Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif. *BCS vs. BCS (Big 10 Champion vs. Pac 10 Champion, if available) Michigan vs. UCLA
If USC runs the tables, they will likely end up the top-ranked team in every poll, which opens the door for another BCS team to play in USC’s place. That team could very well be UCLA. What better game for UCLA to play in than The Granddaddy of Them All® – in their home stadium.
The Big 10 will probably hold its end of the bargain and send its champion, as it’s unlikely that the top two teams in the nation are also the teams that qualify for this big game. Michigan had a great run last season, and with many returning starters, it’s very likely that the Wolverines will be playing in Pasadena on New Year’s.
Other teams to consider: California, LSU, USC, Wisconsin
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Jan. 1, New Orleans, La. *BCS vs. BCS (SEC Champion, if available) Florida vs. Hawaii
Florida will probably qualify for this BCS game, but not because they win the SEC. In fact, Florida may only lose one game this season – to the eventual SEC champion, LSU. Hawaii will win the WAC and play a high-octane offense that no one else in the continental United States is aware of. The Sugar Bowl will be the ultimate stage for Hawaii to prove that the WAC is indeed for real. Other teams to consider: Wisconsin, Michigan, LSU, Tennessee, Louisville TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL
Jan. 2, Glendale, Ariz. *BCS vs. BCS (Big 12 Champion, if available) Texas vs. Louisville
There are a lot of factors that can affect the outcome of this game – if Nebraska upsets USC, if Oklahoma beats Texas for the Big 12 championship, if TCU can win in Austin, if Hawaii does not make the Sugar Bowl but is still in BCS contention. Nonetheless, expect the Big 12 Champion to actually play in this game, and the champion is likely to be Texas.
Louisville seems like the best bet for an opponent, only because other matchups are unlikely (i.e. Texas vs. TCU), or teams will likely play elsewhere (i.e. West Virginia).
Other teams to consider: West Virginia, Hawaii, Nebraska, Tennessee
FEDEX ORANGE BOWL
Jan. 3, Miami, Fla. *BCS vs. BCS (ACC Champion, if available) Virginia Tech vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin will likely play in a BCS bowl other than the National Championship game, and since they’re not in any of the other games above, they play here. They’ll probably play the sentimental favorite and possible ACC Champion, Virginia Tech.
West Virginia may be a possible opponent for the Hokies, yet it doesn’t seem likely that the bowl heads want to split the Virginias from supporting Tech. If Virginia Tech fails to win the ACC, they’re strong enough of a team to justify placing in this bowl, and no one will complain.
Other teams to consider: West Virginia, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Rutgers
ALLSTATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Jan. 7, New Orleans, La. *BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2 USC vs. LSU
The game with the biggest fireworks – because it’s the game with the biggest recent history. Most people at Baton Rouge remember 2003, a national title game against USC that never was.
LSU playing in the championship game makes up for not playing in the Sugar Bowl, since this game is also in New Orleans – making it essentially a home game for the Tigers. If this game does happen, and if they beat USC, try as we may, there will be no words in the English dictionary to describe the subsequent chain of events on the Gulf Coast on Jan. 7.