Tag:Alabama
Posted on: December 4, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:22 pm
 

LSU-Alabama, the sequel

Sources tell me tonight that it's official: LSU and Alabama will meet again in New Orleans in the BCS title game.  It still remains to be seen whether or not TCU automatically qualifies for a BCS berth (I'm not optimistic).

That would put Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, against Stanford (an automatic qualifier).

The Orange will have Clemson facing West Virginia.

The Sugar will feature Michigan against Virginia Tech.

Other bowl matchups are starting to leak out as well.  Keep checking our bowl page for the latest.



Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 12:43 pm
 

What will it take?

UPDATE: The coaches poll point totals at the top have been revealed.  Oklahoma State pulled to within 32 points of Alabama.  As you can probably deduce if you read the bit below, that's not good news for the Cowboys.

OSU will now need to pass Alabama in the Harris poll and lead by at least five points to finish No. 2 overall in the BCS.  That seems unlikley, with the way poll voters tend to group-think, but you never know with those wacky Harris folks. 

Also, even though it doesn't count, the AP poll has Alabama No. 2 as well, although by a closer margin than the coaches have.

TCU did get a little help in that the Frogs are ahead of Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma, but Clemson jumped them, so that hurts.  We haven't seen those point totals yet.  I will update the BCS ratings projections chart when we see the full poll.

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The media (in general, not everyone) seems to be throwing its weight behind the notion of moving Oklahoma State up to No. 2 and giving the Cowboys a shot at LSU instead of having a rematch Alabama.  This comes after they have spent the last two weeks making it very clear that the only worthy opponent for LSU was, in fact, the Tide.

I don't have a vote, but I can tell you what the people who do will have to do to make that happen.

Oklahoma State trailed Alabama by 342 points in the Harris poll and 166 in the coaches' poll.  With the current computer projections, the Cowboys would have to be the mathematical equivalent of 28 points behind in Harris and 15 back in the coaches' poll.  A little of that ground gets made up with the natural fall of Virginia Tech in the polls, but that's still an enormous gap to make up.  Voters would simply have to decide they don't want a rematch and move OSU up, not only past Alabama on some ballots, but Stanford also, which started the week ahead of the Cowboys in both polls.  We'll have a much better idea when the coaches' poll is released in a few hours.

For some perspective, the only other time something like this happened was in 2006, when the voters moved up Florida past Michigan to avoid a rematch after the Gators won the SEC title on the final day of the season.  That year, Florida entered that last week trailing the Wolverines by only 86 points in the Harris poll and just 40 in the coaches' poll.

TCU has to get to 16 to earn an automatic spot in the BCS.  Again, I don't like the way the numbers are shaking out for TCU.  It doesn't look like the Frogs will make up much ground at all in the computers.  Going into this week, TCU was No. 17 in each poll, right behind Michigan, but the gap in the point totals was huge -- more than double the number of voters in each poll.  That's like being two spots in the rankings behind instead of one.  It also means that the teams that lost ahead of them in the polls --  Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Houston -- may slot into that gap between them and the Wolverines. 

TCU will probably need at least three of those teams to fall behind them in both polls to have a decent chance to get to 16th overall.  The Frogs also have to watch their backs and hope Baylor and Clemson don't leap(horned)frog them.  Michigan State (close loss) and Houston (high ranking to begin with and better record) have the best chance of staying ahead of TCU.


Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Late night projections

BCS and bowl projections are up for this evening.  Before the official release, we will see the coaches' poll , which will help clarify things further, but I believe the Harris poll isn't released before the final rankings come out.

I am still projecting LSU-Alabama for the title game, but Oklahoma State had a good night.  The biggest thing that happened was Virginia Tech losing, which gives the Cowboys one less team between themselves and the Tide.  OSU will also get a little computer boost from its win over Oklahoma and will most likely finish ahead of Alabama in that component.

After that, it's up to the voters.  They may be impressed by 44-10, but it is a lot to ask (and predict) that voters will suddenly move the Cowboys up high enough to take advantage of their computer ranking. Such a move would be unprecedented and quite atypical of voter behavior.

In 2006, when voters changed their mind and elevated Florida over Michigan, the Gators deficit was quite a bit less than the number of voters in each poll.  Oklahoma St started this week a whopping 342 points behind Alabama in the Harris poll and 166 back in the coaches' poll, which is nearly three times the number of voters in each poll.  The Hokies' loss will help some, but it will take a significant voter epiphany to put Oklahoma State close enough to Alabama to overtake them.

It looks like Michigan got the help it needed to qualify for the at-large pool.  I don't think it looks good for TCU though.  The voters will really have to come to the Frogs' rescue, and that doesn't seem likely.

