Tag:BCS
Posted on: November 17, 2010 3:07 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Coaches hit the BCS campaign trail

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You may have thought you were finally in the clear.  After weeks of being bombarded by campaign advertisements on your television, the elections have finally happened and you can now get back to your normal diet of beer commercials and erectile dysfunction ads.  Still, just because the campaigning may be over on your television, the country's true campaign is just getting started, one that is far more important than who do you want to send to Washington.

No, this one is about who you want to send to Arizona to play for the BCS title.

Coaches have hit the campaign trail in full force, including LSU head coach Les Miles.  The Mad Hatter has talked his team's way into a BCS title game before, so he figures he may as well give it another shot, once again explaining to the world that the SEC is just harder than any other conference to play in.

"I only know this about this conference," Miles said. "The highest ranked team to come out of this conference should well have an opportunity to play in the national championship game."

As of now, that team would be Auburn, and unless its wins are vacated, Auburn controls its own destiny. Beat Alabama and South Carolina, and nothing will keep them from playing for the national title.  But what if Auburn loses one, or even both of those games?  You know who would likely be the highest rated team in the SEC then?

That's right, LSU.

Still, this isn't a tactic solely being utilized by the boys in the big time conference.  No, TCU head coach Gary Patterson is on the trail as well. Patterson will be at ESPN headquarters on Friday to run the gamut of the network's eleventy billion media outlets to make sure that the world understands that TCU deserves to play for a title if it's undefeated.

"You won't see me beat my chest," Patterson told the Dallas Morning News. "I'll state the case of what TCU has to offer; the culmination of what we've done the last six years. Sometimes that gets lost.

"I think Boise and TCU both have proven over the last five years that no matter what conference you play in, we can play at a high level."

You can tell that Patterson is new to all this, because a seasoned vet would realize you don't say flattering things about your competition during a campaign.  The only time he should be mentioning Boise State is when he's alleging that Kellen Moore is on the take.

Posted on: November 11, 2010 3:52 pm
 

Boise's Rose Bowl hopes aren't dead yet

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's a little known rule in the agreement between the Rose Bowl and BCS that could end up meaning a trip to Pasadena for Boise State this year should they miss out on a chance to play for a national title.  You see, when the Rose Bowl entered into a partnership with the BCS, it did so under the grounds that should one of their traditional choices -- the champions of the Pac-10 and Big 10 -- be chosen to play in the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl would get the first choice of BCS-eligible teams to replace them.

A choice that has never included a non-BCS conference school.

In fact, the six times that a non-BCS team has played in a BCS bowl over the last few years, all six teams have played in the Fiesta or Sugar Bowls, with the Fiesta hosting four of them -- including both TCU and Boise State last January.

So as part of a new deal, the other BCS bowls approached the Rose Bowl and asked them to take a non-BCS school once during the next four years should one of its traditional choices not be available.

Which is a situation that looks very possible this year, with Oregon on top both voter polls and second in the BCS.  Should Oregon win out, odds are they'll be playing for a title, not in the Rose Bowl.  So the Rose Bowl would be looking for a team to replace them.

Now, they could take Stanford, and keep the traditional matchup against the Big Ten champion.  Or they could go TCU, but there's also a chance that TCU will qualify for the title game should Auburn drop a game before then.

Considering all the Cam Newton drama, and the fact that the Tigers have three games left against Georgia, Alabama and whoever wins the SEC East, this isn't exactly a longshot.

Still, if TCU went to the title game, the Rose Bowl wouldn't be obligated to take Boise this season because only one non-BCS conference school needs to be selected each season.  That being said, it may make more sense for the Rose Bowl to take Boise this year, and the Rose Bowl's director of media, Gina Chappin, says it's something the bowl has been considering.

“We have discussed it because of the situation that we’re in and the current landscape of the season so far,” said Gina Chappin.

“We entered this year with the reality that this was going to happen sooner or later. I don’t think any of us expected to get through this four-year cycle and not have this be something that would be a reality.”

