Tag:Georgia
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 19, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:36 am
 

It's not even Saturday yet...

...and already the BCS is turned on its head again.  Iowa State stunned No. 2 Oklahoma State 37-31 in double OT and knocked the Cowboys from the ranks of the unbeaten.  It was the biggest late-season loss by a top two team since Pitt decked West Virginia in 2007.  That year, No. 1 and No. 2 both lost on each of the last two weeks of the season.  That Pitt team's defense was lead by coordinator Paul Rhoads, now the Cyclones coach.

Now, if LSU wins out, it will surely face a one-loss team, and today, it's a little more likely that team will be one it already defeated.

Alabama and Oregon are the next two teams in line in the BCS standings, and assuming both win today, you'll probably see Alabama at No. 2 this week, but it's not a given they'll stay there.  Voters like conference champions, and as things stand now, Alabama isn't going to win the SEC, but nobody else has won a conference championship yet either.

On the last day of 2006, Florida jumped Michigan after it won the SEC title.  On the last day of 2011, Alabama could get jumped by Oregon because it wins the Pac-12 title.  Or maybe even the Bedlam winner.  Or, maybe Georgia, even with its two losses. 

Oh, you don't think that Georgia can make that move?  In 2007, LSU jumped from seventh to second on the final day of the season after winning the SEC championship over Tennessee.  They moved past the former No. 1 and No. 2 teams, both of which lost, the No. 6 team, Virginia Tech, which won the ACC that day, and No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Kansas, neither of which played in their conference title games.  One difference though is that LSU ended with the best record of any SEC team that year.

The point is that unless something changes, Alabama is not playing football the last weekend of the season, and that can hurt them.

And everything I just wrote could get blown up before the ink dries because Saturday hasn't even happened yet.  Gotta love the BCS.


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: November 6, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 6:42 pm
 

BCS projections, Nov. 5

The Harris poll is out.  There are very few differences between the two polls.  Alabama is close enough to Stanford in the projection that if the Cardinal is not as good in the computers as I expect, they could actually be behind Alabama overall this week.  Not that it matters at all, long-term.

---

Call off the alerts.  The National Guard can stand down.  Alabama is ahead of Boise State in the coaches poll and will be ahead in the BCS as well.  The projection has also been changed to reflect Alabama ahead of the Broncos in the Harris poll.  The caution not to overreact to this week is still in effect.

---

Someone might want to alert the seismologists.  And perhaps the medical centers in the Southeast.  Because if the current BCS projections hold true, Alabama will slot behind Boise State into fifth place.  Come to think of it, the National Guard in that part of the country should probably be on stand-by also.

I caution you not to overreact to where Alabama ends up this week, good, bad or indifferent.  Voters may be inclined to rethink it later, even if the Tide keeps, um, rolling from here.

Of course, that plea will fall on deaf ears in the Southeast.  SEC fans will be absolutely apoplectic if the Tide drops behind the Broncos.  There is, of course, a chance they won't -- the projection is very close.  Voters have an interesting decision to make this week.

Any other year, or with a team from any other league other than the almighty SEC, Bama would drop to seventh in the polls, behind not just Boise St, but Oklahoma and Oregon also, even after a tightly played (if not especially well played) loss at home in OT to the No. 1 team.  You know if the name on the front of their jerseys said "Oklahoma State" and not "Alabama," that would be true.

While a No. 7 spot in the polls is in the range of possibilities, it isn't very likely.  A battle for 4th with Boise State is more likely, and if the Tide comes out on top, they will be ahead of the Broncos in the BCS as well.  Alabama will be the better computer team, so simply being close in the point totals to Boise Sate without being ahead would be good enough to keep the Tide in front of the Broncos in the BCS overall.  We'll know more when the coaches' poll comes out around Noon ET.

Looking long term, Oklahoma State should still control its own destiny for the title game, along with LSU, of course.  Stanford is on deck.

If both the Cowboys and Cardinal go down at some point, the debate gets very interesting.  I think if it comes to that (and don't let this week be a guide -- voters are not long-term thinkers), I would expect the voters to go with either Boise State or a one-loss Oklahoma ahead of an Alabama rematch.

It really gets interesting if the voters are left with a choice of only Alabama or Oregon, either of which would be rematches for LSU.  I think you'd have to like the Tide there.

Also, Georgia's good run of play continues to bolster Boise State.  Voters probably don't remember now that the Bronocs smacked the Bulldogs in the season opener, but if UGa wins out and plays LSU for the SEC title, how Georgia performs in that game could impact Boise State.

----

The projected numbers currently include data through this week's game for Colley and Sagarin, and projected top 25 rankings for the other components.  The chart will get updated as data becomes available.





Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 11:22 pm
 

BCS and bowl notes, Oct. 30

Stanford made its inevitable move past Boise State in the BCS this week and will now try (but ultimately fail) to close on Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma is at the top of the list of one-loss teams at No. 6, and might be able to stay there for a while.  Oregon is actually ahead of the Sooners in both the Harris and coaches' polls, but Oklahoma's computer strength might be good enough to hold off the Ducks long-term.

Arkansas is sandwiched between those two in the BCS ratings, and can't be ruled out as a contender yet.  The Hogs still have LSU on the schedule, but for them, it would really help to be the division (and conference) winner, but they do not control their own desitny.  Arkansas could be like Michigan State last year and go 11-1 and have no chance for a BCS berth because of two more desireable teams in its own league.
Of course, one more team will join that battle next week.

