BCS Madness: The Fight for Number 2

For most teams, this past Saturday was the last regular season game in what has been a long, tumultuous and ultimately indecisive year.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were ranked No. 1 going into the weekend and they had one more hurdle to get over before they could secure a spot in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game. The rivalry game pitted the Irish against the USC Trojans. Despite having to rely on Max Wittek in his first start because of the injury to Matt Barkley, the Trojans played the Irish tough, ultimately falling 22-13 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. The win assured that Notre Dame would be playing for the championship in January. The only other question is who their opponent

will be.

Leading the slew of one-loss teams coming into the weekend were Alabama and Georgia. Neither team faced a steep challenge in their respective rivalry games, with the Crimson Tide winning big over Auburn (which resulted in the Tigers

firing their coach Gene Chizik) and the Bulldogs taking down the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Behind the strength of their conference records, Alabama (West) and Georgia (East) have won their respective divisions in the SEC, setting the two teams to play each other in the SEC Championship Game in what is in effect a “play-in” game for the right to play Notre Dame in the National Championship. Alabama and Georgia will play on Saturday at 4 p.m., and you can catch that game on CBS.

The hard-luck loser of the day has to be Florida, who was ranked fourth in the BCS polls coming into Saturday. They went into Tallahassee, and defeated a very strong Florida State team. Unfortunately for the Gators, they still sit behind Georgia in the SEC East standings, and will not have a chance to play in the SEC Championship Game, ending their hopes of playing in the National

Championship Game.

While the scenarios for the National Title game are now set, there are still some intriguing conference championship games this weekend. Stanford was able to beat UCLA last weekend, holding off Oregon for the PAC-12 North title. In a bizarre scenario, this will set up a rematch between the Bruins and the Cardinal in the PAC-12 Championship Game. That game will be Friday at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Georgia Tech will have a chance to avenge its embarrassing loss to Georgia when they take on Florida State in the ACC Championship game on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets sport a 6-6 overall record, but benefit from playing in a weak ACC Coastal division. That game will be at 8 p.m.

on ESPN.

Despite having equally disappointing losses this past weekend, both Rutgers and Louisville each have a chance to play in a BCS Bowl Game. The two teams square off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday on ESPN. If Rutgers wins, they will represent the Big East in a BCS Bowl Game, but if Louisville wins, it will set up a confusing set of tiebreakers between multiple teams that will hinge on each team’s BCS ranking.

In addition, there is the Big Ten Championship game. It will be at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday on Fox. Nebraska will be playing Wisconsin, who will be in this game as a benefit of both Ohio State and Penn State being barred from postseason play. Nebraska beat Iowa over the weekend to seal their spot in this game and have a chance to play in a BCS Bowl Game with a win. Lastly, watch out for Texas and

Kansas State, who play at 8 p.m. on ABC

on Saturday. It’s not a championship game, but it is an intriguing matchup. Both teams are coming off bad losses and will be looking to bounce back. Texas fell to Texas Christian last weekend, and Kansas State lost their BCS Title hopes at the hands of

Baylor two weeks ago.

One final intriguing story is that of Ohio State. As mentioned above, the Buckeyes are banned from postseason play as a result of the merchandise selling scandal, but Ohio State didn’t let that affect their play this season. They finished the season undefeated by beating Michigan this past weekend. The argument about whether or not they would be in the National Championship game if they were eligible is an interesting one, but both Alabama and Georgia sit above them in the most recent A.P. poll and, after one of the two wins this weekend, it is tough to imagine that Ohio State would finish the season in the top two in the

A.P. poll.        

So, there you have it. Conference Championship weekend is upon us, which means both the intensity and level of play should pick up this week, and we will be in for

a treat.

Contact David Josselsohn at

[email protected].