Tag:Cincinnati
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 18, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:16 pm
 

BCS proposals, games of the week

Before I get to the few games that matter this week, there have been some rumored changes being considered for the BCS, each of which have the affect of removing AQ status from league champions and others.  The first proprosal simply does away with AQ status, and the top 10 teams in the BCS ratings play in the BCS games.  The more recent proposal says that the BCS would only manage a 1 vs 2 game and leave the other bowls to their own devices.

I can't imagine anyone liking the first proposal except the SEC, which is probably arrogant enough to think it will always have a top ten team (ok, it always has had a top ten team, so maybe that's not arrogance). 

That second proposal, you may notice, is a step away from a playoff, not toward one.  It's essentially the way things used to be, except for the addition of a 1 vs 2 game.  The Big Ten (who reportedly proposed it) and SEC would be the only leagues in favor of this because it would remove the restriction on how many teams from one conference could go to a big bowl game.  We do know how many would go from the non-major conferences: zero.  Heck, throw the ACC and Big East in there too.

So, I think it's safe to say neither proposal seems very likely to pass.

On to this week's games.  It's a relatively quiet week, especially for mid-November.

USC at Oregon -- The Ducks need to avoid a letdown after the big win over Stanford, but this program has been on the big stage before and should be able to do that.  The Trojans' speed may make this a tougher matchup that Stanford was for the Ducks.

Oklahoma at Baylor -- Before the Bedlam, there is still the matter of containing RG3.

Nebraska at Michigan -- A spot in the Fiesta Bowl could be at stake for the winner.

Penn State at Ohio State -- The Nits lead in the Big Ten's Leaders division is now tenuous at best.

Cincinnati at Rutgers -- The Bearcats were in firm control of the Big East until last week's loss to West Virginia, which also cost them the services of QB Zach Collaros.  They still have a one-game lead, but five teams are on their heels, including the Scarlet Knights.


Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:26 am
 

BCS selection process: Michigan vs Oklahoma St

Most of the comments on this week's bowl picks, besides questioning merely having Michigan in the BCS (one more loss and all this is moot), question why the Wolverines get in ahead of Oklahoma State, which would unquestionably be the higher ranked team.  To understand that, you have to understand the BCS bowl selection process.

You also have to understand what bowls are looking for when creating their matchups.  They want the best possible game they can get, and bowls measure that primarily in terms of ticket sales and TV viewers.  Things like rankings, records and conference standings are secondary considerations at best.  That's why there are so many bowl selection rules, like the one that automatically qualifies the highest-rated non-AQ team for the BCS, or the ACC rule that protects a team from being skipped over by a bowl for another team that won more than one fewer conference games.  If bowls could be trusted to go in conference standing/ranking order, those rules wouldn't be necessary.

The BCS has ten spots.  Six are reserved for the AQ conference champions.  In my projection, those are:

Clemson (ACC), Cincinnati (Big East), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Oklahoma (Big 12), Stanford (Pac-12), LSU (SEC).

There are also four at-large spots, but two teams automatically qualify for those in my projection:

Alabama, as the highest-rated AQ non-champion, ranked in the top four.
Boise State, as the highest-rated non-AQ conference champion, ranked in the top 12.

That only leaves two spots open.  The rest of my at-large pool contains:

Arkansas, Georgia, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Virginia Tech.

Note that with LSU and Alabama automatically qualified for the BCS and a two-team limit per conference, Arkansas and Georgia cannot be chosen.

The first thing that happens is that the top two teams go into the title game, and the other contracted conference champions get put in their bowls.  So, we start with:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs ?
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: ? vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

The next step is that the bowls that lost conference champions to the title game get to choose replacement.  They always choose teams from their conference tie-in if one is available.  The Sugar chooses first because it lost the No. 1 team, and takes Alabama.  The Rose picks Oregon to replace Stanford.  Now, we have:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs Oregon
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: Alabama vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

Boise State and Cincinnati still have to go somewhere, so only one at-large spot is open.

