Tag:BCS
Posted on: October 29, 2010 3:22 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 9

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Doctors have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but these doctors obviously didn't have the Saturday Meal Plan in mind when they came up with that load of poop.  I mean, the morning slate has been pretty light all season, but this week?  Wow, it's barren.  I wouldn't normally ever say this, but if there was ever a Saturday morning to get all those chores around the house done that you've been putting off, this would be it.  Besides, you're going to need some room in your stomach to eat all the candy you decide to keep from the trick or treaters on Sunday.

Still, if you insist on it, here are your options.

Breakfast

Main Course - Cincinnati vs. Syracuse - Noon - ESPNU

See?  I told you.  I wouldn't normally recommend the Big East to anybody, but this really is the most important game on Saturday morning.  Syracuse has been one of the bigger surprises of the season, and if you ever want to check them out without sacrificing better games, than this week is your best chance to do so.

Both the 'Cuse and Cincinnati are still very much alive in the Big East race, and the conference does still get that automatic BCS berth, so I guess that makes this game worth your time. 

Side Orders: I suppose that when Jacory Harris is playing quarterback for Miami there's always a chance that the Hurricanes could be upset, so I guess that's reason enough to tune into Miami and Virginia on Saturday morning.  Or you could go with Illinois and Purdue!   Oh how exciting that will be!  Though, truth be told, Illinois is one of those teams that may be a lot better than is record indicates.  I would have made Kansas State and Oklahoma State the main course, but since it's not being televised nationally, I just couldn't.  Still, if it's on in your area, I suggest finding it.

Lunch

Main Course - #14 Nebraska vs. #7 Missouri - 3:30pm - ABC

Unfortunately, the two biggest games of the day will be played at the same time on Saturday afternoon.  It was tough to choose between the two for the main course, but since the winner of this one is basically a lock to win the Big 12 North, I chose this.

Missouri jumped out last weekend and showed the country that they are, in fact, a legit undefeated team by knocking off Oklahoma, but this game may be even tougher.  It's one thing to defend your home turf, it's another to go into a hostile environment and take down a strong Nebraska team.

Well, unless your Texas, but the Longhorns are stuck in some kind of bizarro dimension this season.

If the Tigers can win in Lincoln, then barring something crazy, they'll continue climbing the BCS rankings and reach the Big 12 title game undefeated with the conference and possibly a shot at the national title on the line.

Side Orders: Of course, if the Big Ten is more your thing, then you can't go wrong with Michigan State and Iowa.   This game is the last true roadblock between the Spartans and an undefeated season, as they don't have to face Ohio State this season.  Also, while the Hawkeyes lost last week, they're still in the hunt for the Big Ten title as well, but a loss in this game would wipe away all hopes.  Or maybe you'd prefer Georgia and Florida.   The game doesn't have the normal hype considering neither team is ranked right now, but whoever wins this game has a good shot to win the SEC East.  The loser is just about done.

Dinner

Main Course - #24 USC vs. #1 Oregon

This is your best option on a Saturday night that is a little light compared to the last few weeks, but anytime you get a chance to watch Oregon play, you should take advantage of it.  This team is just fun, and considering the amount of smack that has gone back and forth between the Ducks and Trojans this week, it's that much better.

If the Ducks annihilate USC on Saturday night, they also have a chance to impress those computers and jump Auburn in the BCS rankings.   Also, since USC isn't allowed to go bowling this season, or win the Pac-10, they don't have much left to play for aside from possibly knocking the Ducks out of the title game.

Side Orders: ABC's other prime-time game this weekend is Ohio State and Minnesota.   Seriously, the only thing I have to say about that game is pray you get Oregon and USC in your area.  If you don't, flip on over to Ole Miss and Auburn because watching Cam Newton run over dudes is always a good time.  There's also Washington and Stanford, or you can check out Penn State and Michigan.   In other words, there's nothing fantastic, but there is plenty of quality on Saturday night.

