When the dust cleared and bowl bids where handed out last night confusion still reigned -- especially surrounding the Southeastern and Southwestern conferences; the Orange Bowl was bemoaning the loss of a possible national championship matchup; and Florida State was chortling.
Georgia's 33-13 defeat at the hands of Aurburn ruined the organge Bowl's hopes for an Alabama-Nebraska national championship showdown.
The loss by Georgia put Alabama in the driver's seat for the SEC title and ensuing Sugar Bowl bid, so the Orange snapped up 9-0 Florida State while it could. The Seminoles will play the Big Eight champion, the winner of Saturday's Nebraska-Oklahoma match, New Year's night.
By Alabama has not yet clinched the Sugar Bowl bid. The Crimson Tide (10-0) would tie for the SEC title with Georgia, now 5-5, if it lost to Auburn on Dec. 1. Georgia, with a nonconference game left with Georgia Tech, could conceivably go to the Sugar Bowl with a 5-6 record.
Whether Alabama represents the SEC its opponent will be from the SWC -- either Texas or Arkansas. The Surgar Bowl will take the team that does not go the the Cotton Bowl, and Arkansas currently has the inside track for the cotton bid. There it will play the Nebraska-Oklahoma loser.
One team is definitely in the Rose Bowl: 11-0 Ohio State, the Big Ten champion. The Buckeyes' opponent will be Southern California, unless the Trojans are upset next week by UCLA. In that case Washington will go to Pasadena.
Several of the smaller bowls were still scrambling last night trying to come up with teams. The fiesta Bowl after taking Pittsburgh when the Liberty thought they had the 9-1 Panthers wrapped up, left its second slot open in case either Southern Cal or Brigham Young should lose a conference title next week and be available. Oregon could go there if both win.
Brigham Young will go to the Holiday if it beats San Diego State next week, to play Indiana. If San Diego State upsets the 10-0 Cougars, it will host the Holiday.
While Maryland did not receive a bid, four ACC teams did.
Clemson, 8-2 after beating Notre Dame yesterday, was shut out of the Gator Bowl because ABC television did not want the Tigers a third straight year. Instead, Clemson will face Baylor in the Peach Bowl.
The Gator Bowl, still wanting an ACC school, surprised by taking 6-3-1 North Carolina, 13-7 winner over Virginia yesterday. The Tar Heels had been considered out of bowl consideration because of three straight winless weeks. They will play 8-3 Michigan.
Wake Forest (8-3) happily accepted a bid to the Tangerine Bowl, which it had been smart enough to wrap up Friday before being trounced, 35-14, yesterday by South Carolina. Tangerine officials were rooting for LSU (5-4) to beat Mississippi State last night so they could offer the Bengal Tigers a bid. The Tigers won, 2-3, and accepted.
South Carolina (7-3) will take its beat team in years to the Hall of Fame classic. The Hall of Fame is expected to choose its second team today with Maryland having an outside shot.
Tennessee appeared to be a lock for the Bluebonnet Bowl until it was bombed by Mississippi yesterday. The Vols could still get in. Purdue is already invited.
The Liberty Bowl rebounded from its loss of Pittsburgh by snapping up Penn State (7-3 to play Tulane (8-2).
The Garden State Bowl took Temple (8-2) but left its second slot open, hoping to steal LSU from the Tangerine, but took ACC champion North Carolina State (7-4) when LSU won and went to the Tangerine.
The only bowl that did not have one team officially invited last night was the Sun. But the El Paso game will take Houston and Washington, assuming that neither school wins its conference title. Washington could still end up in the Rose and Houston the Cotton but both are slim chances at best and the two schools have agreed to play one another if they are not conference champions.