The Fiesta gets the first choice of selections for its game in this year's rotation, followed by the Sugar and Orange.  The Fiesta can chose from Boise State, Cincinnati, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.

Michigan blows all of those other teams out of the water in terms of fan base and marquee value.  Not even close.  Also, Michigan's fan base would not be jaded by a recent run of success, as sometimes happens with other schools. 

However, two other choices would be much higher ranked:

Oklahoma State isn't a good choice because conference mate Oklahoma is already there.
Boise State would be OK, but the Fiesta has had the Broncos both times it has been in the BCS (including one memorable meeting with the Sooners), and would probably prefer to leave them for someone else.

So, while the Fiesta might go with Boise, but I think the allure of Michigan will be too good to pass up.

The Sugar gets the next pick, and with only Boise or Cincinnati to choose from, the Broncos are an easy choice.  The Bearcats end up in the Orange, and Oklahoma State and its 11-1 record drop out.

Them's the breaks.  Note that if either of the other bowls had first choice instead of the Fiesta, Oklahoma State would almost certainly be that choice.  Also, if the Fiesta did decide to choose Boise, OSU would almost certainly end up in the Sugar.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 9:13 pm
 

BCS thoughts, Nov. 5

This week's ratings are out, and Alabama did in fact sneak ahead of Stanford for No. 3, but if both keep winning, that will eventually change.  Stanford has a significant advantage in the polls, and will eventually get close enough to the Tide in the computers to move ahead overall.

As I said earlier though, this week's ratings don't necessarily have any bearing on what might happen a month from now if Oklahoma State and Stanford pick up a loss somewhere along the way.

Right now, voters are not voting for Alabama or Boise State or anyone but Oklahoma State and Stanford for No. 2.  They are not lining up teams for what might happen later on.  Voters not only have no short-term memory, they have no long-term vision.  If it gets to the point where they have to make a decision among the teams piled up behind OSU and Stanford in the polls, then they'll consider that at the time, and votes could change.

Other things could have an impact then.  What if Georgia wins out to the SEC title game and gives LSU a fight?  Voters will be reminded that Boise spanked the Bulldogs in week one, and maybe that inspires them to give the Broncos a shot at the big prize.  Maybe Oklahoma ends up winning the Big 12, and the voters, which have always shown a bias for conference champions (in the BCS era, the voters have never put a team in the top two of the final regular season poll that did not win its conference), will move the Sooners to the top of the list.  Undefeated Boise State would be a conference champion as well.

Or maybe they'll go against what they have done before and create an LSU-Alabama (or LSU-Oregon?) rematch.

For now, the Cowboys are in the driver's seat for a matchup with LSU in the title game.  Stanford, despite this week's ratings, needs just one of those two to lose.  After that, we'll see.

Houston is up to No. 11 and would automatically qualify if the Cougars finish undefeated and someone beats Boise State.

Cincinnati is the highest-rated Big East team at No. 23.  You get the feeling the Bearcats could win out and not crack the top 15.

It's a good thing for the Big Ten that there is still a month left.  As it stands right now, Penn State is the only team ranked high enough to be in the BCS at-large pool.  It would help if a couple of teams would step up and win out (I still have faith in Michigan, so you all can keep calling me crazy for at least another week).  The Big Ten has put an at-large team in the BCS every year since 2004.

Posted on: March 5, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: March 5, 2011 10:12 am
 

Last Big Weekend

by Jerry Palm

This is the last weekend of the regular season in which just about everybody is in action.  At least four conferences will decide their automatic qualifiers, and a lot of bubble teams will be trying to help their cause.

The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley all play their conference tournament championship games today, and the Missour Valley finishes up tomorrow.  The Ivy League could also be decided today when Princeton goes to Harvard.   If the Tigers win, they are the league champions, but if not, they must beat Penn next week to force a one-game playoff with the Crimson to be played next weekend.

