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.
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...
CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Auburn v. UCF
SB Nation: Auburn v. UCF
O&W: Brandon Rink - Texas A&M v. UCF
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?