The Orange Bowl Committee is ecstatic about its BCS National Championship Game — No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 7 at Sun Life Stadium.
“A dream matchup,” OB Committee spokesman Larry Wahl said Saturday night after the Crimson Tide defeated Georgia 32-28 for the Southeastern Conference championship. “You have two iconic brands. This would be among the most anticipated games in the BCS era.”
The Discover Orange Bowl game also will be a winner — that is, if BCS voters do what most college football analysts expect: keep Northern Illinois University and Boise State out of the top 16 in Sunday’s final BCS standings. That, in turn, would put a South-Florida heavy Louisville team, led by former Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, into the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
Louisville (10-2), the Big East champs, defeated Rutgers 20-17 on Thursday.
Northern Illinois (12-1), the Mid-American champs, defeated Kent State 44-37 in double overtime Friday.
Boise State (10-2) of the Mountain West defeated Nevada 27-21 on Saturday.
FSU (11-2), the Atlantic Coast Conference champs, defeated Georgia Tech 21-15 on Saturday.
The official BCS standings and bowl lineups will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.
BCS rules state that any team from a nonautomatic qualifying conference that finishes among the top 16, as long as it is higher than an automatic qualifying conference champion, clinches a spot in a BCS bowl. NIU is BCS No. 21 going into Sunday’s final vote, with Boise State No. 20.
“We won’t know anything until we see the polls on Sunday,” said BCS expert Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com. “The computers are a little more predictable, but we’ll have to see what the voters do. Boise has a better chance than Northern Illinois, but I don’t think either will get there. It’s too far to jump.”
Palm said any Orange Bowl matchup with Northern Illinois would be a clunker of a sell to fans. “They couldn’t make enough Mojitos to console those OB executives,” he said.
If, by chance, NIU or Boise does qualify for a BCS game, then the Sugar Bowl would likely choose Louisville to play the Florida Gators on Jan. 2 — and Boise or NIU would fall to the OB game. Otherwise, the Sugar is expected to have the Gators (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (10-2).
The Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3 will have Big 12 champion Kansas State (11-1) vs. Oregon (11-1).
The Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 will feature Pac-12 champion Stanford (11-2) against five-loss Big Ten champion Wisconsin (8-5), which upset Nebraska (10-3) on Saturday in the Big Ten title game.