Bowl projections: BCS picture opening up for Tigers

Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant dives for the end zone past The Citadel defensive back Sadath Jean-Pierre to score a touchdown in the second quarter. Clemson defeated The Citadel 52-6 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant dives for the end zone past The Citadel defensive back Sadath Jean-Pierre to score a touchdown in the second quarter. Clemson defeated The Citadel 52-6 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

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. Baylor

Clemson is probably in the Orange Bowl regardless of what happens this weekend, says a logical layout of the field from the Post & Courier.

Most interesting to me is the clause in the BCS selection process where essentially the Sugar would have to ask permission to select Clemson if FSU is No. 2 - and the Orange would have to ask permission to select an SEC team first if FSU lands at No. 1 in the final standings. If the 'Noles win out (and they will), New Orleans with have an SEC rep and Miami an ACC rep.

With that settled, there's a wide range of possible opponents.

Opponents in order of probability...

1) Wisconsin - Wisconsin is going to finish 10-2 and has really played well enough this season to be ranked higher than they are.

2) Baylor - They have two games left, at TCU and hosting Texas. Most experts believe they will fall apart after the resounding loss at Oklahoma State, but I don't share that belief. Much like the Tigers against FSU, they're a good team that had a baaaad night. Bayor and Clemson would be an easy sell as probably the only matchup of top-eight teams outside of the BCS Championship Game.

3) Ohio State - Michigan State is the pair's worst enemy, however, as with an upset of Ohio State in the Big 10 title game... the Buckeyes would be a no-brainer pick for the Orange even with Baylor in the mix.

4) Oregon - The PAC-12 is a mess right now, but Oregon is a lot more likely here with a Clemson win on Saturday. The fear among prognosticators is a less than enthused Ducks fanbase not heading to south Florida, but if Clemson fans make up the difference in ticket sales, the TV ratings would be pretty solid.

5) UCF - The Golden Knights just keep winning, but there are far too many good at-large selections at the Orange's disposal now.

Other possible bowls...

Chick-fil-A Bowl

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Duke v. Missouri

SB Nation: Duke v. South Carolina

O&W: Brandon Rink - Duke** v. South Carolina

* If Clemson lands in a BCS bowl, Duke couldn't be picked over here if they finish out 10-2 (6-2 ACC) by the conference bylaws. If they lose to UNC Saturday (which they will be underdogs), they could drop a bunch.

BCS National Championship

CBS Sports: Jerry Palm - Alabama v. Florida State

SB Nation: Alabama v. Florida State

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

Just for fun, Clemson's path to the national title game...

1) Beat South Carolina.

2) Auburn beats Alabama at home Saturday.

3) Missouri loses to Texas A&M at home Saturday

4) Michigan or Michigan State beats Ohio State.

5) Auburn loses in the SEC title game to South Carolina.

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Comments » 7

TigerNE writes:

Nice easy to read layout here. The road for us to the title game is pretty much a fantasy once you look at all the failures that have to happen...

Out of all the OB opponents I like Ohio State best simply because beating Oregon or Baylor gets excused as beating a team on the way down, and UCF, well you know how that gets excused. Beating Ohio State has the most upside, plus I like our chances a little better at stopping a team depending more on running than throwing. It would be the toughest game I think. Wisconsin....I couldn't get as excited about that one.

Any chance - even way outside chance - we could be playing Okla State in a bowl? That could be exciting.

waran writes:

Alternative Scenario: Winston gets arrested next week. Florida State loses to Duke (That's the only way for Duke to dream of winning). Clemson beats USC. Who will play in the championship?

In this scenario, what happens if USC beats Clemson (which I hate to say it but is likely as Spurier has Dabo's number).

tigerrob44 writes:

If we get beat this week who cares about the Orange Bowl? We should go to the toilet bowl. I just don't see how they can beat us because we have a really good team and they do not. Sometime one team has enough talent that the other team just can't beat them and we have a lot more talent than they do.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to TigerNE:

Nice easy to read layout here. The road for us to the title game is pretty much a fantasy once you look at all the failures that have to happen...

Out of all the OB opponents I like Ohio State best simply because beating Oregon or Baylor gets excused as beating a team on the way down, and UCF, well you know how that gets excused. Beating Ohio State has the most upside, plus I like our chances a little better at stopping a team depending more on running than throwing. It would be the toughest game I think. Wisconsin....I couldn't get as excited about that one.

Any chance - even way outside chance - we could be playing Okla State in a bowl? That could be exciting.

Oklahoma State can clinch the Big 12 with a win over Oklahoma I believe so they would be locked in for the Fiesta. If they lose, it's back in the possibilities, but in that case, I'd project Wisconsin for the spot.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to waran:

Alternative Scenario: Winston gets arrested next week. Florida State loses to Duke (That's the only way for Duke to dream of winning). Clemson beats USC. Who will play in the championship?

In this scenario, what happens if USC beats Clemson (which I hate to say it but is likely as Spurier has Dabo's number).

FSU's third-string QB could be in and they'll win out. Talent everywhere.

In that particular scenario though, FSU and Clemson are probably both shut out of the BCS and Clemson is either in Atlanta or Orlando. Duke would be in the Orange and FSU would be out of luck because of AAC and non-AQ Fresno or NIU bids.

TigerFan95 writes:

Dabo likes to throw around the phrase "All in" but I often feel he does'nt understand its meaning and implications. "All in" means you put all your chips in on one poker hand and you either win big or lose everything and your done. After 4 straight losses to SC, in my opinion this week's game is a "all in" game for Dabo. If he wins it its a huge victory for him and the Clemson program. If he loses it, he's pretty much done at Clemson and needs to step away from the table and go home. If Dabo uses the "All In" phrase in interviews this week, I would love to have some reporter ask him to clarify that phrase as to whether he is indeed "All In" or not.

columbiabill writes:

Not much to talk about concerning a BCS bowl as this seems pretty much to be a lock.

But it is interesting to think about the national championship game. After what happened this past week, I don't think it is too much of a stretch to see Clemson's path to the national title game. Yea, there are some who will say Columbia Bill is crazy - but won't it be fun watching Saturday to see if some of the chips fall right? Really, I bet there is not one who is reading this who won't be thinking --what if?? It could all boil down to beating the gamecocks. If this happens would this not turn the college football world upside down - 2 ACC teams playing for the national title? Just think, wouldn't we really like another shot at FSU. Maybe a little crazy thinking on the part of Columbia Bill, but it sure is fun to think about it.

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