It will come up Roses for the Big Ten and Pac-12 winner. As in, Pasadena, instead of the BCS title game.
The BCS final battles will be settled when LSU goes to Alabama on Nov. 5 and, if applicable, when Oklahoma visits Stillwater for Bedlam on Dec. 3. Almost no other games will matter, and that includes the inaugural Big Ten and Pac-12 championships.
While each league still has an unbeaten team that has a legitimate shot at going undefeated (Wisconsin and Stanford), they'll have neither the poll support nor the computer points to overtake the survivors of the two aforementioned showdowns.
The Badgers are the odds-on favorite to win the Leaders Division of the new Big Ten, but their best-case scenario will be the Rose Bowl at this point. The Badgers have only themselves to blame for their cupcake-filled nonconference schedule that dragged down their computer rankings. In three of the five computer ratings available, Wisconsin is ranked in the mid-teens.
Stanford is likewise done in by its schedule, but its main problem will be the polls. The Cardinal have yet to play a ranked team and their only chance to demonstrate their worth for the voters will be their Nov. 12 showdown against Oregon. USC and Notre Dame remain on Stanford's schedule, but they may be of only limited utility to Andrew Luck & Co.
At the moment, it appears the winner of the LSU-Alabama game will be a lock to go unbeaten, as the winner of the weak SEC East won't be able to put up much resistance in the conference championship game. Oklahoma may be a bit more vulnerable, as it has a trip to Oklahoma State and games at Manhattan and Waco still remaining. But at least the Sooners don't need to worry about a potential trap in the now-defunct Big 12 title game.
Now, should OU falter, who's more likely to step in?
Firmly in the on-deck circle is Boise State. The Broncos already had its signature win in their season opener against Georgia, and it may be consigned to a fate of not having faced a single ranked opponent. They will be heavily-favored to run the table, but the Broncos will have no shot at the BCS title game unless OU or the SEC winner loses a game.
If the Broncos should lose a shocker (very unlikely) or slump in the BCS standings (more plausible), then here's the surprise. The winner of the ACC faceoff between Clemson and Georgia Tech on Oct. 29 in Atlanta may be a darkhorse for the BCS title game should the SEC or Big 12 leaders falter. Both teams have relatively healthy computer rankings and still have decent opponents left on the schedule to boost their profile.
There are four other unbeaten teams left (Michigan, Illinois, Kansas State, Houston), but none of them is a serious threat to remain unbeaten the rest of the season. So one week before we're even into the official BCS standings, the pecking order is pretty much set.
The Rose Bowl hates the idea of being thought of as a consolation prizes, but that's what it gets from its Faustian bargain with the BCS.