orange. Who else would be more attractive to them than Clemson? Let me clarity something: We should be in the top 10 in the BCS even with a loss to SC provided we are 6th going in to the game which we will be.

Virginia Tech will finish 8-4 when they beat Virginia to close the season. They are also in the thick of the Coastal race still...as unlikely as it seems after losses to Maryland and Duke at home. Most importantly, they have fans that will travel. Duke? Um, well, good luck with that. I'm rooting for a Blue Devils' CFA Bowl, but I'm not sure they'll pull the trigger on it.

As far as more attractive, Wisconsin at 10-2 and some other Big 12 team that has just two losses might be more attractive than a 10-2 Clemson. Might, I said, depending on how a loss in Columbia would go. Will Tiger fans want to go to Miami if it's another double-digit loss? I'm not predicting it, but it's obviously not out of the realm of possibilities.

TigerNE writes:

Wisconsin would be the best test of our offense, but that might leave Morris with no sleep instead of Venables.

But if I were given a purely open choice without regard for the selection process, I'm stuck between Ohio St and Auburn or Mizzou. A part of me wants the badge of having beat 4 ranked SEC teams in a row (making my 11.30.2013 choice pretty obvious). But there's another part of me that would love to see a Boyd/Braxton shoot out.

waran writes:

Without considering the selection process (I don't agree or pretend to understand the process), I will also prefer Auburn or Mizzou. We need to keep beating the best in SEC. Ohio St is just pretenders and should not be #3.

Lets not be biased. If we lose to USC, I doubt we will be in a BCS Bowl. I doubt we deserve to be there.

rsb8931#286014 writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

Virginia Tech will finish 8-4 when they beat Virginia to close the season. They are also in the thick of the Coastal race still...as unlikely as it seems after losses to Maryland and Duke at home. Most importantly, they have fans that will travel. Duke? Um, well, good luck with that. I'm rooting for a Blue Devils' CFA Bowl, but I'm not sure they'll pull the trigger on it.

As far as more attractive, Wisconsin at 10-2 and some other Big 12 team that has just two losses might be more attractive than a 10-2 Clemson. Might, I said, depending on how a loss in Columbia would go. Will Tiger fans want to go to Miami if it's another double-digit loss? I'm not predicting it, but it's obviously not out of the realm of possibilities.

I made an incorrect statement in a comment I made. VA Tech does qualify for a bowl. They have lost 3 of their last 4 games to Duke, Maryland and BC. They beat Marshall in 3 OT, they beat EC by 5 points and yes, they will have 8 wins if they beat VA. I will say they are a bad 8 and 4 team and the Peach Bowl should have better. They aren't any good.

lhaselden writes:

Oregon or Ohio State may lose conference championship game.....Alabama may as well. Baylor may lose a game
The odds are one of them will lose a game. If one of them lose they will be ahead of Clemson in the picks.
If UCF loses an undefeated NIU or FresnoSt are in the mix

DahlonegaJoe writes:

Lets just beat Citadel early. Let some young guys get reps.
Get prepared for SC and BEAT USC>
GO TIGERS.
All else will be taken care of by others.

TigerFan95 writes:

If we lose to SC in two weeks I'd just assume we stay home.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to lhaselden:

Oregon or Ohio State may lose conference championship game.....Alabama may as well. Baylor may lose a game
The odds are one of them will lose a game. If one of them lose they will be ahead of Clemson in the picks.
If UCF loses an undefeated NIU or FresnoSt are in the mix

I'm assuming the AAC champ (likely UCF) and Fresno State or NIU are in. Fresno qualifies now and they're almost in the top-12 to qualify no matter where the AAC champ is in the rankings. That's why the Sugar likely has to take the AAC champ if the Orange doesn't. The Fiesta will end up with the non-AQ.

Xander5000 writes:

I would rather have a chance of a sweep by beating all the well known Division 1 programs with the nickname Tigers. So far as I know Missouri is the only one left. I would however, love for Clemson to sneak in a Sugar Bowl game.

clemvol writes:

I would suggest that talking about a bowl game right now is like eating your desert before the main course, it just doesn't make any sense.Do the Tigers get to choose which bowl they get play in? NO. Do the Tigers get to choose to beat the citadel then beat the lamecocks? YES. Focus on the next opponent then the next. Everything will fall into place. As far as the thinking goes about playing the starters for 1 or 2 quarters in the citadel game i will say this is a mistake. At minimum play the starters for 3 quarters and don't be rusty for the chickens. Go Tigers

kellytown writes:

in response to clemvol:

I would suggest that talking about a bowl game right now is like eating your desert before the main course, it just doesn't make any sense.Do the Tigers get to choose which bowl they get play in? NO. Do the Tigers get to choose to beat the citadel then beat the lamecocks? YES. Focus on the next opponent then the next. Everything will fall into place. As far as the thinking goes about playing the starters for 1 or 2 quarters in the citadel game i will say this is a mistake. At minimum play the starters for 3 quarters and don't be rusty for the chickens. Go Tigers

You are right on clemvol.

TrevorT writes:

in response to clemvol:

I would suggest that talking about a bowl game right now is like eating your desert before the main course, it just doesn't make any sense.Do the Tigers get to choose which bowl they get play in? NO. Do the Tigers get to choose to beat the citadel then beat the lamecocks? YES. Focus on the next opponent then the next. Everything will fall into place. As far as the thinking goes about playing the starters for 1 or 2 quarters in the citadel game i will say this is a mistake. At minimum play the starters for 3 quarters and don't be rusty for the chickens. Go Tigers

No disrespect, but I'm a little tired of this same post every time bowl projections come up. Sure, it would be nuts for the players and coaches to sit around discussing these scenarios, but is it really a problem for fans and reporters? What are we supposed to do, have 20 articles this week about the importance of beating the Citadel? Give me a break! A big part of being a fan is discussing the possibilities for your team. If you don't agree with that, why do you keep reading these articles? I agree with most of what you post but I can't really see your point here.

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