On Monday I put up a post saying how the Boise St. Broncos could make a BCS bowl game, it's unlikely they will but there is a chance. On the other hand the TCU Horned Frogs have a legitimate chance of making a BCS bowl game. The short answer is that TCU wins out, move into the top 16 of the BCS, have a either Houston or Southern Miss lose prior to Conference USA title or just have Tulsa win Conference USA by beating Houston. However, it is not that simple.
The reason TCU could get into a BCS bowl and not be No. 12 is because in the BCS if a non-AQ team is ranked higher than any other BCS league champion and at least No. 16 they get the auto-bid. Right now the Big East has no ranked teams and it seems unlikely that they will move ahead TCU.
Currently, TCU sits at No. 19 which is eight spots behind Houston and one ahead of Southern Miss. TCU's goal is to get to No. 16 and they should win their final two games against the UNLV Rebels and Colorado St. Rams which should be wins. Southern Miss also should win out, so the assumption is that TCU will be one head above of Southern Miss. However, if Southern Miss beast a top-10 Houston team in the Conference USA title game then surely they would jump TCU. Also on the Conference USA side Tulsa plays a key roll, because if they can beat Houston that would give Tulsa the Conference USA East title and knock Houston out of BCS contentions.
Then it becomes interesting and for arguments sakes TCU is No. 13 and Southern Miss is No. 14 heading into the Conference USA title game. There will be only a few games that week with some title games, and the question will be what do voters and the computers do with Southern miss. Do they move up just because they won and have a 12-1 record compared to a 10-2 TCU team, but one who has the best win between the two teams. However, if it is Houston vs. Southern Miss then -- and depending on the gap between TCU and Southern Miss -- TCU probably has no chance of staying ahead of Southern Miss.
The Big 10 plays a key since they currently have teams ranked No. 15 - 18 and who play each other.
Here is the Big 10 schedule between ranked teams:
Nov. 19, 2011
-- No. 16 Nebraska at No. 18 Michigan
Nov. 26, 2011
-- Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan -- A rival game, but Michigan could be lower if they lose to Nebraska.
-- No. 21 Penn State at No. 17 Wisconsin
Then there is the Big 10 title game which should feature two ranked teams in the mid-teens and could determine if TCU is in the top 16.
The Kansas St. Wildcats also could affect where TCU lands and they do play the No. 25 ranked Texas Longhorns this week and then the Iowa St. Cyclones. As does the Georgia Bulldogs who are on track for the SEC title game, which they will probably lose and fall behind TCU. Then there is the South Carolina Gamecocks who face off against the Citadel and then the Clemson Tigers who are currently No. 10.
So as we can see there is a LOT of football left that can determine if TCU can first get into the top 16 -- assuming they win out as expected -- which I think they will.
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 (guarantee for being ranked No. 3 or No. 4 and not winning their league)
4. Oregon -- Pac-12 champion
5. Oklahoma -- available
7. Clemson -- ACC champion or at-large
8. Virginia Tech -- ACC champion or at-large
9. Stanford -- available
10. Boise State -- available
11. Houston -- Non-AQ automatic qualifier
12. South Carolina
13. Kansas State
15. Michigan State
20. Southern Miss
UR. West Virginia -- Big East champion
Here is the order selection (after replacements): January 2012 games: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
Now if TCU can move up into the top 16 the likely landing spot for them would be the Sugar against Alabama, at least at this moment. Orange is a possibility if the Sugar would take West Virginia who is known to travel well, and if that is the case then TCU would play the ACC champ which would be either Virginia Tech or Clemson. To sum up again the easiest way for TCU making a BCS bowl game: Win their last two games and have Tulsa win Conference USA.
Now if TCU can move up into the top 16 the likely landing spot for them would be the Sugar against Alabama, at least at this moment. Orange is a possibility if the Sugar would take West Virginia who is known to travel well, and if that is the case then TCU would play the ACC champ which would be either Virginia Tech or Clemson.
To sum up again the easiest way for TCU making a BCS bowl game: Win their last two games and have Tulsa win Conference USA.