BCS analyst doesn’t foresee Orange Bowl ‘stiffing’ Clemson, if it’s eligible

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 2:20 p.m., Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Go Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas and Bowling Green.

That would be the convoluted battle cry this weekend for Clemson fans holding out hope for another crack at the Orange Bowl.

According to longtime ESPN BCS analyst Brad Edwards on Wednesday’s conference call, Clemson (10-2), currently rated No. 13 in the latest BCS Standings with one week remaining, is a pretty safe bet to be selected as an at-large replacement for No. 1 Florida State in the Orange Bowl based on its partnership with the ACC.

So long as the Tigers remain eligible, that is. They must end up in the top 14 after Saturday’s games, which is relegated to conference championships and a couple of Big XII showdowns.

“I don’t see a likely scenario where Clemson would fall out of the top 14, which would prevent the Orange from being able to take them,” Edwards said. “I guess if Northern Illinois and Oklahoma both win, let’s say Arizona State wins as well, where no one in front of them is falling past them. Even Michigan State’s another one I think would have to win. It would be a pretty lengthy series of results that would have to be strung together to make Clemson fall out of the top 14.”

For starters, if the top-ranked Seminoles fell to No. 20 Duke in the ACC Championship, the Blue Devils automatically go to the Orange Bowl, as the ACC Champion, and FSU would easily garner at-large consideration over Clemson.

Barring a major upset there, the Orange Bowl will get to voluntarily choose both its participants as FSU heads to the national title game. Clemson is the only ACC school available.

“As to whether the Orange would pass (Clemson) over if they were eligible, I think it really comes down to the relationship that the ACC has with the Orange Bowl,” Edwards said. “It’s not just one that’s existed for many years now in the BCS; but the fact they have a 12-year agreement in place starting next year for this playoff world, for the ACC champ to go there.

“It’s hard for me to imagine the Orange Bowl stiffing the ACC there and going with someone else if Clemson’s available.”

Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich penned an open letter to Clemson fans and athletic boosters Monday asking them to pledge support via social media to the Orange Bowl, which apparently is worried about filling 71,450-seat Sun Life Stadium in south Florida.

“I understand they’re a little concerned about ticket sales; maybe that comes into play when they choose the opponent for Clemson,” Edwards said. “If they’re already a little worried about how many people Clemson’s going to bring, then maybe the second choice — number of tickets sold — could be a major factor in that part of it.

“But I would be really surprised to see the Orange pass over a Clemson team that’s eligible, ranked in the top 14.”

The way Edwards outlined that conceivably Clemson could stumble its way out of the top 14: No. 10 Michigan State and No. 11 Arizona State win their conference championships, thus sewing up automatic BCS bids and staying above the Tigers in the standings. The Spartans face No. 2 Ohio State in Indianapolis (Big Ten Championship) and the Sun Devils host No. 7 Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.

Also, No. 9 Baylor would need to knock off visiting No. 25 Texas to definitively stay in the top 14.

Meanwhile, No. 14 Northern Illinois plays Bowling Green (9-3) in the MAC Championship in Detroit, and No. 17 Oklahoma goes to No. 6 Oklahoma State. If the Huskies or Sooners prevail, they’d each be candidates to hop over the Tigers.

If Clemson falls out of the top 14, it becomes ineligible for a BCS bid and would be pitted against Duke as the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s top choice.

Clarifying revenue sharing for the 2013-14 season: the ACC (and each of the other five automatic-qualifying conferences) receives approximately $23.9 million to split up among its members. Any at-large selection receives $6.3 million for reaching a BCS bowl.

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