Late Night Snack


Odds are that it won't be televised in your area, but if it is, take some time out to watch TCU and UNLV.   Believe me when I say that TCU is just as good as Boise State or any of the other undefeated teams in college football these days, they just don't get as much national television exposure.  So, if you can, do yourself a favor and find this one.  It might just change your mind about who should be playing for a national title, and who shouldn't be.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:00 pm
 

ACC doomed to go without at-large bid again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's always one of the first factoids cited whenever the ACC 's lack of strength is a topic of discussion, even ahead of "Wake Forest won the league championship within the past decade": the ACC has never earned an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series . 12 years, 12 whiffs, 12 missed paychecks worth millions of dollars and 12 missed opportunities to grab some kind of foothold of respect within the sport.

The talking points in the immediate wake of N.C. State 's dramatic 28-24 win over Florida State last night were that the Wolfpack had stolen away control of the ACC Atlantic and that Russell Wilson 's sudden return to form means they just might keep it. But what shouldn't be missed is that the loss all but guarantees the ACC will go yet another season without an at-large BCS bid.

That's because the Seminoles were the conference's only halfway viable candidate. Virginia Tech has taken two losses already, one to FCS James Madison in the season's biggest upset to-date. Neither Maryland nor the Wolfpack have the kind of cachet to pull in TV ratings over similar programs from other conferences (not to mention their pair of losses each). Miami was embarrassed in defeats to Ohio State and the 'Noles. Etc.

After their early-season thumping at Oklahoma , you wouldn't have said the Seminoles were a favorite to land a BCS at-large berth, but as long as they kept winning, they would be in the mix. They still have name-brand recognition dating back to the Bobby Bowden glory days. They play an exciting brand of balanced offensive football led by a high-profile star in Christian Ponder . Most importantly, they had just the one loss and the remaining schedule (home against North Carolina and Clemson , at Maryland , home to Florida in what could be a key ACC-SEC triumph) to make the leap into the BCS top 10, even the top 5. If the 'Noles ran the table but lost in the ACC title game to, say, the Hokies, they would have received a long look from bowls like the Sugar and Fiesta .

But a hypothetical three -loss FSU team? With non-AQ bid snatchers like Boise State and TCU around, not to mention the likes of Ohio State, the Auburn-Alabama loser, or a Big 12 team like Nebraska or Oklahoma ? Forget it. This isn't the year, either, and every one that passes with the BCS millions going places other than the ACC makes it that much harder for the conference to break through next year.

It's fair to say the ACC powers-that-be weren't begrudging N.C. State their raucous celebration after the victory last night. But if any Wolfpack fans happened to stumble onto a sour and depressed-looking ACC official in the aftermath, here's to hoping they weren't begrudging that official his bitterness and disappointment, either.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 1:33 pm
 

Nevada, Fresno St. told to grab a Snickers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Why the delicious nougaty candy-related reference to lead off this post? Because Nevada and Fresno State are, as the tagline goes, not going anywhere for a while . Their move into the Mountain West and out of the ever-wobbly WAC has been delayed by a year, until 2012, as part of the resolution of a WAC lawsuit that asked the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs to either wait it out one extra season or fork over a cool $5 million each.

That kind of money doesn't grow on non-AQ trees, so both schools will pay a meager $900,000 (though they'll also forfeit their 2011-2012 league distribtuion check , making the true price tag a bit heftier) and spend another year lining up against the remnants of the WAC. That conference and commisioner Karl Benson came out the clear losers in this latest round of west coast conference expansion, but this is a major win that will give Benson a desperately-needed extra year in which to cobble together a strategy for keeping the 48-year-old conference afloat.

Everyone else involved in the MWC-WAC-BYU expansion brouhaha, though, comes out a loser in the short-term of today's decision. Let's count the ways:

Nevada and Fresno : Not that either program will likely be looking at a BCS berth in 2011, but nonetheless that goal will be all-but-impossible playing in a watered-down, Boise State -less WAC that will rank with the Sun Belt and MAC as the FBS's worst. Maybe more practically, a MWC schedule would be substantially more appealing to ticket-holders than going another round with San Jose State and Idaho . (The proud Pack men's hoops program would have been much more likely to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth out of the MWC, too.)

