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National Preview: Non-Championship Game Edition

Time to win the big game, Mike.
Time to win the big game, Mike.

Not every conference is special enough to have a championship game. For a while the Big 12 had one, but this is their first year going sans-championship game. The Big East has never had one, which is probably for the best because the inevitable 3-5 way tie at the end of the season always makes me giggle.

Anyway, let's take a look at who can still take the BCS AQ bids from the Big 12 and Big East, and what games will decide it.

Big 12

(10) Oklahoma Sooners @ (3) Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Line: OSU -3.5

Bedlam will serve as the Big 12's de facto title game this year, as it's winner takes all. Oklahoma State is theoretically still alive for the BCS title game, but would need to absolutely grind OU into dust to even have an argument. However, history is not on the Cowboys' side. Oklahoma leads the series 82-16-7 all-time, and has currently won eight straight against their instate rivals.

Defensively, the Sooners have the advantage, but the Cowboys' offense has been incredibly hard to stop. They're averaging just under 50 points per game this season, and their season low was 31 in their insane overtime loss to Iowa State. Oklahoma may be able to slow them down some, but probably not very much. The question is whether Landry Jones and the OU offense can keep up with them. The OSU defense has been fairly charitable, but injuries to the OU receiving corps have slowed down the Sooner air attack.

The Cowboys are due, but I can't shake a sense of inevitability surrounding the Sooners.

The Big East

(23) West Virginia Mountaineers @ South Florida Bulls
Line: WVU -1

Connecticut Huskies @ Cincinnati Bearcats
Line: Cincy -10

At this point, only Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati still have a shot of winning the conference. The Cardinals are already in the clubhouse with a 5-2 conference record, and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Mountaineers, but not the Bearcats. The scenarios for who clinches the BCS berth were worked out by Mark over at Big East Coast Bias, but here's a quick recap:

If Cincy and WVU both lose, Louisville wins the conference.
If Cincy and WVU both win, WVU would win the three-way tiebreaker by virtue of having the highest BCS ranking.
If Cincy wins and WVU loses, Cincinnati wins the conference.
If Cincy loses and WVU wins, Louisville wins the conference.

I don't think any of these teams deserve a spot in a BCS bowl, but don't blame them, blame the system.

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