So, with that in mind, I now have Kansas State in the BCS instead of TCU. 




Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 8:59 pm
 

LSU is No. 1. Bama, WVU in BCS also

LSU's 42-10 victory over Georgia for the SEC title puts the Tigers in the BCS title game as the No. 1 team.

Alabama also clinched a BCS berth because there is no realistic scenario that would put the Tide any worse than third.  Obviously, at No. 2, they will play LSU for the championship, but even at No. 3, the Tide would automatically qualify (See Rule 6).

The loss by Georgia also helps both Michigan and TCU, as each looks to move up two spots in the rankings and qualify for BCS games (likely against each other).

West Virginia is also expected tp make the BCS after Cincinnati beat Connecticut 35-26, creating a three-way tie for the Big East championship.  The tie is broken by BCS standings, and West Virginia is projected to be the highest rated team.


Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:31 pm
 

BCS: What's left to be decided?

Technically, every BCS bid is still up for grabs as we enter the final weekend.  All six AQ conference championships will be determined, and of course, the four at-large spots.  Three teams could automatically qualify this weekend, two of them without even stepping on the field.

Starting at the top:

SEC -- LSU vs Georgia.  If LSU wins, we will get an LSU (AQ)-Alabama (automatic at-large) rematch in the BCS title game.  If Georgia wins, it will go to the Sugar Bowl unless voters move them WAY up to No. 1 or 2.  LSU and Alabama could still be 1-2, which would make them automatic at-larges and give the SEC three teams.  However, if either drops out of the top two, it will not be in a BCS game at all.

ACC -- Virginia Tech vs Clemson.  The Tigers won the first meeting 23-3 in Blacksburg, but it's the Hokies who are on a roll right now, while Clemson is just rolling over.

Big 12 -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.  Bedlam.  The Cowboys haven't beaten the Sooners since 2002.  A convincing win by OSU may not be convincing enough to convince voters to move them up past Alabama.  Not to mention Virginia Tech and Stanford, which are between the Cowboys and the Tide in the polls.

Pac-12 -- Oregon vs UCLA.  UCLA gets to go to bowl even if it loses to fall to 6-7.  That's a shame for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which would likely get the Bruins, and for some deserving, eligible team that stays home.

Big Ten -- Wisconsin vs Michigan State.  Sparty won the first meeting on a Hail Mary pass.  Wisconsin lost twice on that play.  The Badgers are about 30 second from playing for a shot at LSU this weekend.

Big East -- Connecticut at Cincinnati.  If the Bearcats lose, 7-5 Louisville wins the league and the Big East sends an unranked team to the BCS for the second consecutive year.  Otherwise...

Big East -- West Virginia at South Florida.  This game is on Thursday, so Cincinnati will know if its win matters for them or not.  If West Virginia wins, the Mountaineers will go to the BCS.  If West Virginia loses, then the Bearcats are BCS-bound.

At-larges:

Alabama -- If in the top two, the Tide automatically qualifies.
Stanford -- The Cardinal are currently fourth.  If they hold that spot (or move up), they too, would automatically qualify for an at-large spot.
Houston -- The Cougars will be in also if they win the C-USA title.  A loss would open the door for...
TCU -- The Frogs need a Houston loss and to crawl up two spots to get to the top 16.

Other teams that could be in the at-large pool to be selected include (depending on other results) Kansas State, Michigan, Boise State and Baylor.

Arkansas and South Carolina figure to be in the top 14, but because of the two-team limit, won't be able to be chosen.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:19 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 4:57 pm
 

BCS projections, Nov. 19, little movement

There shouldn't be very much movement in this week's BCS standings

Arkansas fell to tenth in the coaches' poll and ninth in the Harris poll.  The Hogs will still be pretty high overall this week, but outside the top five.

Alabama's lead over No. 3 Virginia Tech is 120 points - or more than two points per voter.  That means the Hokies are more like the fourth-rated team than the third-rated team.  Stanford is only two points behind Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma St is another 44 points back of that.  It's hard to imagine voters voting one of those three teams up suddenly next week.

The bowl projections have been updated.  Michigan is still slotted in the Sugar Bowl, although the Wolverines will need to get into the top 14 to qualify.  They project 16th this week.  The projections assume losses by Georgia and Oklahoma, and they should also pass whichever team loses the Big Ten title game.