Boise State : Speaking of the Broncos, the 2011 MWC will likely offer a better strength-of-schedule quotient than the 2011 WAC, thanks to the likes of TCU , Air Force , and a rejuvenated San Digeo State . But without the Pack and the Bulldogs (or, of course, deserters BYU or Utah ), the sad-sack bottom half of the MWC still projects to be so weak that there won't be that much difference. If the Broncos do mount another undefeated charge at the national title game, tilts against known quantities like Nevada and Fresno would have come very much in handy.

The Mountain West: The MWC keeps trying to push the rock that is automatic qualification up the hill that is the BCS , and it keeps rolling downhill. A league with Boise added to the Utah-BYU-TCU axis was a lock, but the Utes and Cougars jumped ship. A league with Nevada and Fresno adding depth to the TCU-Boise axis also stands a good shot given the Big East 's current woes, but now that league won't start play until 2012, by which time it's possible a bigger fish picks off the geographically-distant Horned Frogs. (There's already rumors about TCU being offered a spot in the Big East.)

After today, the league seems more than ever to be merely running to stand still.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 12:22 pm
 

Doug Flutie talks playoff, Boise State and more

Former Heisman trophy winner Doug Flutie joined Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst yesterday to talk about many of the hot topics in college football.

Flutie is promoting the Capital One Cup, which is awarded annually to each of the top men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country, but he had time to discuss the college football season, Boise State, the Heisman and of course, a playoff system.

Flutie thinks a playoff will eventually come, but feels the Rose Bowl is the "thorn in the side" to the playoff talk. He also feels if Boise State is undefeated it deserves a shot in the national title game.

Listen to the interview here:

Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:13 pm
 

Vizio is the new sponsor of the Rose Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Those of you who haven't been able to sleep for the last four months because you were worried that the Rose Bowl wouldn't be able to find a new title sponsor for the game this year can rest easily tonight.  It was announced on Tuesday that Vizio, the company that makes HDTVs and other electronic goodies, will be sponsoring the game through 2014.

Which also means that the 2014 title game, should we the people have not yet raged against the machine and toppled the BCS by then, will be called the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game.  A game which will also mark the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl.

"The Rose Bowl game by itself is an incredible pull," said Randy Waynick, Vizio's chief sales officer. "The fact that it's going to be the BCS game is icing on the cake."

The Rose Bowl had previously been sponsored by Citi, but it decided not to renew the deal following last year's game citing the economy.  It actually works out well for Vizio, because now it'll be having its brand mentioned a million times a day on television during the holiday shopping season.

Still, I must admit that this pairing just doesn't seem natural to me.  The Rose Bowl has always struck me as a Sony type of bowl game.  Vizio should be sponsoring the Music City Bowl or something.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:29 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 5:30 am
 

Midseason Report: Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

We're halfway through the regular season, so it's time for the Midseason Report. Who the real contenders are in the Big Ten is pretty clear. Who'll actually win the conference, however, is a little more muddled. This certainly looked like Ohio State's conference to lose seven days ago -- and it still might be -- but Wisconsin's superlative 31-18 upset of the Buckeyes in Madison muddled the picture somewhat. Here's a list of the contenders for the conference crown thus far.

Michigan State (7-0, 3-0): It's generally lazy analysis to assume that a current front-runner -- especially one without any recent history of success -- will maintain its place atop the conference. And yet, Michigan State has, essentially, a two-game schedule to sew up a trip to Pasadena. After all, of the Big Ten teams with one conference loss or fewer, Michigan State has already beaten one (Wisconsin), won't face another (Ohio State), and gets another at home (Purdue, who, yeah). The only games left are visits to Northwestern and Iowa in the next two weeks. If the Spartans win these, they'll have the tie-breaker over everyone in the conference. Add a loss anywhere, and the prospects get a little dicey -- especially since if it comes down to Michigan State and Ohio State both at 11-1. More on that in a bit.

Iowa (5-1, 2-0): If the Spartans are the new frontrunners to the Big Ten title, then the Hawkeyes are the gatekeepers. Iowa has three home games remaining, and they're against the other three teams on this list: Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Will the Hawkeyes beat all three of these teams? That'll depend on the leadership of Ricky Stanzi, the senior quarterback who's playing at a level few would have expected after last season. The Hawkeyes' defense, anchored by Adrian Clayborn and the rest of the line, is still their strong spot. But if Stanzi malfunctions like he did on occasion in 2008 and '09, the Hawkeyes could take a very damaging loss and (probably) watch their Big Ten title hopes evaporate.

Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1): Which Wisconsin team will show up in Iowa City on Saturday? The high-octane world-beaters that ran Ohio State out of the stadium last weekend? Or the semi-suspect squad that looked sluggish against plainly inferior non-conference competition and got outgained by 150 yards in a 10-point loss to the Spartans? Granted, 2009 Iowa demonstrated the folly of reading too much into low margins of victory against putative cupcakes, but Iowa won the majority of their games against upper-level Big Ten competition, and Wisconsin hasn't reached that plateau quite yet. A win in Iowa City changes that outlook substantially. Still, when the Badger rush offense is struggling, QB Scott Tolzien's track record isn't promising. It's probably wise to expect one more loss from the Badgers before the season's said and done. 

Ohio State (6-1, 2-1): Ever thought you'd see the day when a 6-1 Ohio State had arguably the fourth-best chance to win the Big Ten crown? Here we are, though; for as good as Michigan State's prospects look, the Buckeyes' seem to be on the other end of the spectrum. Of the contenders, they've already lost to one (Wisconsin), they play another on the road (Iowa), and the last they miss entirely (Michigan State), which means OSU can't take matters into their own hands and put a loss in the Spartans' column. Essentially, to win the conference, Ohio State needs every other team to lose at least once -- and the Buckeyes only play Iowa in the second half of the season. That's a lot of help needed. The Buckeyes have the talent to keep up their own end of the bargain, of course; that defense is still stellar across all 11 positions, and OSU's offensive line will keep their offense humming. But for all his otherworldly physical talent, Terrelle Pryor still isn't taking over games at the level that, let's say, Cam Newton is. Further, this is Pryor's third year in Tressel's offense. It's Newton's first with Auburn OC Gus Malzahn. Either this trend gets corrected, or Pryor's collegiate career becomes a relative disappointment; it's not as if OSU's a seven-win team without Pryor at the helm, is it? 

Any of these four teams could go to the Rose Bowl without any surprises; Wisconsin's an underdog at Iowa, but not prohibitively so. Yes, technically, Northwestern and Purdue are in the mix for now too, but they're definitely longshots next to these four teams. My prediction is that Iowa effectively eliminates the Badgers from the discussion by beating them this weekend, while MSU handles Northwestern. Iowa then hands Michigan State their first conference loss in Iowa City, all while Ohio State keeps winning. Then, Ohio State knocks off the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. All three teams win out otherwise, and there's a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings at 7-1. Tiebreaker time!

Iowa will be the first team to be eliminated from consideration, as the Hawkeyes will be 10-2 while OSU and Michigan State are 11-1. Now, a few years ago, the Big Ten had a Rose Bowl tiebreaker after head-to-head competition and overall record that gave the bid to the team that hadn't been to Pasadena in the longest amount of time. This would obviously be Michigan State. But! That tiebreaker was ditched a few years ago and replaced with a Big XII-style stipulation that the highest BCS ranking is awarded the bid. So here we go again. Ohio State, having been ranked ahead of Michigan State when both were undefeated and having an earlier loss than the Spartans, is likely ranked higher at the end of the regular season and sent to Pasadena. Spartan faithful cry foul, but they're rewarded with an Orange Bowl bid in consolation. Iowa represents the conference in the Capital One Bowl, and Wisconsin goes to the Outback for the third time in the last seven years.

Of course, watch Northwestern beat Michigan State this Saturday and render this entire prediction worthless.

Posted on: October 18, 2010 11:50 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 11:57 am
 

BCS computer rankings still a mystery

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The BCS rankings , you may have noticed, are kind of a big deal: the ultimate arbiter of a year's worth of college football effort and competition, the chosen method of awarding certain bowl berths worth millions upon millions of dollars and (arguably) even greater levels of prestige and publicity, the eye at the center of the entire national championship hurricane.

So you'd think there would be some safeguards in place to make sure that the computer ratings that make up a full third of the BCS formula were being calculated, you know, the way they're supposed to be calculated. But as Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reports , not only do the BCS powers-that-be fail to double-check the work being done by their anointed computer gurus, they don't have the ratings formulas and couldn't even double-check if they wanted to :

[The formulas] are proprietary information that five of the six analysts protect with BCS approval.

