MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It may be hard for college football fans to wrap their head around this, but it’s possible a team that got destroyed on the field by the University of Kentucky may be headed for a Bowl Championship Series berth in the Orange Bowl.

If Kent State wins the MAC Championship game this weekend, it will likely move into the Top 16 in the country. With no Big East team ranked higher, that would mean Kent State would receive an automatic qualifier spot for the BCS.

If Kent State makes it into the Top 16 and the BCS clause is used to send them to the BCS, it will be the first time in the 15-year history of the BCS it has happened.

Since the Orange Bowl is last in the selection process for teams heading to the BCS, if Kent State gets into the BCS, it will likely be headed for the Orange Bowl.

The best case scenario for the Orange Bowl would be for Florida State to beat Georgia Tech on Saturday to capture the ACC Championship and secure one of the spots in the game. If Florida State is somehow upset by Georgia Tech, it could produce one of the worst BCS matchups ever: Kent State vs. Ga. Tech.

Now, all of this could be rendered moot if Northern Illinois University beats Kent State University in the MAC Championship game. In that case, Kent State would be out of the BCS and the Orange Bowl would most likely get the ACC Champion, either Louisville or Rutgers against the ACC Champion.

The potential matchups for the Orange Bowl are as follows:

  • Kent State win and Florida State win: Kent State vs. Florida State
  • Kent State win and Ga. Tech win: Kent State vs. Georgia Tech
  • Kent State loss and FSU win: FSU vs. Louisville/Rutgers
  • Kent State loss and Ga. Tech win: Ga. Tech vs. Louisville/Rutgers

The other team that could get the hose if Kent State wins the MAC Championship on Saturday is the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners are more than likely headed to the Sugar Bowl if Kansas State can beat Texas on Saturday.

However, if Kent State wins and gets into the Top 16; the Sugar Bowl will most likely select the Big East Champion just ahead of the Orange Bowl instead of the Sooners. Since Kent State would be locked into the Orange Bowl at that point, Oklahoma would be left out of the BCS.

The Sugar Bowl can have the following matchups: Florida vs. Oklahoma or Florida vs. Big East Champion (Louisville/Rutgers). A UF vs. OU game would be far superior to Florida vs. Louisville/Rutgers, but Louisville/Rutgers would be preferable to Kent State.

Assuming the top of the polls stay the same, here’s your potential BCS matchups….

  • BCS Title game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
  • Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State (Big XII Champ) vs. Oregon (at-large)
  • Sugar Bowl: Florida (at-large) vs. (Big East Champion or at-large)
  • Orange Bowl: FSU (ACC Champ) vs. (Big East Champion or at-large)
  • Rose Bowl: Nebraska (Big 10 Champ) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 Champ)

Needless to say, the biggest fans of Northern Illinois on Saturday will be Orange Bowl officials and Oklahoma fans.


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