If you think about it, it would make a lot of sense for the Rose Bowl to take Boise State over Stanford.  First of all, if you are required to do so at some point in the next four years, why not do it quickly and get the obligation out of the way?

There's also the fact that Boise State is a really good football team right now, and there's no guarantee that three years from now, should the Rose Bowl find itself in the same situation, that a non-AQ school will be available that is as good as this Boise State team.

Also, Boise State has already shown that it can compete and win BCS bowl games, and that it has a fan base that will travel and scoop up tickets in droves to the games.

It's possible that more Boise State fans would make the trip to Pasadena than Stanford fans would.  The Broncos are also a television draw, not that the Rose Bowl needs any real help there, but plenty of college football fans would be interested in seeing Boise State take on the Big Ten champion.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 3:44 pm
 

Utes: TCU better than '09 Frogs, '08 Tide

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's safe to say Utah came away impressed with TCU after the Horned Frogs' emphatic dissolution of what had been the nation's longest home winning streak last Saturday, but how impressed? This impressed :
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn't pull any punches when it comes to TCU. "Hands down, the best football team we've played since I've been at Utah," said Whittingham ...

Starting center Zane Taylor also has high praise for the Frogs.

"They are the best team I've ever gone against."
It's true that you might not expect the Utes to say anything different after their 47-7 humiliation, but it's still worth noting that both Whittingham and Taylor have faced some truly outstanding teams during their Utah tenures. Like, for instance, the 2009 edition of the Horned Frogs, who rolled the Utes 55-28 on their way to what looks very likely to only be the first of back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.

But for the Mountain West skeptics out there, it's also worth pointing out that those teams include the Alabama squad which went 12-0 in the SEC West in 2008 before narrowly losing out to eventual national champion Florida in the SEC championship game and facing the Utes in the Sugar Bowl . The Utes won that game 31-17, and Taylor made a point of mentioning that Tide team as an inferior to this year's version of the Frogs.

Whittingham added that he feels that this TCU team deserves its shot at the national championship. If he's correct that they're even better than two other teams that put together undefeated seasons that landed BCS berths, it'll be awfully hard to say he's not right.

Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Don't panic, Broncos: 5 anti-doomsday scenarios

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Over the past several days, more than one college football analyst has discussed a scenario which should make everyone involved with the BCS hang their head: the possibility of an undefeated Boise State not only not making the BCS national title game, but being shut out of the BCS entirely and heading off to play (or "obliterate," delete as applicable) Cal in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. As CBSSports.com's own Dennis Dodd has explained, with TCU poised to take the single automatic bid allotted to non-AQ teams, the Sugar Bowl suffering from "SEC power vs. small-conference upstart" fatigue, and the Orange Bowl potentially unwilling to put together a rematch between likely ACC champion Virginia Tech and the Broncos, every BCS at-large bid could easily wind up doled to teams other than Boise. It's true.

But that doesn't mean it's destined to happen, or even likely. For instance, CBS's Jerry Palm says it's not even a given that the Horned Frogs will wind up ahead of Boise in the BCS standings when all is said and done. But even assuming TCU gets the nod at No. 3, here's five somewhat reasonable scenarios (i.e. not "New Mexico beats the Frogs in the upset of the millennium"), ranked from most to least likely, which would result in the Broncos getting their second BCS berth in as many years:

1. The Sugar or the Orange extend an invite. There's reason to think the Sugar and the Orange won't want to take a flyer on the Broncos, but there's plenty of reasons to think they will, too. Boise has become such a polarizing fixture on the college football scene that they're capable of bringing a great deal of attention and excellent TV ratings with them. The Broncos haven't faced an SEC team since Georgia in 2005, and it's fair to assume plenty of fans would tune in to see the nation's most respected conference and most recognizable Cinderella go toe-to-toe. (If the Sugar gets to invite local favorite LSU as the Broncos' opponent, attendance won't be an issue.) The Orange might be nonplussed at the Hokie-Bronco rematch, but selecting last, they also might not have many palatable options; assuming Nebraska wins in the Big 12 and the Sugar takes a leftover Big Ten team (preventing the Orange from taking a third Big Ten team), the only serious candidates will be either a team like Oklahoma State or Missouri or that won't bring much more than Boise in terms of profile, TV attention, fan attendance, etc., or an Oklahoma team that won't come close to matching Boise's record of achievement this year.