This is also a very bubblicious weekend.  Is "bubblicious" a word?

In the ACC, Virginia Tech is at Clemson.   The Hokies are trying to bounce back from the loss at home to Boston College.   The Tigers have done most of their damage at home, so it's important for them to continue to defend the home floor.  ACC tournament seeding is at stake as well.  The winner earns the 4-seed and gets a bye.

Texas has another opportunity to help play a middle of the road Big 12 team into the field when it goes to Baylor today.  Among the trio trying to squeeze in (Baylor, Colorado, Nebraska), the Bears have the best road win (at Texas A&M) and the least embarassing non-conference schedule, although that isn't saying much.  Colorado and Nebraska play each other today in Boulder.

Marquette picked up arguably its worst loss of the season the other day at home against Cincinnati.   Now they travel to Seton Hall for a very important game for their tournament hopes.  If they lose again, they are 18-13 entering the Big East tournament and on a two-game skid.

There is a huge bubble game in the Big Ten as well.  Michigan State travels to Michigan trying to avenge its home loss to the Wolverines a month ago.  The winner isn't guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the loser is in a world of hurt.

Colorado State can go a long way to securing a spot by winning at new league favorite San Diego State.   The Rams have a win at UNLV, but that probably isn't going to be enough by itself to claim an at-large berth.  A road win over a team like the Aztecs would look really nice on the tournament resume.

Washington State will be without star Klay Thompson when it hosts UCLA today in a vital game for its at-large chances.  Thompson has been suspended after a marijuana arrest this week.

Georgia can put the final nail in Alabama's coffin with a win in Tuscaloosa today.  The Tide have lost two in a row and would still only have very slim at-large hopes with a win.  The best thing about Georgia's tournament profile is that it has no losses outside the RPI top 50.  A win today keeps that intact.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:37 am
 

BYU Takes a Beating

by Jerry Palm

In BYU's first game without Brandon Davies, who has been dismissed from the team, New Mexico crushed them at home, and did permanent damage to the Cougars' hopes of being a No. 1 seed.  I have them as a 4-seed today, and that's not permanent.  How they finish the year, and what other teams do, will have a bearing on where the Cougars end up.

Memphis lost at East Carolina last night and continued a late-season swoon that has them out of the bracket for now.  Michigan moved into their spot.

Colorado, Dayton and Mississippi also took bad losses, finishing whatever slim at-large hopes they had.

Florida State could have clinched a spot in the field with a win at home over North Carolina, but came up just short.

And finally, Marquette lost at home to Cincinnati.   That was the Golden Eagles 12th loss, and arguably their worst.  It's not a bad loss by any means, just bad compared to their others.


Posted on: February 15, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Feb. 15 Bracket - Movement at the Top

by Jerry Palm

Ohio State's loss at Wisconsin on Saturday and Kansas losing at Kansas State last night has caused a bit of a shakeup at the top of the bracket.   There is very little separating the teams on the top line, and not much separating them from the second line.  Here is a look at how they stand at the moment.

Pittsburgh -- The Panthers have more top 25 RPI wins than anyone (6), and four of those came away from home.  Two were last week, at West Virginia and Villanova, without their leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs.  Oddly, both of their losses have come in Pittsburgh.

Ohio St -- The Buckeyes have just one loss, the one at Wisconsin.  Everyone loses there.  The have six top 50 wins, including blowouts of Purdue and Florida.

Texas -- Leads the Big 12 and had to win at Kansas to do that.  The loss to USC is a real headscratcher, but you could argue nobody has played better the last month and a half.

San Diego State -- The Aztecs also have just one loss, which came at BYU.   They swept UNLV as part of their five top 50 wins and are 13-1 away from home.  Some even higher quality wins would be nice.