One thing that baffles me is the notion that we will have an LSU-Alabama rematch for the BCS title no matter what happens next week.  That's silly.  There is no justification for rematching those teams if Georgia wins the SEC.  If there is going to be a rematch at that point, it should be Georgia-LSU, not Alabama-LSU.  Alabama would have won nothing.  Not the division, not the league, nothing.  I realize that is true even if LSU wins the SEC, but it's a lot easier to make the case that the Tide is the second best team in the league (and country) if only one team was more successful than them in conference play.




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:32 am
 

What if....?

The only sure thing in the BCS title chase entering the second-to-last weekend of the season is chaos.  Well, and that LSU will play for the title if it finishes 13-0.

But, what if....

...Alabama beats Auburn?  Barring other upsets, Alabama is likely to play for the title too, but it's not a sure thing.  Voters could get to December 4th and decide they don't want a rematch and/or do want to reward a conference champion.  Is that likely?  It wouldn't seem so, and the only team I could imagine voters going for otherwise would be current human poll No. 6 Oklahoma State.  It's going to be tough for the Cowboys to catch Alabama with Virginia Tech and Stanford ahead of them in the polls though.

...Arkansas beats LSU?  Well, assuming Alabama beats Auburn also, the SEC West falls into a three-way tiebreaker, which in this case, would be decided by BCS standings and head-to-head.  The lowest-rated team of the three in this coming Sunday's rankings would be eliminated, and then head-to-head between the other two would decide it.

So, traditional voting patterns would indicate LSU would drop to third (he who loses last, loses worst).  That would give Alabama the division crown.  You could also make a case for ordering them Arkansas, LSU, Alabama (they beat each other, of course, but Bama's win came at home, while the others won on the road).  That would give Arkansas the West title.  I can't imagine Arkansas winning and still being third, but if that happened, LSU is still the West champion.

In any event, whichever team won would play for the BCS title as a 12-1 SEC champion.  That team's opponent is more uncertain, but it could be one of its divison foes, or again, Oklahoma State.

...Georgia wins the SEC?  I don't think it's a difficult concept to accept that the top two teams in the country could be in the same conference.  But, if that is truly the case, don't you think one of them could manage to win the league?

If the Bulldogs pull it off, expect them to shoot way up the rankings.  They might end up even being the top rated SEC team in the human polls (assuming they beat Georgia Tech this week).  In 2001, two-loss, Big 12 champion Colorado finished ahead of one-loss Nebraska in the polls, but NU ended up in the BCS title game anyway because the polls were only 25% of the formula back then.
In any event, this is the best case scenario for an Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech (if the voters still love them) to get into the title game.  I doubt very seriously that we would have two non-champion SEC teams playing for the BCS title.  However, if that does happen, Georgia still would get to go the Sugar Bowl as the SEC titlist.  That situation is the one exception to the two-team-per-conference limit.

Posted on: November 20, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:41 pm
 

S-E-C! S-E-C!

The carnage of this weekend will create an unprecedented circumstance in this week's ratings.  The top three teams will all be from one league.  The SEC West trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas will rest atop this week's rankings.

After that?  This week's projection much less predicitable.  The coaches still like Oklahoma St to some degree, and only dropped the Cowboys to sixth.  If the Harris folks vote along similar lines (and the projection is changed to reflect that), OSU should still be fourth overall, and viable as a national title contender.

The coaches were also generous with Oregon (ninth - top rated among two-loss teams) and Oklahoma (11th, behind the Ducks and Michigan State).

In the bowl projections, voters may consider Oklahoma State a viable option if the Cowboys beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12.  However, at the moment, they trail both Virginia Tech and Stanford in the polls.  I don't think it's likely OSU would catch Alabama if they have to jump both of those teams without them losing.  Therefore, a rematch between LSU and Alabama is the current projection.

I do have the Cowboys now winning that game and getting to the Fiesta Bowl.

The Sugar would be without an SEC team, so I have them plucking Michigan as an at-large to play Houston.  Stanford would automatically qualify as an at-large team for the second year in a row and end up in the Fiesta.

This afternoon, the University of Miami announced a self-imposed bowl ban in response to the NCAA investigation of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.  The bowl projections will be changed to reflect that decision.

Also, many are asking about Penn State falling out of the Big Ten bowls entirely.  Unfortunately, right now, the Nittany Lions are toxic to the bowls.  Maybe they will soften on PSU over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe one of the lower tier Big Ten bowls will take a flyer on them with the thought that they might never get another shot at Penn State.

Big Ten bowl rules stipulate that the Rose must take the champion and that the championship game loser cannot fall below the Gator in the selection order.  My projection does not have Penn State winning the division, so there would be no restriction preventing the Nits from falling all the way out, even with nine wins.

 
 
 
 
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