15
Oct
08

Views on the BCS contenders

With half the season finished, I took a look at undefeated and one loss teams to see who may still be in the running for the BCS championship.  As a starting point, unless all BCS conference champs end up with at least two losses, with exceptions noted below, I don’t see any way for this year’s Hawaii to make the BCS championship game due to strength of schedule issues and how that manifests itself in the various computer rankings.  Think I’m joking?  Check this out.

Clayton and Jagdish at Omega House:

  • Anyone in the Big East:  Unless all conference champs have two losses, and Ball State, Tulsa, Utah, BYU and Boise State each have one loss, it won’t happen. Yeah, I said it.
  • Anyone in the ACC but North Carolina:  East Carolina’s romp on opening night and Navy’s shocking win in Winston-Salem pretty much means the Orange Bowl at best for Wake and Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech and Boston College (Duke is actually ahead of BC in the current BCS projections) have too far to climb.  FSU conceivably could get national redemption against Florida the last regular weekend of the season and sneak in with an ACC championship.  However, they are getting no love from the computers right now.  They need at least three other conference champs to have two losses and at least two of those two loss teams being upset by teams they have no business losing to (such as Penn State to Indiana).
  • Minnesota/Northwestern: Minnesota’s best win to date is over a 3-3 Illinois team and the rest of their schedule looks just as bad.  Northwestern is a great story but they have too far to climb and not enough rungs on their schedule ladder to get there (see Technology, Georgia Institute of).
  • Any ‘mid-major’ team: The only way is if all ‘Big 6 5″ conference champs have two losses and one of the mid-major teams really blows their competition away in the final weeks.  An undefeated winner of the Utah-BYU game has the best chance, especially if it is Utah.

Kissing Your Sister:

  • California: The Maryland debacle doesn’t inspire confidence in the possibility of getting to the BCS championship game, even with a win over Southern Cal.  The SEC and Big 12 champs have to be two loss teams. A one loss Penn State get picked before a one loss Bears team does.
  • Vandy: Even if Vandy wins out, they still need help along the lines of last year’s crazy final week.  Sorry, but starting out ranked 75th matters. However, a win over Georgia, Florida and over LSU/Bama and you get in over one loss Michigan State and California teams and two loss Big 12/Big 10/Pac-10 champs.
  • Oklahoma: The Sooners need Texas to lose twice to get to the Big 12 championship game and it has been recently shown that teams not holding their conference crown aren’t getting in the BCS championship game-a notion I agree with).  I don’t see Texas losing twice.  Even if they do, the Sooners are behind any one loss SEC Champ and a one loss Penn State.
  • Ohio State: Ohio State isn’t going this year due to what happened in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Glendale.  Under the crazy logic that is rankings, a Buckeye win over Michigan State won’t mean as much as a Spartan win over tOSU.  I don’t even see them in the championship with a big win over Penn State.  This is my one gut-feeling-no-logic-whatsoever decision.
  • Michigan State: It depends on how Cal does the rest of the season, due to their season opening loss to the Bears. As noted above, beating the Buckeyes will mean more than the Buckeyes beating them.  To get there, a big win over an undefeated Penn State is a must, as is having two loss champions in two of the other three top conferences (SEC/Big 12/Pac-10).  Strangely enough, they get the nod over a one loss California.
  • Kansas: Win out and strength of schedule will help.  The loss to South Florida will not. A one loss Big 10 champ and two loss Pac-10 and SEC champs are probably needed.  The Jayhawks will get the nod over one loss California team.
  • Missouri: This was the toughest team to categorize.  Win out, get a resounding win over an undefeated Big 12 South team (especially if it is Texas) and you might be the recipient of an invite.  It would be a great help for Michigan State or Ohio State to win the Big 10 and Cal to win the Pac-10.  They probably don’t go over any one loss SEC team.
  • North Carolina: Due to the undeserved praise certain teams get, the Tar Heels win last week gets them noticed on a national stage.  However, they play in the ACC and need to beat a one loss Seminole team in Tampa (and have FSU badly beat Florida the week before).  They probably still need some other help in the form of two loss champs in the Big 12, SEC, and Pac-10.  They probably need Michigan State to win the Big 10, as well.

The Champaign Room:

  • Florida: With a big win over LSU, plus future wins over Georgia, possible ACC champ FSU and Bama/LSU, forget about it.  It’ll be another full month of jean short jokes and Urban Meyer speaking in third person.  The only way UF gets left out is if an undefeated Penn State wins the Big 10 and an undefeated team wins the Big 12 and the SEC west champion has two losses. It is my belief that the strength of schedule puts UF over any other one loss team at the end of the season and probably Penn State as an undefeated Big 10 champion.
  • Georgia: Strength of schedule, plus wins over LSU and Florida and an SEC Championship win over Bama/LSU.  The Dawgs need Alabama to not lose to Arkansas State.  Same scenario as Florida, otherwise.
  • LSU: A bit of a tougher case, but I still think they are in a good position.  The loss to UF hurts, as does their schedule strength right now.  A win over Georgia, Alabama and the UGA/UF winer in the SEC championship game will help. The Tigers will not get a nod over an undefeated Penn State.
  • USC: While they look good now in the BCS projections, their future strength of schedule, especially relative to the other one loss teams, makes it tougher.  They win out and have a two loss champion in the Big 12 and SEC, they go over one of those.  The Trojans definitely goes over one loss Michigan State/Penn State/Ohio State. They need all of their prior opponents to step it up and have the Big 12 or SEC teams knock each other off.

On the Way Home (and what happens if they call their date by the wrong name):

  • Texas:  The Big 12 South is the new SEC East.  If they win the Big 12 with one loss (unless the loss is to Texas A&M), I don’t see how they stay out of the BCS championship game, unless Penn State wins them all in routs and Bama is undefeated.  Either way, the Longhorns may still go over an undefeated Penn State.
  • Oklahoma State: Next Saturday at Texas will help decide if they make the BCS (win or lose in a dogfight) or play in the Holiday Bowl.  The Cowboys need to avoid the letdowns of Mike Gundy coached teams of the past. If they win the Big 12 with one loss (not to Iowa State), but beats Texas, they play in the BCS championship game, unless Penn State wins big the rest of the way and Bama is undefeated.
  • Texas Tech: Arrrrgh! Texas Tech probably needs to be undefeated to play in the BCS championship game.  They can play in it if there are two loss teams from the SEC and Pac-10.  Of this group, a one loss Texas Tech team would be the second team out if there are more than two teams with one or fewer losses.
  • Penn State: The Nittany Lions are on a roll.  However, they have the 72nd toughest schedule to date, it only gets easier.  Joe Pa probably needs to be undefeated to sit in the sky box in Miami.  Of this group, a one loss Penn State team would be the first out if there are more than two teams with one or fewer losses.
  • Alabama: If they win the SEC with a loss (as long as the loss is to LSU), the Tide probably plays in BCS championship game.  If they lose to any of the other cupcakes teams on their schedule, the Sugar Bowl is as good as can get for them.

I’ll re-evaluate this each we ekand move teams as the season shakes out.  Feel free to let me know just how wrong I am in the comments.

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A Georgia Dawg in the Mid-West alone with his thoughts.

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