Kansas -- Like SDSU, the Jayhawks are in need of higher quality wins.  They have a neutral court win over Arizona, which is overrated (one top 50 win, home UCLA -- yawn), and beat Missouri at home among their six top 50 wins.  Kansas St is the highest rated team they have played on the road, and they got crushed.  The second-highest rated team the Jayhawks played on the road is Michigan, and they needed OT to beat the Wolverines.

BYU -- The Cougars' seven top 50 wins also includes a neutral court win over Arizona and the win over the Aztecs.  They lost to UCLA in Anaheim and at the Pit in New Mexico, where everybody loses.  Except San Diego State.

Duke -- The win over North Carolina last week was their first over a sure tournament team this season.  Their win at Miami on Sunday is their best road win of the year, after losses at St. John's and Florida State.

So, you can see, it's a pretty tight race to the finish among these seven teams.

St. John's continues to play their way up the bracket.  They beat Connecticut at home and won at Cincinnati and moved up a couple spots.  The Bearcats though are sliding, having lost three of four and with still several tough games ahead.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Also, the Bubble Page has been updated.

Posted on: February 14, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Injuries/Roster Issues

by Jerry Palm

Florida State beat Virginia on Saturday, but it probably didn't feel like much of a win.  The Seminoles lost their leading scorer and rebounder, Chris Singleton, to a broken foot and he will probably miss the rest of the season.

The selection committee often has to deal with issues similar to this.  The key factor with injuries, suspensions and other roster issues is whether or not the player in question will be available for the NCAA tournament.  The committee usually gives a little more weight to how that team does with the roster that's going to go to the tournament than how they did otherwise.  But only a little.

It also seems to be considered more for seeding than selections.

Sometimes, the committee doesn't have a lot to go on.  One of the most famous cases involved a player that was lost in his team's final game before the tournament.  In 2000. Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the Conference USA tournament and his team lost the game in which he was injured.  Before that, the Bearcats were the No. 1 team in the country and Martin was the player-of-the-year.  The committee had virtually no time to decide what to do and nothing to go on.  Cinci hadn't played a game without Martin -- they hadn't even had a practice without him.  The decision by the committee was to make Cincinnati a 2-seed, which they felt was a compromise between what they had accomplished and what they thought of the team without Martin.  Cincinnati didn't make it out of the first weekend.

Last year, Purdue lost Robbie Hummel late in February and even though the Boilers went 4-2 after that, they clearly weren't the same team.  At the end of the season, they were still the Big Ten regular season champion and had a profile worthy of a 1-seed or 2-seed, but the committee dropped them down to a 4-seed.

The flip side of that also goes back to 2000, when Mateen Cleaves missed a few games for Michigan State, including a loss to Wright State.  The Spartans ended the season with an RPI of 13 and a profile befitting a 2-seed or maybe even a 3-seed.  The committee recognized how good they were when Cleaves played though and gave the eventual national champions a 1-seed.

Florida State isn't starting from nearly as strong of a position.  They are at best a bubble team and will need to reprove themselves to the committee as a team that is capable of playing tournament quality basketball, even without Singleton.  If a team's profile doesn't stack up well enough to get selected, it won't get picked, injury or no.  The Seminoles are a late-season slide from playing in the NIT.

Minnesota has been without Al Nolen for a few weeks now, so the Gophers are in the same hole.  They lost four straight before pounding Iowa on Sunday.

Michigan State kicked Korie Lucious off the team after the loss at Purdue, but the Spartans were dysfunctional before that.  Things haven't really improved much since, but they did beat Penn State impressively on Thursday.

Mississippi State has been without both Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney at times, but haven't done well enough with them to merit any serious consideration.

Kansas State has had a revolving door at times.  They have players who were suspended and came back, and other who have left for good.  The committee will have fun with them, perhaps.

This is just a few of the cases the committee will look at.  They will know about all roster issues.  Keep in mind though that the committee will not assume that a game lost without a key player would have been won if that player been available.  They just put a little more weight on the games that player played in their seeding decisions.

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