Each week, I’ll take a look at the BCS contenders and analyze their prospects for making the BCS championship game based on their schedule and the BCS standings. As a starting point, unless all BCS conference champs end up with at least two losses, 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. Utah is currently 11th, but is a respectable 8th in the computer rankings, a number that is sure to get higher as they play out the season.
Show them the door (teams dropped off the list this week):
-California, by virtue of their loss to Arizona
-North Carolina, by virtue of their loss to Virginia
-Vandy, by virtue of their loss to Georgia
-Michigan State, by virtue of their total exposure as a one player team
-Kansas, by virtue of their loss to Oklahoma
-Missouri, by virtue of getting pwned by Texas
Clayton and Jagdish at Omega House:
- Anyone in the Big East: Last week I thought there could be some way (albeit implausible way) for a one loss Big East champ to get in the BCS championship. South Florida is the highest rated Big East team at 16th. There are two MWC teams (Utah and TCU) and one WAC team (Boise State) in front of them. The Mountain West has more teams in the rankings (3) than the Big East (2). A one loss Utah or TCU goes before a one loss Big East champ. Mike Tranghese better figure something out before the next round of BCS talks.
- Anyone in the ACC: The only plausible way for any ACC team to make it is for FSU to beat an eventual SEC Champ Florida that has one loss and for their opponent to be a two loss Georgia Tech team that has just rolled over a Georgia team that gave Florida all it could handle in Jacksonville, but came up just short (possibly in 5 overtimes). Ok, not very plausible.
- Minnesota/Northwestern: Both teams have had too many cupcakes to be able to make an impact. At best Northwestern can play spoiler against Ohio State later this season. Minnesota can barely improve their strength of schedule the rest of the season. These two will meet in two weeks, so by the very nature of that match up, one will be eliminated. Either way, both are barely on the BCS rankings list at 22 and 24, although I don’t particularly feel like it is important enough to look to see which is which.
- 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 game has the best chance.
- Oklahoma: The Sooners need Texas to lose twice to get to the Big 12 championship game. I just don’t see them making the BCS championship game without winning the Big 12.
Kissing Your Sister:
- Ohio State: I am sticking with my thoughts from last week on this one. Even with a win over Penn State, the Buckeyes have to have two loss teams everywhere to make it in to the championship game.
- LSU: A tough 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 winner in the SEC championship game will help. The Tigers will not get a nod over an undefeated Penn State. The Tigers probably do not get in over a one loss USC or any one loss Big 12 team but Texas Tech.
The Champagne Room:
- Florida: Of all the current one loss teams, this is the one that the pundits feel is most likely go go all the way. The pundits only have 1/3 of the vote, though. They are ranked lowest by the computers (12th) of all the teams in the Champagne room. Their schedule has a fairly high upside right now with games against UGA, FSU and the winner of the LSU/Alabama game in the SEC championship. The game against the Citadel in November could be a serious problem. UF could end up on the outside looking in if Texas or Oklahoma State is a one loss Big 12 champion and possibly with Southern Cal a one loss Pac-10 champion.
- Georgia: Strength of schedule, plus wins over LSU, Florida, and an SEC Championship win over Bama/LSU puts the Dawgs in good shape. The Dawgs need Alabama to not lose to Arkansas State. The Dawgs are in the best position schedule wise. When your easiest remaining game is probably Auburn on the road, even with Auburn’s down year, you have alot of schedule strength upside left. If the Dawgs win the SEC with one loss, they probably get in over everyone but an undefeated Big 12 champ.
- USC: While they look good now in the BCS, their future strength of schedule, especially relative to the other one loss teams, makes it tougher. Southern Cal really needs to have a two loss champion in the Big 12 or SEC. The Trojans definitely goes over a one loss Big 10 champ, but have to have some help in the Big12/SEC.
On the Way Home (and what happens if they call their date by the wrong name):
- Texas: I don’t see how they stay out of the BCS championship game absent a loss in the Big 12 championship game. I guess they could lose big to Texas A&M and have undefeated Penn State and undefeated Bama ahead of them, but it is hard to think that could happen as well as they are playing right now. A one loss Longhorns team will probably go over an undefeated Penn State team with a close loss to anyone but Texas A&M or Baylor.
- Oklahoma State: Saturday at Texas will decide if they make the BCS. 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. They are getting an incredible amount of love from the computers right now, ranked 3rd by the computers (although Richard Billingsley has them ranked fairly low).
- Texas Tech: Yarrrgh! Texas Tech probably needs to be undefeated to play in the BCS championship game. With one loss, they can play in it with two of the three champs from the SEC, Pac-10 and the Big 10 having two losses. Of this group, a one loss Texas Tech team would be the first team out if there are more than two teams with one or fewer losses.
- Penn State: The Nittany Lions are on a roll. The game at Columbus this week is probably for trip to Miami. If they end up as a one loss champ, I don’t see how they go to the championship game without everyone else being two loss champions (the probable exception being Texas Tech), with their current strength of schedule and computer ranking, although there is an outside possibility something along the lines of 1997 could happen, with the coaches just giving Joe Pa a chance to go out on top.
- 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 it can get for them.
Feel free to teach me some words that mean idiot in the comments.