Will Muschamp's Gators are likely to finish third in the final BCS standings and receive and invitation to play in the Sugar Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Latest BCS Games Projections, Florida a Lock for Sugar

With a wild weekend of football there’s still some debate about which teams will play in the BCS games.

What we know: Stanford and Wisconsin will certainly play January 1st in the Rose Bowl. It looks like K State and Oregon are still a lock for the Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd in Tempe, Arizona.

Coming in to today the expectations were that Oklahoma would take on Florida in the Sugar Bowl on January 2 and Florida State would be paired with Big East Champ Louisville in the Orange Bowl in Miami on January 1st.

Not so fast my friend. The catch here is that no non-automatic qualifying school actually qualified for the BCS. For that to happen a non-automatic qualifier has to finish in the final 16 of the BCS standings. Northern Illinois is actually on the cusp with a 16 place position in the new USA Today coaches poll which was just released. If they can be high enough in the Harris Poll and the computer rankings to finish 16th or higher in the final BCS poll than they would earn at-large spot in the BCS knocking out Oklahoma, the expected third at-large team behind one-loss Florida and one-loss Oregon.

In that case, Louisville would likely slide into the Sugar spot to play Florida, who is fourth in the current coaches poll and expected to remain 2nd in the computer rankings leaving them third in the BCS and, thus, an automatic at-large qualifier. Northern Illinois then would head to the Orange Bowl to take on Florida State.

Right now the main BCS prognosticator, Jerry Palm, projects NIU to finish at 17th in the BCS and just out of the BCS games lineup. ESPN, however, does have them projected to finishi 16th and in. Right now it’s anybody’s guess and the margin is terribly minute.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on the BCS bowl situation.

Tags: BCS Bowl Games BCS Projections Florida Gators Gator Football

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