The BCS Bowls have been slotted, and although it was just a matter of formality of naming Auburn and Oregon as the participants in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, there were still spaces in the Bowl Series schedule that needed filling going into Sunday evening’s official announcements. The teams not headed to the BCS Bowls were then matched up in various bowls throughout the country, their final destinations dependent on selection committees, bowl qualifications procedures, and acceptance by the respective schools. So besides Oregon and Auburn’s match-up for the BCS Championship Game, where is everyone going?
The TCU Horned Frogs, being undefeated and the odd man out in the hierarchy (finishing the season 12-0), ended up in the “Grandaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl. They will play the Big Ten Conference champions, the 11-1 Wisconsin Badgers, who finished #5 in the rankings.
Because of TCU’s higher ranking, the Stanford Cardinal, due to the Bowl Selection rules of BCS rankings placement and conference champions Oregon going to the BCS Championship Game, did not get the usual PAC-10 berth in the Rose Bowl. Instead, the #4 Cardinal was matched up against a twice-defeated #13 Virginia Tech Hokies in the Discover Orange Bowl. The Hokies posted 10 wins in a row, including winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game over Florida State, to get the ACC automatic bid.
The #8 Arkansas Razorbacks became the SouthEast Conference’s representative (an automatic berth) to the Allstate Sugar Bowl after posting the SEC’s second-best in-conference record (behind Auburn). The twice-beaten Razorbacks will take on the once-beaten and #6 Ohio State Buckeyes.
And finally, the last game, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, will match up the #7 and Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma Sooners with the Big East Conference champion Connecticut Huskies. The Huskies aren’t ranked in the BCS Standings and have given many reason to question the automatic bid system of the Bowl Championship Series, especially when there were so many other teams with better records and arguably tougher schedules. Connecticut won the Big East Conference but finished with a worse overall record (8-4) than West Virginia (9-3), who finished the season at #22. A worse scenario existed: If UConn and West Virginia had both lost their final games, the Pittsburgh Panthers would have won the Conference with a 7-5 overall record.
The defending national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, finished #16 in the final BCS rankings. They will play the once-defeated and #9 ranked Michigan State Spartans in the Capital One Bowl.
The bowls begin with the New Mexico Bowl in Albequerque, N. M., on Dec. 18 (BYU takes on UTEP) and will finish with the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona, on Jan. 10.
Major BCS Bowl Games Schedule
#5 Wisconsin vs. #3 TCU — Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Connecticut vs. #7 Oklahoma — Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Discover Orange Bowl
#4 Stanford vs. #13 Virginia Tech — Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#6 Ohio State vs. #8 Arkansas — Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
BCS National Championship Game
#2 Oregon vs. #1 Auburn — Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
For a full schedule of the entire 2010-11 bowl schedule, see the listing at ESPN.
“2010-11 bowl schedule,” ESPN.go.com