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Gould’s projection for Notre Dame: First Rose Bowl bid since 1925

Texas A M v Alabama

Texas A&M v Alabama

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SUN-TIMES BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS

A Wisconsin-Nebraska Big Ten title game looms. Badgers have clinched their berth. Huskers, who have Minnesota and Iowa left, would only need a split if Michigan loses at Ohio State.

LW

1. Ohio State (10-0) 1

2. Nebraska (8-2) 2

3. Michigan (7-3) 4

4. Wisconsin (7-3) 7

5. Northwestern (7-3) 3

6. Penn State (6-4) 5

7. Michigan State (5-5) 6

8. Minnesota (6-4) 9

9. Purdue (4-6) 11

10. Indiana (4-6) 8

11. Iowa (4-6) 10

12. Illinois (2-8) 12

Updated: December 13, 2012 10:41AM



Imagine the hoopla for Notre Dame’s first Rose Bowl trip since 1925. And know that Pasadena is ND’s most logical destination.

An Oregon-Kansas State title game would put Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl, a BCS bowl source told the Sun-Times on Sunday.

The deciding factor would be whether the Ducks or the Wildcats finish first in the BCS standings — and Oregon’s tough remaining schedule means it’s expected to finish No. 1.

“If Oregon finishes first, the Rose Bowl will get Notre Dame,’’ the source said. “If Kansas State finishes first, the Fiesta Bowl gets the Irish.’’

If Oregon finishes first, the Rose Bowl, which would lose its Pac-12 champion, would pick first. If K-State is on top, the Fiesta (Big 12 tie-in) would get the nod.

Even if the Irish were to lose to Wake Forest and get blown out by USC, the source said, the scenarios don’t change.

In the Rose Bowl, Notre Dame would face Nebraska or Wisconsin. In the Fiesta Bowl, the likely opponent would be Rutgers, with Louisville or Clemson also possible.

The projection for the BCS bowls:

◆ BCS title: Oregon vs. Kansas State.

◆ Rose: Nebraska vs. Notre Dame.

◆ Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M.

◆ Sugar: Alabama vs. Clemson.

◆ Orange: Florida State vs. Rutgers.

B1G sliver of hope

There is a scenario in which the Big Ten, for all its troubles, could place an at-large team in a BCS bowl for the eighth year in a row.

Nebraska would need to be handed its third loss by Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. That would put the Badgers in Pasadena and make the Cornhuskers available as a BCS at-large if they finish in the top 14 teams in the final BCS standings. It would be close, but a BCS bowl source pointed out that schools such as Texas, Oregon State and UCLA, which are in the hunt for the top 14, also are likely to lose another game.

When Oregon State, which was 11th last week, lost 27-23 at Stanford, the Cornhuskers’ BCS at-large prospects got a big boost.

“The Oregon State loss was huge,’’ the source said, adding that neither the Beavers nor the Cardinal will make the top 14. “I don’t think either Pac-12 team will be there with three loses, but Nebraska could be. The Fiesta Bowl would grab Nebraska in a heartbeat. It would love to do an Oklahoma-Nebraska game.’’

That said, this remains as the most likely Big Ten bowl projection:

◆ Rose: Nebraska vs. Notre Dame.

◆ Capital One: Michigan vs. Georgia.

◆ Outback: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina.

◆ Gator: Michigan State vs. Mississippi State.

◆ Buffalo Wild Wings: Northwestern vs. Oklahoma State.

◆ Meineke Car Care: Minnesota vs. Iowa State.

Also lurking is Purdue, which needs to win at Illinois on Saturday and beat Indiana at home to become bowl-eligible. The Boilermakers would slot into the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Two-way Heisman?

The national-championship picture isn’t the only thing coming into focus.

As the Heisman Trophy race heads into the homestretch, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s wondrous freshman quarterback, is closing the gap on front-runner Collin Klein, the Kansas State senior QB who seemed to have a good lead.

Both have excellent numbers: Klein, 2,020 passing yards and 12 TD, 748 rushing yards and 19 TDs; Manziel, 2,780 passing yards and 18 TDs, 1,014 rushing yards and 12 TDs.

But Manziel added a signature victory at Alabama, which was considered unbeatable as well as unbeaten.

Manziel’s rise probably makes the Heisman a two-horse race. Oregon’s senior running back Kenjon Barner could re-emerge if the two QBs falter. Barner has 1,360 rushing yards and 19 TDs, plus 18 pass receptions for 219 yards and a TD.

Two Midwesterners could be invited to New York: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Ohio State QB Braxton Miller. But that would be more for show.

THE POLLS

BCS STANDINGS

Per. Pvs
1. Kansas State .9674 2

2. Oregon .9497 3

3. Notre Dame .9396 4

4. Alabama .8534 1

5. Georgia .8328 5

6. Florida .7955 6

7. LSU .7331 7

8. Texas A&M .6621 15

9. South Carolina .6349 8

10. Florida State .6071 10

11. Clemson .5921 13

12. Oklahoma .5797 12

13. Stanford .5705 14

14. Nebraska .4679 16

15. Texas .4259 17

16. Oregon State .4161 11

17. UCLA .2925 18

18. USC .2769 19

19. Louisville .2159 9

20. Louisiana Tech .1911 20

21. Michigan .1665 NR

22. Rutgers .1529 23

23. Texas Tech .1416 22

24. Oklahoma State .1088 NR

25. Washington .0850 NR

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Record Pts Pvs

1. Oregon (45) 10-0 1,485 2

2. Kansas State (14) 10-0 1,451 3

3. Notre Dame (1) 10-0 1,382 4

4. Alabama 9-1 1,259 1

5. Georgia 9-1 1,223 5

6. Ohio State 10-0 1,212 5

7. Florida 9-1 1,089 7

8. LSU 8-2 1,046 9

9. Texas A&M 8-2 1,031 15

10. Florida State 9-1 1,024 8

11. Clemson 9-1 907 10

12. South Carolina 8-2 848 12

13. Oklahoma 7-2 798 14

14. Stanford 8-2 766 16

15. Oregon State 7-2 556 13

16. Nebraska 8-2 549 18

17. UCLA 8-2 541 17

18. Texas 8-2 496 19

19. Louisiana Tech 9-1 374 19

20. Louisville 9-1 322 11

21. USC 7-3 297 21

22. Rutgers 8-1 179 24

23. Michigan 7-3 135 NR

23. Texas Tech 7-3 135 25

25. Kent State 9-1 93 NR

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma St. 79, N. Illinois 77, Mississippi St. 48, Wisconsin 26, UCF 16, Boise St. 14, Arizona 6, Cincinnati 6, Fresno St. 6, TCU 5, San Jose St. 4, Tulsa 4, Utah St. 4, San Diego St. 3, Northwestern 2, Toledo 1, Washington 1.

• USA TODAY coaches, HArris polls, Page 58



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