The TCU Horned Frogs upset victory over the Boise St. Broncos initially was a deal breaker for Boise State making a BCS appearance. For a non-AQ team to go to a BCS bowl game they must win their league and be ranked 12 or higher, or be ranked 16 or higher while being ahead of an automatic qualifying conference.
However, after looking at the landscape of the BCS polls Boise State may have a shot to be selected as an at-large team, because the way the Mountain West conference tie-breaking rules go it is first by win percentage and if tied it goes to head-to-head matchup. So, unless TCU stumbles against both the Colorado St. Rams and the UNLV Rebels, with Boise State also winning out that is the only way they could get the auto-bid for a non-BCS team. Also, they would need to stay ahead of the Houston Cougars if they win out.
Back to Boise State's at-large chances, first off the BCS rules state only two teams per league can make a BCS bowl game. What Boise State needs is to have as many Big 10, Big 12 and SEC teams in the top 14. Also, it would help for Houston or even TCU to earn the non-AQ automatic BCS spot, yes TCU has a legit shot and that will be discussed in a similar post like this later.
Here is the top 20 of the BCS standings and while there is still a lot of football to be played and particular the teams ranked between No. 13 - No. 18 which could fluctuate. I'll go by the latest rankings and notify qualifications and eliminate teams.
1. LSU -- BCS title game
2.Oklahoma State -- BCS title game
3. Alabama -- at-large selection (guaranteed spot for being ranked No. 3 or No. 4 and not winning their league)
4.Oregon -- Pac-12 champion
5. Oklahoma -- available
7. Clemson -- available
8. Virginia Tech -- ACC champion
9. Stanford -- available
10. Boise State -- available
11. Houston -- Non-AQ automatic qualifier
15. Michigan State
20. Southern Miss
UR. West Virginia -- Big East champion
As you can tell from the list there are four teams available for two spots with Boise State, Oklahoma, Clemson and Stanford. It can be safely assumed that Oklahoma and Stanford will be taken. Which leaves Clemson and Boise State vying for the last at-large spot. Also what would help would be to have the Big 10 champion move into the top 14.
Hers is the bowl selection process outlined below:
A bowl choosing a replacement team may not select any of the following:
A. A team in the NCG;
B. The host team for another BCS Bowl;
C. When two bowls lose host teams, then the bowl losing the number one team may not select a replacement team from the same conference as the number two team, unless the bowl losing the number two team consents.
4. After steps No. 1, 2 and 3 have been completed, any bowl with an unfilled slot shall select a team from the automatic qualifiers and/or at-large teams in the following order for the games played in 2011 through 2014:
January 2012 games: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
Locked in teams: Oklahoma State (BCS title), LSU (BCS title), Michigan State (Rose Bowl), Oregon (Rose Bowl), Alabama (guarantee for being ranked No. 3 or No. 4 and not winning their league), Virginia Tech (Orange Bowl), West Virginia (Big East champ) and Houston (qualifies under non-AQ clause)
The bowl selection process would go as followed:
BCS Title: LSU vs. Oklahoma State
Rose Bowl: Oregon (Pac-12 tie-in) vs. Michigan State (Big 10 tie-in)
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (replacement, at-large) vs. Stanford (1st selection, at-large)
Sugar Bowl: Alabama (replacement, at-large) vs. West Virginia (2nd selection, Big East champion)
Orange Bowl: Houston (3rd selection, automatic bid) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC Champion, tie-in)
Clemson and Boise State would be the only eligible teams not to be taken, and I think Boise State would get the nod of Clemson. Basically Boise State needs help with another Stanford losing to either Cal or Notre Dame. A loss to Notre Dame may drop Stanford out of the top 14 and likely replaced by a Big 10 team and then it comes down to Boise State and Clemson; as for that Big 10 team the best possible outcome would have the Big 10 champ move in as to not allow another at-large team to be considered. Then have Houston lose to Tulsa, Tulsa beating a 10-2 Southern Miss in the C-USA title game and not having TCU climb to No. 16 or higher. If TCU gets into the No. 16 spot they will get a BCS bid if Tulsa wins Conference USA and are ahead of a BCS champion, likely the Big East.
The odds of Boise State making a BCS game are large but not impossible.
Look for a similar post about TCU later today or tomorrow.