2. The old switcheroo? After consultation with the rest of the CBS College Football Blog team, we're still not entirely sure what this provision in the BCS selection process bylaws means exactly (emphasis added):

5. After completion of the selection process as described in Paragraph Nos. 1-4, the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings taking into consideration the following:

  A. whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years;
  B. whether two teams that played against one another in the regular season will be paired against one another in a bowl game;
  C. whether the same two teams will play against each other in a bowl game for two consecutive years; and
  D. whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on ESPN and the bowls.

The pairings may not be altered by removing the Big Ten Champion or Pac-10 champion from the Rose Bowl.

But especially regarding that final caveat as it pertains to the Rose, it sounds like the BCS could play musical chairs with some of its bowl assignments if it means squeezing out from underneath a Virginia Tech-Boise State rematch. If the Sugar decides it doesn't want Boise but could deal with the Hokies, and the Orange wants Boise but doesn't want the rematch, could the bowls swap into, say, an LSU vs. Virginia Tech matchup in the Sugar and a Boise-Ohio State blockbuster in the Orange? Don't hold us to this, but reading the above, it might be a possibility.

3. A Virginia Tech loss in the ACC championship game. It's hard to see the Hokies not making it to Charlotte, but if someone other than Tech wins the conference title (the Orange would no doubt like Florida State, please-and-thank-you), inviting Boise would seem to be a no-brainer.

4. Wisconsin doesn't go to Pasadena. One of the Broncos' biggest rivals for at-large attention is Ohio State, who brings with them a huge fanbase, potentially an 11-1 record, a ton of media attention, etc. If Wisconsin falls out of the scrum at the top of the Big Ten (either by, say, a loss at Michigan or a tiebreak loss to Michigan State), that would open the door for either the Buckeyes or Spartans to go back to Pasadena ... and possibly for the Sugar to take Boise over a Badger team that doesn't pull nearly as much weight as the Buckeyes (though our resident bowl projections expert disagrees, I should note).

5. SEC chaos. It's not likely at all, but it's possible enough carnage goes on in the SEC (Auburn losing to Georgia and Alabama, LSU losing to Arkansas, the SEC East winner springing an upset in the championship game, even Cam Newton becoming suspended would help) that the conference doesn't produce a worthy BCS at-large team. That could open up a hole for Boise somewhere.

Put all of these possibilities together, and you can't guarantee that Boise will make one of the BCS games ... but it seems likely enough that something will happen in their favor that they don't have to lose sleep worrying about Cal. Not yet, anyway.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:44 pm
 

BCS computers should not use margin-of-victory

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

What would you say about a Coaches' Poll voter who looked over the college football landscape after Saturday's action and ranked Auburn , undefeated and owner of more top 25 wins than any team in the country, all the way down at No. 11? What would you say if he voted four different teams with two losses ahead of the Tigers, including a Missouri team coming off of a loss to Texas Tech and an Arizona team that lost at home to 4-4 Oregon State ? What would you say if he kept Alabama all the way up at No. 5, ahead of not only the Auburn team two games ahead of it in the SEC West standings but 12 spots ahead of the 8-1 LSU team that just beat it head-to-head?

What you would say is that this voter had lost his damn mind and deserved to have his voting privileges revoked. You would say he deserved no part in a BCS process where so, so much is riding on every ballot. And you would be right.

