Ok, with the exception of last week, I have looked at the BCS contenders each week and thought about who will make the championship game. Basically, we are down to four teams: Oklahoma, Alababma, Florida, and USC. I still assume the Georgia/Oklahoma rule, whereby a conference championship is a pre-requisite for playing in the national championship game, a proposition I strongly agree with. Of course, last year could be completely an aberration that has more to do with the coach of the team and his general refusal to play politics (or to put it another way, some coaches willingness to openly advocate). I hope it isn’t, since the Oklahoma experiment went so well a few years back.
Bama and Florida: Both of these teams are in exactly the same boat. Win the SEC championship and they will play in Miami. There has been chatter about the possibility of Florida having a problem jumping Texas, but where they are in the rankings and how the computer rankings work, I just don’t see Texas staying in front of them. Beat the number one team in both human polls and you at least are one in Harris and two in Coaches and probably number one in both.
Oklahoma: Win the Big 12 and they are in the championship. Lose and they likely bump Texas Tech from the Cotton Bowl.
USC: Wait, who? Seriously, If Missouri wins the Big 12 championship game, USC has a shot to move into the national champoinship game. I realize I am placing an awfull lot of faith on the human voters to move a conference champion over a non-conference champion. However, there are three other things at work. First, a win over UCLA (especially a convincing one like last week’s win over ND) will make the Trojans a little more sexy to the computers, especially if Oklahoma loses. There will be some bias against Texas and the Big 12 South in general, even though Texas also beat Mizzu. An added bonus is that USC’s win over UCLA will be more recent in the minds of the voters, giving them a bump. Second, the Oklahoma loss will hurt Texas in the computers. I would see Texas falling from 2 to 4 in the computer average, from 3rd to 4th in the Coaches’ Poll and from 3rd to 5th in the Harris Poll. USC would move from 8th to 5th (and maybe fourth, depending on how things shake out) in the computers, and to second in both the Coaches and Harris Polls, with enough points on both to negate the computer advantage. The one thing that could hurt USC’s chances is the possibility of Oklahoma voters giving Texas support, but again, I just see them playing out last year’s scenario and trying to move two conference champions into the national championship.
To put it another way, if Mizzu wins the Big 12, I see the final standings as follows, assuming Florida wins the SEC, which I think will happen (if Alabama wins the SEC, I could see USC in even better shape, as some of the UF voters could easily shift votes to USC):
- Florida, 1st in Coaches, 1st in Harris, 1st in computers
- USC, 2nd in Coaches, 2nd in Harris, 5th in computers
- Texas, 4th in Coaches, 5th in Harris, 2nd in computers
- Alabama, 3rd in coaches, 3rd in Harris, 5th in computers
- Oklahoma, 5th in Coaches, 4th in Harris, 3rd in computers
I am not saying this is a done deal, but I am saying that there is a plausible way for the Trojans to play in the championship game.
Should be an interesting Saturday.