Why? Do you remember who was No. 1 in the first official BCS standings? That was just three weeks ago.
Any speculation and projection before we go back into standard time is more than premature. Even now, things are still pretty fluid. Though we do know this:
TCU is one victory away from an undefeated season.
Right, we know the Horned Frogs still have an exhibition game against New Mexico in two weeks. But for all intents and purposes, a TCU home victory this Saturday over San Diego State - a good team, to be sure, but not in TCU's league - will punch TCU's ticket to a BCS bowl game.
You have to like the Frogs' position. At worse, they'll have the Rose Bowl, not bad to have the granddaddy as the consolation prize. And if either Oregon or Auburn should falter - and it's looking very likely with the Tigers, given the Cam Newton mess - TCU will play for the BCS national championship.
With that as the backdrop, here are the Guru's first BCS bowl projections for the season, with conference tiebreaking rules sprinkled in throughout:
BCS National Championshp Game
Oregon vs. TCU
The Ducks still have a couple of tests left on their schedule, particularly the season finale Civil War game at Corvallis, but they look pretty invincible right now. TCU won't lose, so the only question is how badly the Frogs would beat New Mexico, which lost to Oregon, 72-0, in the season opener.
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
The Rose Bowl will be thrilled to see the Frogs in Glendale, which means it will be free and clear to choose whomever it wants to replace the Pac-10 champ.* And Stanford would be a no-brainer, since ToR (that's Tournament of Roses) wants to preserve the Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup. Wisconsin owns the inside track to the Big Ten title, unless Ohio State loses to Iowa.
Here's how it would shake out in the Big Ten:
If Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, the team with the highest BCS ranking would get the Rose Bowl bid. Neither Ohio State nor Michigan State will pass the Badgers if they don't lose.
If Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, then Michigan State wins the tiebreaker.
If Ohio State and Michigan State both finish 7-1 in conference, it also goes to the BCS rankings. The Spartans will not pass the Buckeyes there.
All other two-way tie scenarios would favor the winning team in head-to-head matchups: Wisconsin defeated Ohio State and Iowa. Michigan State defeated Wisconsin but lost to Iowa.
LSU vs. Boise State
The Tigers would win the SEC West only if Auburn loses its two remaining games (against Georgia and at Alabama), and given the Newton distraction, it may very well happen. Since there's a dearth of quality BCS conference teams to choose from, and a rematch of LSU vs. Ohio State in New Orleans isn't all that appetizing, the Sugar Bowl may decide to bite the bullet and invite the Broncos, taking a third BCS buster in four years (following Hawaii in 2008 and Utah in 2009).
If the Sugar passes on Boise State here by picking (most likely) a Big Ten team, then the Broncos will be effectively boxed out of a BCS bowl game.
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
If Auburn loses its last two games and Newton gets suspended, as is possible, then the Orange Bowl will opt for two-loss 'Bama over two-loss Auburn, bringing Nick Saban back to South Florida for the first time since he bailed on the Dolphins. None of the two-loss Big 12 teams or one-loss Big Ten teams would be more attractive than the defending national champion. And the Orange Bowl hasn't had an SEC team there since 2002.
Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh
The price you pay for hosting the BCS national title game is you get stuck with an absolutely crummy game (unless you're the Rose Bowl). Fiesta does not even get a choice here as it must grab the Big East champion. If you're checking out this week's BCS standings, you'll find that the highest-ranked Big East team (Pitt) is not only behind non-AQ teams such as TCU, Boise State and Utah, but also the top team in Conference USA (Central Florida) and MAC (Temple). Yet, the Big East continues to hum along as an AQ conference.
* The Rose Bowl isn't obligated to take Boise State if TCU advances to the BCS title game. According to BCS executive director Bill Hancock:
That's because if it loses a team to the championship game, the Rose Bowl is obligated to take the automatic qualifier from the non-AQ group, if it is available. TCU would be the automatic qualifier from the non-AQ group, but it would not be available since it would be in the championship game.
In that example, Boise State would be eligible to be selected at-large by any bowl, including the Rose.