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College Football: Some BCS projections

By Ralph D. Russo
Associated Press
NEW YORK — So much time was spent during the offseason talking about the coming college football playoff, it will almost make you forget the Bowl Championship Series is still around for a couple more seasons.
Two more seasons of automatic bids, polls, computer ratings and two teams being selected from 124 to have a chance at the national title in the postseason.
Then college football will enter a new world of conference tie-ins and a selection committee picking four teams to have a chance at the national title in the postseason.
Won’t that be …. great?
Anyway, a way-to-early BCS projection for the 2012 season.
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Southern California (Pac-12 champions) vs. Arkansas (SEC champions)
During USC’s great run of the last decade, the Trojans never got a chance to play a team from the Southeastern Conference in a bowl game. That was unfortunate, and left many SEC fans wondering if the Trojans were getting off easy. Time to rectify that — just not with one of the SEC teams most figured would get there. John L. Smith leads the Razorbacks past West rivals LSU and Alabama to their first SEC championship.
ROSE BOWL
Oregon (at-large) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten champions)
RB Le’Veon Bell and the Spartans break their Rose Bowl drought (last one: 1988) by winning the Big Ten title against Wisconsin (again with those two!). For RB D’Anthony Thomas and the Ducks, it’s a third Rose Bowl in four years after losing twice to USC.
SUGAR BOWL
Alabama (at-large) vs. Texas (at-large)
An early loss to Arkansas keeps the defending champion Crimson Tide out of the national title game, but a victory against LSU gives Nick Saban’s team another BCS bid. Texas gets back to the big stage on the strength of a fierce defense led by ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat and strong running game. Should make for a Sugar Bowl slug-fest.
FIESTA BOWL
West Virginia (Big 12 champion) vs. Wisconsin (at-large)
QB Geno Smith and Mountaineers win a title in their inaugural season in the Big 12 with a high-powered offense that will fit right in with their new neighbors — and just enough defense. RB Montee Ball and the Badgers miss out on a third straight Rose Bowl, but the Fiesta Bowl will gladly welcome their passionate fans to the desert.
ORANGE BOWL
Florida State (ACC champion) vs. South Florida (Big East champion)
The Orange Bowl hasn’t caught many breaks as far as matchups during the BCS era, and while this all-Florida game will no doubt fill the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, it’s a regular-season rematch that won’t excite many outside the state. The Seminoles are FINALLY back behind coach Jimbo Fisher, just missing out on a ticket to the national title game. As for USF, well, somebody has to win the Big East, so might as well go with the team led by a talented, four-year starter at quarterback (B.J. Daniels).
THE CHAMP?
And the national champion will be … Matt Barkley and the Trojans snap the SEC’s streak of BCS titles at six with a victory in Miami, where they last took home the crystal football — before having to give it back.

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