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Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Ohio State-Florida State by the numbers; no chance for SEC

My colleague Gregg Doyel wondered earlier today why Ohio State is getting beat up by those who think the SEC champion should be in the BCS title game, but Florida State is getting a pass. Here is a look at how similar they are.

In the old BCS strength of schedule formula, Ohio State would rank 55th, while the Seminoles come it at 59th. Those numbers include this weekend's opponents. Only one team has played in the title game with a lower strength of schedule in that formula, and that was Oregon in 2010, which lost to ... Auburn.

The Buckeyes played a couple bowl eligible non-majors in Buffalo and San Diego State outside the league, along with two train wrecks, Cal and Florida A&M. Florida State did not play a bowl eligible team in non-conference play. The Noles played a pair of 4-8 teams in Nevada and Florida, which was a huge disappointment this season, and also had their own train wrecks with Idaho and Bethune-Cookman.

The Big Ten is a better league than the ACC by any measure. Not only is the Big Ten better in my own rankings, but in all six BCS computers. Four of those six computers rank the leagues, but Sagarin and Massey rank by division instead of conference. In those, the Big Ten Leaders, which has the conference's three worst teams (llinois, Indiana and putrid Purdue), still ranks ahead of the ACC Atlantic.

But voters don't care to split those hairs. They are wowed by the big numbers Florida State put up week after week. Only Boston College, a 48-31 loser, played the Seminoles closer than four touchdowns.

So, does any of this help Auburn or Missouri, whichever wins the SEC? Not really. Voters like undefeated, and Florida State and Ohio State are ... for now. Also, while Auburn is the No. 3 team in the computers, it's very likely that they will not gain any ground on the Buckeyes in that component, and in fact, might lose some ground this week.

If Auburn does not get closer to Ohio State in the computers, the voting margin is insurmountable given traditional voting patterns. Auburn would need more than half the voters in the two polls combined to move the Tigers up one spot and the Buckeyes down one, or some rough mathematical equivalent. That's not more than half the voters with Ohio State ahead of Auburn. That's more than half the voters, period. I wouldn't count on that.

Missouri starts from farther back than Auburn, but you can still project everything I said about Auburn onto Mizzou. The black and gold Tigers would take over for the orange and blue ones with a Missouri win.

 
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