Then why do so many college football analysts, fans, and statisticians insist that the six computer rankings that enter into the BCS formula -- each of which carries far, far more weight than any single Coaches' Poll or Harris Poll ballot -- be allowed to use margin-of-victory as part of their calculations? Because the hypothetical ballot above is exactly what the computers would spit out; it's the current "Predictor" rankings as produced by ratings guru Jeff Sagarin , where margin-of-victory is all-important and straight wins and losses irrelevant. Sagarin has stated unequivocally that he would prefer submitting the "Predictor" rating to the BCS-mandated margin-of-victory-ignoring "ELO_Chess," for the reasons laid out here by fellow BCS computer rater Kenneth Massey and baseball statistical godfather Bill James :

“You’re asked to rank teams that don’t play each other, that don’t play long seasons, and you can’t include margin of victory?” said Massey, who provides a “better version” on his Web site, masseyratings.com . “It’s a very challenging problem from a data-analysis standpoint. It does require sacrificing a bit of accuracy. It’s not the best way to do it" ... 

“This isn’t a sincere effort to use math to find the answer at all" [according to James.] It’s clearly an effort to use math as a cover for whatever you want to do. I don’t even know if the people who set up the system are aware of that.

“It’s just nonsense math.”

Maybe the math is nonsense. But shouldn't that be weighed against the fact that to virtually everyone else who follows college football, ranking Alabama ahead of LSU is an act of even greater nonsense?

The problem is that ratings system like  the Sagarin "Predictor" and Massey's preferred system (which also ranks the Tide over the Bayou Bengals) aren't even trying to do the same things the BCS rankings are attempting to do. Their goal is to identify which teams are the "best," the most powerful, the most likely to win a given matchup; as its name implies, what "Predictor" wants to do is forecast the future, and there's no doubt it would do a better job of this than "ELO_Chess."

But certain unfortunate tiebreaks (like TCU 's and Boise State 's current predicament) excepted, BCS berths aren't awarded on the basis of hypothetical future results, or guesses at perceived strengths. They're awarded on the basis of achievement, on wins and losses and conference championships. Including margin-of-victory may make the BCS computer rankings "more accurate" when it comes to selecting which teams are playing the best football, but it would make them less accurate when it comes to answering the question the BCS rankings are trying to answer: which teams are most deserving .

That ought to be cause enough to keep the rankings margin-of-victory-free, even before we start wondering whether we really want the BCS nodding in approval as Boise desperately tries to hit the century mark week-in and week-out on the San Jose State s and Wyoming s of the world. (Not to mention it's already a shame when a player injures himself in a game that's well in hand; what happens when LaMichael James or Justin Blackmon tears an ACL trying to tack on a computer-mandated score at the end of a 60-7 blowout?) No, it's not particularly fair for TCU's annihilation of Utah to go in the BCS computers' books as nothing more than a W. But as the Horned Frogs' jump up the human polls shows, it's simply not true to say the BCS doesn't take the impressiveness of their victory into account at all.

The bottom line is that by including scoring margin (even one capped at, say, three touchdowns) in their computer rankings, the BCS would officially declare every win numerically judged like a figure skating routine, would give the thumbs-up to coaches like Bob Stoops who'd prefer to quit on a potential win over risking an embarrassing loss, would agree with "Predictor" that Alabama beating Duke by 49 points is more important than LSU beating Alabama by 3. The computer rankings could be better, but the way forward isn't to open a Pandora's box that college football would be much the worse for having opened.

Posted on: November 6, 2010 7:41 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2010 8:19 pm
 

LSU eliminates Alabama from BCS chase

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The near-universal consensus was that if any one-loss team could leapfrog TCU and Boise State no matter how many points the non-AQ powers piled up on the weak sisters of the Mountain West and WAC (noting that that description does not apply to their overwhelmed victims this afternoon), it was Alabama , the FBS's most-recognized gold standard, lurking dangerously at one loss with several potential computer-friendly victims ahead.

