Home > College Football, Div-I FBS > Handicappin’ the BCS Selections

Handicappin’ the BCS Selections

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Our current system allows us to recognize ten teams as BCS approved bowl-eligible teams.  These are who those ten teams will be.

One of the biggest decisions the pollsters will have to make this year is whether or not they can or should put two non-BCS (and non-Notre Dame) teams in the BCS bowls.  Neither TCU nor Boise State is likely to lose a game this season (TCU still has to handle Utah at home), and if both teams are ranked in the top 12, they can both get in.  However, there is only one automatic bid.  Right now, TCU leads Boise in the BCS standings, which is almost certain not to change unless TCU falls along the way.

The easiest way to sort through the BCS madness is to start with the near certainties and work down towards the open spots.  So with that in mind, the most certain occurrence at this point is:

Pac-Ten Champion:  Oregon

It’s easiest to project the conferences that do not have a championship game first, since if you win your conference championship, you are in the BCS.  This has crazy ramifications: for example, either Kansas State or Iowa State could line up in the Fiesta Bowl against TCU.  Just sayin’.

For the Ducks, the win over USC paints the first significant brush-stroke in the BCS picture.  They can lose a game–any of their remaining four–and still end up in the Rose Bowl.  Win them all, and they have an outside shot at being in the National Championship, also in Pasadena.  It’s not a better than 50-60% chance though that they won’t trip up along the way though, and even if they don’t, Texas could win out and basically put the Oregon nat’l champs hopes to rest.

SEC Champion:  Florida

Or Alabama.  Or LSU, if they win this week.  It’s a foregone conclusion that the SEC is getting two teams in the BCS: computers and pollsters have a conference-fetish for these guys, and for good reason as well.  Florida’s the easy projection because, heck, they’ve already clinched the SEC East, so they just have to win that last game at the end of the year to be champs.

Alabama is playing for their National Title hopes this week, but not very much else: even if they lose to L.S.U., a loss would (practically) mean they avoid having to play in the disaster that is the S.E.C. championship, and can secure an at large BCS berth by finishing 11-1, while someone gets knocked off in the game between Florida and L.S.U.  Something tells me that Nick Saban doesn’t have his eyes on the Sugar Bowl this year.

Big East Champion:  Cincinnati

Sure, they still have to handle Pitt, but I think all that game will demonstrate is just how large the gap is between Cincinnati and the rest of the Big East, which isn’t even a pushover conference, not like the Big Ten at least.  Cincinnati is just a team that’s bound to go undefeated this year, which unfortunately will only be good enough for No. 3 in the nation.  This is the issue I have with the BCS:  if Texas and Cincinnati both win out, you have Texas playing Alabama/Florida/LSU for the national championship.  If Texas stumbles, and Oregon wins out, Oregon will jump Cinci in the polls.  Computers are not the issue with the BCS.  Polls are.

Cincinnati’s hopes to appear in the Nat’l Championship rely on complete chaos at the top, Texas losing, Oregon losing, and no undefeated SEC teams, which would probably require an LSU win against Alabama, followed by an LSU loss, and an Alabama victory over Florida in the SEC title game.

Got all that?

Big Ten Champion:  Ohio State

The big prediction here: Iowa loses two games, including the Ohio State game, to close out the year.

The just-as-important-secondary prediction: Ohio State beats Michigan in Ann Arbor.

I don’t really know what to think of that.  All season long, I’ve felt Michigan was a better team than Ohio State, and could break the long streak of losses to the Buckeyes at home, but that was before the horrific Illinois loss.  Now, if Ohio State really gets rolling off of Penn State and Iowa, it’s hard to see them falling to Michigan.  You never know though.

If Ohio State does beat Iowa and Penn State, but loses to Michigan, the Big Ten tiebreaker would actually go to Iowa, even if they lose two games, and that’s because OSU would be a three loss team, given the Ohio State game.  So for Iowa to lose the Big Ten title, they’d have to fall to Ohio State AND another team (which probably will happen), and Ohio State would have to win against both Penn State and Michigan.

Or Penn State could win out.  What a crappy conference.

Big XII Champion:  Texas

Texas, clearly, is the class of the Big Twelve.  They have roughly a 70% chance to finish undefeated.  And if they go 12-0 in the regular season, nothing will keep them from a BCS bowl.  Of course, a randomly chosen Big 12 North team is going to get a chance to beat Texas in a single game to go to a BCS bowl.  Ah, the conference nomination system.

Texas, of course, will win this game, but it’s still scary to think that the Big XII might actually send two teams.

ACC Champion:  Georgia Tech

There’s little doubt that if GT wins the ACC Championship game that they’ve basically clinched a berth in, they’ll play in a BCS bowl.  The questions here are: who they will play (I think, Clemson), and whether a two loss Miami or a three loss Florida team can squeak a BCS berth, even though they cant really win the conference.

Which leaves us to sort through the at-larges.

At Large #1:  TCU

It’s going to be tough for TCU, because even a minor slip up against a one-loss Utah team means no BCS bowl.  But if we assume right now that TCU wins out, their berth appears to be automatic.  They are ahead of Boise right now in the polls and most computer averages.  It should be noted that the Broncos’ dominant win over Oregon continues to look better and better every week.  Unfortunately, scheduling really hurts them, because that game was played way too long ago to make big difference in the polls.

At Large #2: Alabama

Another easy one here, as even at two losses, it’s a virtual certainty that a second SEC team will crash the BCS party.  If Alabama loses twice, though, it might not actually be them here.  LSU lurks this week with only one loss, and if they win this week, it drops Alabama into third place in the SEC.  Of course, Florida waits in the SEC Championship, which makes Alabama a pretty safe pick for this spot, on way or another.

At Large #3:  USC

Will there really be two teams in the BCS from the Pac-10?  It’s enough of a statement that USC won’t be playing for the Rose Bowl this year, but I think a lot of people would like to see a USC-Alabama game in the Sugar Bowl.  If they make it through the season at two losses, USC’s resume is as good as any two loss team in the country.  If USC does fall for a third time this season, this spot could go to Notre Dame or Penn State or even Pitt.

At Large #4:  Boise State

My gut feeling says that if the Broncos are undefeated at the end of the year, we will have the unprecedented two non-BCS teams crashing the BCS.  I mean, Boise State may not yet be an elite program, but it’s an excellent program that could compete in major conferences.  They’re not just some team having a nice ten game run.  An undefeated Boise team, even one that doesn’t receive an automatic BCS bid, is still going to get voted in over any two loss team in the nation.  If Miami (Fl) can finish out without a loss, they could jump in here if TCU or Boise stumbles.

LiveBall’s BCS Bowl Projections

Rose Bowl:  Oregon vs. Ohio State

Orange Bowl:  Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati

Sugar Bowl:  Alabama vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl:  Boise State vs. TCU

National Championship:  Texas vs. Florida

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  1. Juan
    November 5, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Big 10 a crappy conference?
    Why don’t you go get fncked by a train of fire hydrants!

  1. November 21, 2009 at 12:36 am

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