All the talk about Saturdays matchup up #3 TCU at #5 Utah has been about how the game is on CBS College Sports, how the game had a chance to move into prime time or that the winner stays alive for a BCS bowl and possibly even the BCS title game. However, the scenario for the loser has hardly been talked about. Assuming the winner goes to a BCS game, the loser would be vanquished to a pre-Christmas Las Vegas Bowl against a 6-6 Pac-10 team.
Let that sink in for a moment, an 11-1 top 10 ranked could be in a pre-Christmas Las Vegas bowl against a 6-6 Pac-10 team.
TCU or Utah could be sitting at 11-1 and hovering around the top 10 and have no shot at a BCS game, or even face a quality opponent. There is also the remote possibility that even the winner could be going to that bowl game. This scenario would require Boise State to stay ahead of Saturday's winner and the BCS choosing a second Big 10 team or a second Big XII team as an at-large selection only because they will travel better.
The reason a potentially 4th ranked TCU or Utah could be left out is because the BCS criteria for the non-automatic automatic BCS bid is set up for a non-champion from the current BCS leagues who is ranked 3rd or 4th. This clause does not go into effect for a second non-BCS team, because they are only granted one automatic spot regardless of how high the second team is ranked (well unless they are one and two).
One silver lining in all of this could be that the Pac-10 does not have enough teams to fill out their bowl obligations leaving the Las Vegas Bowl to bring in a better team to matchup against the loser of Saturday's game. The best-case scenario for Saturday's loser would be for Boise State to not get a BCS bid and then for the Las Vegas Bowl lure Boise from their WAC obligation of the Humanitarian Bowl to face an equal opponent. The Las Vegas Bowl would definitely want to showcase a future league member, and even more so if the opponent was TCU; assuming TCU is not heading to the Big East in 2012.
That matchup would allow them to showcase the rival that TCU and Boise have formed in the bowl games over the past five years. Thinking about it, the Las Vegas Bowl would want Boise regardless if they were not in a BCS game, because if it were Utah vs. a Pac-10 the talk would all be about how this would be a conference matchup in future years and the Mountain West would be pretty much ignored in the broadcast.
Or, all this could be shot to pieces if the BYU ends up 6-6 and the Las Vegas Bowl goes off of history and takes the Cougars to sell tickets, since the Las Vegas Bowl gets first selection, and does not have to take the conference champion.