Someone should have those formulas on file to verify. Someone should be checking the computer calculations in case of honest mistakes or temptations to fudge data.

"It's a valid concern," [computer rater Wes] Colley said.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said the analysts are "consummate professionals" -- no one says they're not -- and the rankings are self-audited and checked by peers "with a fine-tooth comb."

But how is that possible if they don't have each other's formulas?

"When I said check each other, what I know is they check each other to make sure data is entered correctly -- who won the game, where the game is played," Hancock said.

As Solomon points out, that wasn't enough to keep Colley from making a mistake entering his data earlier this season, a mistake that was only caught because Colley makes his formula public and available to be reproduced elsewhere. If it had happened in the computations of one of the other five, no one would have noticed a thing.

No doubt it's highly unlikely that any glitches make their way any given set of ratings, much less into the final, all-important set of rankings at the end of the season ... but when the stakes are this high, how is it possible that no one is even bothering to make certain? Putting aside the fact that a calculation error might actually improve Richard "not a mathematician" Billingsley's notoriously flawed ratings , it's flatly outrageous that it remains within the realm of possibility for one misstep inside one of the gurus' computers to cost a team a shot at a national title.

The BCS already has such a conspiracy-addled image problem that it ought to require all six of the ratings formulas to either become public or get the boot; it's not like a dozen different college football bloggers don't already have systems superior to dreck like Billingsley's up and running, if replacements were needed. But even failing that, they must demand that the formulas be turned over to an oversight committee and the math double-checked by a third party. There's far, far too much on the line to tie a blindfold around the BCS's eyes and simply take the gurus at their word.


Posted on: October 17, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 11:31 pm
 

Can Oregon make the BCS Championship Game?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Certainly, one of the teams that got the best news tonight is Oregon, ranked second in the initial BCS rankings. While there's only so much that can be read into these rankings with six games of play remaining, of course, the fact remains that as of right now Oregon is projected to go to Glendale to play for the BCS Championship.

So, those six games. There's no such thing as an automatic win in college football these days, but the Ducks should be heavily favored in the majority of these contests.

October 21, vs. UCLA: UCLA is of the most schizophrenic teams in the country, blowing out Houston and Texas but getting crushed by Stanford and a truly mediocre California. Still, even with the Bruins playing at their best, it's hard to imagine they can put up enough points to keep pace with the Oregon offense.

October 30, at USC: If there's any team left on Oregon's schedule that has the sheer talent to run with the Ducks for 60 minutes, it's likely USC. Lane Kiffin's team, led by emerging star Matt Barkley, is young and lacking in depth, but still explosively athletic. If Oregon's really a championship team, it'll handle the Trojans.

November 6 vs. Washington: Anyone think Jake Locker can lead the Huskies to eight touchdowns against Oregon's defense? Because the Ducks are probably putting up at least a 50-spot on the Washington defense.  

November 13 at California: It's a road game, which means the Ducks have no business looking past the Bears. They probably won't, and on paper, they'll probably win by about five or six touchdowns here. But you never know -- there's no such thing as a safe road game anymore. We'll see if the game on paper resembles the game on the field.

November 26 vs. Arizona: Here's another potential roadblock for the Ducks; Arizona quarterback (and the Pac-10's leading passer up until his knee injury) Nick Foles should be healthy by the time this game rolls around, and Arizona is one of the few teams that has an offense that might keep pace with the Ducks. Might. 

December 4, at Oregon State: Oregon State QB Ryan Katz is developing as a passer game by game, but the Beavers surely miss wideout James Rodgers, lost for the year with an awful knee injury. But that Oregon State defense doesn't have the horses or the discipline to keep Oregon down, so even though this is a rivalry game and anything can happen -- especially with a BCS championship at stake -- this is a probable win.

So yes, Oregon's road to an unbeaten record is relatively safe. Now, there's another question of whether Oregon can stave off Oklahoma and Auburn if they both go unbeaten, too. But that's a question the BCS will be tasked with answering, isn't it?

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