The real Big Picture can be found elsewhere today.

What you'll find here is the lesser picture.

You know, this is the group photograph with all the teams not quite good enough to make the bowl championship series games, but still hoping to catch the eyes of desperate bowl representatives searching for the right team to play at the right price.

So, anybody out there in lesser bowl land want California and its 7-6 record that includes an overtime victory over USC?

How about UCLA at 6-6? Or Wisconsin at 7-5? Or Northwestern at 6-6. Or Houston at 6-5? Or North Carolina State at 7-5?

If you're wondering what in the world any self-respecting bowl would want with any of those teams, you haven't been paying attention to the essence of the college game.

Everybody needs somebody at bowl time.

After all, slots need to be filled for the Insight, Continental Tire, Silicon Valley and Music City bowls. College football wouldn't be the wonderfully wacky endeavor it is without the New Orleans, GMAC, Humanitarian and San Francisco bowls.

The view at the top has grown clearer. It's easier now to see that Oklahoma probably will play USC in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship Jan. 4 at New Orleans.

The view from the middle of the pack is what's still a bit difficult to decipher, and that's why the final weekends of the season are so worth watching. Because it's not as simple to figure out which teams might meet in the Las Vegas, Tangerine, Fort Worth, Alamo, Houston and Hawaii bowls.

-- Elliott Teaford

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