Last week Clemson had its eye on a BCS bid, but a 27-17 loss to the Gamecocks threw a monkey wrench in those plans to hit Bourbon Street and the Sugar Bowl. However, as Orange and White reporter Kerry Capps points out, the Tigers BCS hopes may not be completely dead, just on life support. And the doctor is in the room with his hand on the plug.
Clemson sits at No. 14 in the BCS Standings, and ranks 10th among teams still with a shot at BCS spots. The Tigers’ main competition for an at-large bid is Oklahoma, which is ranked three positions ahead of Clemson.
For a team from a BCS conference to be eligible for an at-large bid, it must be ranked in the top 14 of the NCS Standings and have won at least nine games.
The rules are different for teams from non-Automatic Qualifying conferences. Three contending teams – No. 17 Kent State, No. 20 Boise State and No. 21 Northern Illinois – can automatically claim one of the at-large spots by finishing in the top 16 of the BCS Standings.
Kent State (.2512 BCS rating), which is tucked in behind Oregon State (.3790) and UCLA (.3340), has the best shot at the top 16, but is still a long shot, mathematically. Should one of the non-AQ conference teams make the top 16, it would likely end up in either the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl.
Clemson stands on solid ground in 14th place (.4570), but is still well behind Oklahoma (.6129), which plays at TCU on Saturday.
Upcoming games can still have a significant effect on the BCS bowl lineup. Kent State plays Northern Illinois for the MAC title this week, while Nebraska plays Wisconsin for the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl spot, and UCLA faces Stanford for the Pac-12′s berth. The Florida State-Georgia Tech winner will represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl, while the Louisville-Rutgers winner will claim an at-large.
We talked to a Chick-fil-A Bowl representative Saturday and there is no doubt they want Clemson and will take the Tigers if they are available. Chick-fil-A reps are thrilled Clemson is still in play because they will be scrambling to find any other decent ACC team if Clemson and Florida State are in the BCS. NC State? Duke? Yeah, it is pretty bad in the ACC these days.
LSU and Texas A&M are the two SEC teams most likely to end up in the Atlanta bowl game. LSU seems like the stronger possibility with the Aggies potentially heading to the Cotton Bowl to face long time in-state rival Texas.
So, when it is all said and done, Clemson will probably end the season in the same place it started it: In the Georgia Dome against an SEC team with a Tiger for a mascot.
Of course all of this can and will change drastically if Florida State somehow loses to 6-6 Georgia Tech Saturday night. That would create all sorts of problems, not the least of which is a potential Georgia Tech-Kent State Orange Bowl.
Gotta love this brilliant BCS and bowl system college football has, eh?