The Sooners are locked out of the BCS bowl mix because Northern Illinois will earn an automatic berth in the BCS by finishing in the top 16 of the final BCS standings. SI.com reported that Northern Illinois (12-1) will finish 15th in the final BCS standings, to be released later tonight, and will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Until Northern Illinois’ rise in the final standings triggered the school’s automatic inclusion in a BCS game, Oklahoma had been projected to play in the Sugar Bowl against Florida (11-1). With tonight’s developments, the Big 12’s lone BCS team will be Kansas State (11-1), which earned the league’s berth in the Fiesta Bowl given to the conference champion. The Wildcats are expected to play Oregon (11-1).
Oklahoma’s omission from the BCS means the Big 12 will miss out on a $6.2 million payday for placing an at-large team in the BCS bowl mix.
BCS bowl matchups will be announced officially tonight (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.).
_ Jimmy Burch