The problem: the first victim on the list wasn't interested in the Tide's own-destiny-controlled narrative. LSU rebounded from a sluggish, wasteful first half to punish the vaunted Alabama defense in the second half, recording 20 points, a whopping 338 total yards, and an all-important game-clinching 3rd-and-13 conversion to win 24-21 . Take your pick as the bigger surprise: that behind an offensive line that blasted open hole after hole in the 'Bama front seven, the LSU ground game churned out 225 yards on 5 yards a carry; or that much-derided LSU quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee emerged as the players of the game, combining to go an efficient 14-of-20 for 204 yards, a touchdown, and -- most importantly given the hay LSU was making on the ground -- no interceptions. Lee's throw to Rueben Randle on the icing conversion was as clutch as delivery as you'll see this year.

But maybe more surprising than either of those developments is that after two full seasons with the Tide as an undefeated, implacable, omnipresent presence in the thick of the national championship discussion, the Tide will not have a say this year, except as a possible spoiler for their rivals at Auburn . Even the clout of the SEC will not push a two-loss champion into the BCS title game, not with the Horned Frogs and Broncos running rampant (and looking unlikely to do anything different down the home stretch). Both the Tide and Bayou Bengals stay alive for the SEC West championship (though both will need an upset win from Georgia on their trip to Auburn next week, among other results in 'Bama's case), and LSU can continue to harbor longshot BCS hopes, but a Sugar Bowl date is now the best-case scenario for the Tide ... leaving an unmistakable crimson-shaded hole in the national title race.

Les Miles ... your thoughts?



Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Utah A.G. looking for federal help in BCS suit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has been gearing up for an antitrust lawsuit aimed at bringing down the Bowl Championship Series for quite some time now, and this week he made his pitch to what could prove to be a very powerful friend in his fight against the BCS: the U.S. Justice Department. The administration of president Barack Obama --- who of course famously stated that he would support a playoff in college football -- has already been mulling over an investigation into the fairness of the BCS system. If Shurtleff has his way, that mulling over will become action and the BCS could be facing federal antitrust violations.

But as this report from the Salt Lake Tribune helps illustrate, if Shurtleff doesn't get federal help, the lawsuit will likely never get off the ground. Finding the funding to bring such a high-profile suit is proving to be difficult:

 

Shurtleff said Utah couldn’t cover the costs of the litigation on its own, which is why he has repeatedly reached out to attorneys general from other states and sent a detailed legal brief to the Justice Department six months ago.

He believes the Justice Department would be in a better position to push the issues because AGs from around the nation often represent the major universities in their states and it is the college presidents who make up the BCS.

“Potentially the defendants are your own clients,” Shurtleff said.

Further, the climate for pursuing such a case is growing harsher by the day. Shurtleff first began his crusade in the wake of his home-state Utah program getting shut out of title consideration after their undefeated 2008 run, but since then the Utes have become part of the BCS's landed gentry themselves by accepting a Pac-12 invitation; his constituency may not support his cause with the fervor they once did, another reason he may need the support of the Justic Department.

Beyond that, with both Boise State and the winner of Saturday's mega-clash between Utah and TCU highly likely to play in BCS bowls (and reap BCS cash) this season, non-AQ access to the BCS has never been greater. Shurtleff claims of a potential non-AQ team playing in the national game that ...

“There is no scenario whatsoever where it can happen under the current regime,” he said. “It can not happen.”
But this is simply, patently false; a scenario in which Oregon loses or the SEC champion has two losses could do the trick before the year is out.

Should the Ducks win out and either undefeated Auburn or a one-loss Alabama squeeze the unblemished Broncos, Frogs, or Utes out of the title game, Shurtleff will have a point. It will not be fair to continue to reward perfect seasons by established non-AQ powers with seats at the metaphorical kiddie table. But fair or not, neither the political climate nor the climate surrounding college football seems conducive right now to forcing BCS change at the point of a knife.

HT: GTP .

 


Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:13 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:24 am
 

Podcast: Aizer, Darst interview Jerry Palm

BCS expert Jerry Palm had a few minutes to chat with Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to sort out what this week's BCS standings meaning. Palm also discusses the BCS Championship chances for TCU, Utah and Boise State.

One of the hot topics is a one-loss Alabama , which Palm thinks will play for the national title if it can win out.


Listen to the interview here:

 



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com