One team from the Big Ten is going to win this year’s Big Ten championship game and punch a ticket to Pasadena for the 2014 Rose Bowl. While a couple of teams may still be able to land spots in New Year’s Day bowl games, none of them will be BCS games.
After the national championship matchup is set and the appropriate spots are handed out to the champions of the automatic-qualifying conferences, there could be as many as six at-large bids to distribute to a vast number of teams that finished their seasons with at least nine wins. Fortunately for the Big Ten, one of the BCS rules is that no more than two teams from one conference (not counting the two teams that play for the title) can be in the BCS bowl mix.
Unfortunately though, there are still enough teams out there to displace the rest of the Big Ten even with that rule. If Alabama wins the SEC and plays for another national title, the BCS could still take the SEC championship runner-up and another SEC team, perhaps Georgia and Texas A&M, both as at-larges. Two spots gone.
The same thing could happen with Oregon. Even if the Ducks play for the national title, freeing up an at-large bid, two could still go to the Pac-12 in possible teams like UCLA and Stanford. That’s now four at-large spots gone and we’re only through two of the six power conferences.
Clemson, Florida State or Miami might take another at-large, and the final one could be left between Big 12 teams like Baylor, Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. Most of those teams are currently ranked ahead of Michigan and Northwestern.
The best chance to get more than one Big Ten team in the BCS bowls would be if the Big Ten champion plays for the national title. The Rose Bowl would most likely take another Big Ten team as replacement for their game. If that scenario doesn’t play out, however, the Big Ten’s champion will be the only team playing in a BCS bowl game.
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