Tag:Conference USA
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:23 am
 

Mountain West/Big East behind the numbers

The Mountain West has applied for an exemption that would allow it to become an AQ conference for the next two seasons.  They base that in part on their performance over the last four years, and in part because of an exemption granted to the Big East in the past.  So let's look at the numbers.

The league is measure in three categories: highest rated team, average computer ranking of all teams, and a score based on teams in the top 25.  It is measured over a four year period, based on this year's membership.  Therefore, Utah and BYU do not count, but TCU and Boise State do, even though Boise was in the WAC the last three years.

The reason the MWC didn't qualify for AQ status outright and has to apply for an exemption is that the league is good at the top, but has no depth.  The league does well in the two categories that measure top of the league performance.  It is fifth in the highest rated team category, and has a score of 60.2% in the top 25 category (only 33% was required to apply for exemption).

In the category that measures all teams, the league is a distant seventh, with an average computer ranking of 61.3.  The Big East is sixth at 50.2.

The problem is, the top two MWC teams in the rankings the last four years have been TCU and Boise State.  Without them, the numbers aren't nearly as good, and both teams are leaving.  TCU is already gone.  The Broncos have just one more year.  San Diego State is also leaving at the same time as Boise State.  Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii will join.

Without TCU and Boise State, the MWC would be the ninth rated league in the highest rated team category, an even more distant seventh in the average computer category (67.1) and would score only 6.9% in the top 25 category.  Among the new lineup, only Nevada (15th) and Hawaii (24th) finished in the top 25 of any season in the last four years, both in 2010.

Those are numbers the presidents can't ignore, and the reason why the league won't get its exemption.

The Mountain West document states that the Big East was granted an exemption after the 2007 season to retain its AQ status.  While I don't doubt that, I have been told repeated by Bill Hancock that there is no provision for removing AQ status from a league, which is why the Big East's status isn't in doubt for the next two years, so I am confused as to why such an exemption would have been necessary in 2008.  In any event, the only category the Big East fell short in was the top 25 percentage, where it scored 49.11%, just below the 50% requirement.  The MWC, even with it's current membership, cannot say is just barely missed in the category in which it failed to meet the standard.

The new Bigger East, which along with the Mountain West schools, has added Houston, SMU and UCF from Conference USA, is doing ok for the first two years of the cycle that the new members will count for, which is the 2010-13 seasons.  The league is fifth so far in the high ranking category and a very comfortable sixth in the average computer rankings.  They only score 29% in the top 25 category, but only three leagues, the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 are doing better than 50% so far.

Of course, if this turns out to be true, all this will be moot.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Mountain West 16-team playoff close, but no cigar

The Mountain West conference proposed a 16-team playoff to the other conference commissioners last September, which will most likely get discussed this April, when the BCS has its annual meeting.

Personally, I like the idea of going straight to a proper 16-team playoff if the poobahs in charge ever decide to get rid of the BCS.  If you're going to bit the bullet and create a playoff, you might as well get it right from the start.  Four- and 8-team models aren't inclusive enough to get full buy in.

The nice thing about MWC commissioner Craig Thompson's plan is that it is big enough to include all 11 conference champions.  Wait -- ten conference champions after his league merges with Conference USA.  However, his plan then makes the mistake of failing to include all of the conference champions.  Instead, his plan requires conference champions to be in the top 30 of some committee vote.  This committee is the selection committee.  Its 1-30 ranking would be used to select and seed the tournament.

That's too much work, plus it's politically expedient to include all the conference champs.  The basketball committee model is much better.  Just give the committee the ten conference winners, let them select the six at-large teams and seed the bracket.  Easy peasy.

His proposal also has a limit of a maximum of three teams per conference, which is probably unnecessary.  The odds of one league having three of the best six at-large teams are pretty small.

Another place his plan fails is trying to mix bowls and playoffs.  Bowls aren't playoffs and not meant to be part of them.  Bowls are week-long, chamber of commerce fueled events.  They're vacations.  Playoffs are business trips.  Thompson wants the four BCS bowls to host quarterfinals.  That is after the first round is played at campus sites, and before the semifinals are played at campus sites.  There is no need for a neutral site round in the middle of the tournament.  Just do it like every other level of football and play the whole thing at campus sites until the final.

The powers that be aren't ready for something like this yet anyway, and may not be for some time.  However, if they ever do go to a 16-team playoff, include everyone, skip the bowls, and just play it.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: January 1, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Undefeated, but are they worthy?

by Jerry Palm

There are still seven undefeated teams in division I-A as we enter 2011, but two of them are considered longshots by most to even make the NCAA tournament.

UCF is intriguing.  They are actually in the top 20 of the RPI and even ahead of Ohio State, but as they enter Conference USA play, that number has likely peaked.  The Knights played an average non-conference schedule that has one sure quality win -- over Florida.  They also beat Miami and South Florida.

Many people dismiss them because they figure that Memphis is still the overwhelming team to beat in the league, but I think they have set themselves up for a possbile at-large bid if they can perform well in the league.

Cincinnati, which is 14-0 and has two Big East wins already, is way down at 69th in the RPI this morning.  That's a stunning number.  I've been tracking RPI since 1993-94 and could not find a 14-0 team that far down.  The last undefeated team on New Year's Day that far down in the rankings was Texas A&M in 2006 (95th at 10-0).

You have to play a pretty wretched schedule to be 69th at 14-0.  The Bearcats played the 10th worst non-conference schedule, and they played most of those games at home.  So far, they have played only one RPI top 100 team (No. 62 Dayton) and just six that rank better than 250th.

When you play a schedule like that, you are basically saying that you intend to make your case for the tournament in conference.  That means not just muddling through, but doing very well.  Cincinnati probably needs at least 12 wins, and even that may not do it for them.  They cannot afford to be anywhere near the bottom of the at-large pool with a non-conference schedule that bad.


 
 
 
 
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