College Football Coverage: BCS Bowl Projections After Week 1

TheSportsNotebook’s college football coverage will have our BCS bowl projections after each week throughout the regular season. I prefer this methodology of tracking the top teams over and above rankings, because the latter tells us nothing about the matchups we’ll actually be watching in December and January.

There are, as you might expect, minimal changes in these projections, from what I had to start the season.  The one change comes in the at-large area.

There are four bids to teams that come from outside the realm of the six automatic qualifying conferences. I see Alabama, Oregon and Notre Dame as locks for three of the spots (even if you don’t buy my theory of South Carolina knocking off ‘Bama just pencil SEC #2 in for one of the spots. No conference can get a third team into the BCS).

I saw a close race between Wisconsin, Florida State and Oklahoma for the final spot, and I took Wisconsin for the analytically sound reason that I’m a Badger fan, and with the differences looking slight, I may as well be a homer.

Wisconsin did nothing wrong in Week 1—their 45-0 win over UMass was as impressive as a win over such an opponent can be—but Florida State did a lot right. The way the Seminoles took apart Pitt, I had to move them into that fourth spot. Oklahoma was none too shabby themselves, shutting out Sun Belt favorite UL-Monroe and it’s prolific quarterback Kolton Browning.

Below then, are the projections for each spot and how that will work itself out in terms of matchups. Also included in TheSportsNotebook’s Week 1 coverage were more detailed posts on the excellent play of Florida State and Clemson this weekend, along with an assessment of the SEC powers in their showcase tests.

SEC: South Carolina
Big 12: Texas
Pac-12: Stanford
Big Ten: Ohio State
ACC: Clemson
American Athletic (former Big East): Louisville
At-Larges: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, Florida State

Sugar: Notre Dame-Florida State
Orange: Clemson-Oregon
Fiesta: Texas-Louisville
Rose: Ohio State-Stanford