Houston has quietly crept up to No. 13, and if it weren't for Boise State, would be high enough in the rankings to automatically qualify for a BCS spot.  Unfortunately, that only goes to the highest rated non-AQ conference champion, and it'll take at least one Bronco loss to knock them below the Cougars.

Penn State is not really getting much respect from the voters or the computers, but the No. 16 Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and are the last undefeated team in conference play.  Nebraska, Michigan and MSU are in a three-way tie for first in the Whatever Division.  It could have been a four-way tie, but Iowa managed to do something that not even New Mexico State and North Dakota State could accomplish -- lose to Minnesota.

And who would have thought we'd enter November with teams like Wake Forest, Virginia and UCLA still in control of their own destinies for conference titles, but Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia and Florida State needing help.

I am still one team short of the number needed in this week's bowl projections.  Toledo is left standing at the altar at the Little Caesar's Bowl.


Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:29 pm
 

West Virginia, Arizona Western and games to watch

Brett McMurphy has been all over the West Virginia to the Big 12 story, which became official today.  In his story, Brett said, "With the Big 12 only taking West Virginia, the Big East’s chances of retaining its BCS automatic qualifying status in 2014 is greatly improved."

I'm sure he means as opposed to taking both West Virginia and Louisville, which would have been worse because that would have meant the Big East having to find two more teams instead of just one.  However, it would have been much better for the Big 12 to have caved to some senatorial pressure and took just Louisville.  The Mountaineers have been the most consistely good program in the Big East, so while the league only needs to find one more replacement, it will be hard pressed to find one that is anywhere near the quality of West Virginia.  Note I am excluing the six programs already being pursued by the league, Boise State, Air Force, Navy, Houston, SMU and UCF.

Note that Brett mentioned the AQ status for 2014 and beyond.  That is because the Big East is contracturally locked in as an AQ league through the 2013 season.  There is no formal process for revoking that status beyond then, but that is an issue the BCS commissioners will deal with in the next eight to ten months, according to BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock.

--

Ah, the vagaries of the BCS computer rankings.  If you look at Ken Massey's BCS rankings and go far enough down the list, you'll see that the 88th ranked team is that noted football power Arizona Western JC.  Yes, a junior college.  If you look at his regular rankings, which the BCS does not use because they include margin of victory, AWJC is 30th.

This has caused a little bit of outrage because it's so comically wrong, and while I understand that, I'm not as bothered by it as most people are.  A team like AWJC is so far removed from the oppponent, opponents, opponents, etc chain of any I-A school that it could probably be removed from the database entirely without affecting the I-A rankings.

That is also the reason a team like AWJC can be so high in the rankings.  It is so far removed from the I-A schools that its rating isn't impacted by them.

Programmers who want to rank just I-A schools need to find some way to deal with opponents outside of that class.  Some, like me, deal with it by treating all such opponents as genericly bad I-A teams.  Some rank a larger set of schools to be more specific.  Some ignore those games entirely (like the RPI).  Different strokes for different folks.  I don't get too worked up about it.  It's a reliativley minor problem for the BCS compared to the fact that they have no idea how these ratings work or if they are being calculated correctly.  Also, teams don't know how they are being judged.  That's because, except for Colley, the formulas are secret.
--

LSU, Alabama and Boise State are off this week, but there are still several games of interest.

Clemson is at Georgia Tech, which looked like a lot bigger game a couple weeks ago when the Yellow Jackets were still undefeated.  Georgia Tech is still dangerous, and difficult to prepare for, so Clemson better be ready.

Baylor at Oklahoma State -- Brandon Weedon vs Robert Griffin III.  Alert the engineers!  The scoreboard is going to get a workout.

Oklahoma at Kansas State -- One of these teams is still undefeated.  I think the Wildcats picked a bad week to schedule Oklahoma.

Michigan State at Nebraska -- The Spartans just finished handing Michigan and Wisconsin their first losses in back-to-back weekends, and their reward is a trip to Lincoln.  Thanks, schedule makers!

Wisconsin at Ohio State -- The Badgers try to bounce back from the loss to Michigan State last week and stay in the hunt in the Legendary Leaders division, or something like that.

Stanford at USC -- The Trojans just extinguished Notre Dame's BCS hopes last week, and now it hopes to kill off the Cardinal's national title aspirations.

Georgia vs Florida -- The World's Largest Cocktail Party usually leaves Georgia with a hangover.  Mark Richt was on one of the hottest seats to start the season, but now an East division title is a possiblity.  USC-East controls its own destiny there, but with Marcus Lattimore done for the season, the door could open for the Bulldogs.


Posted on: March 11, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Break out the Bubbly

by Jerry Palm

It's another big day for teams on the bubble and many fates may be decided.  Still, it's important not to overreact to one game, and also to keep in mind that you can't analyze one team in a vacuum.  All of these teams are to some degree dependent on what other teams do.

Boston College plays Clemson in the ACC is what many are incorrectly calling a play-in game.  The winner helps themselves and the loser hurts themselves, but it will still be possible for either or both teams to make the field or miss.

Virginia Tech may not have to beat Florida State to get in, but a neutral court win over a sure tournament team would really help their cause.

Michigan State, Penn State, Colorado and New Mexico all have a chance to knock off highly-rated teams and give themselves the kind of win that might separate themselves from other teams in contention for spots in the field.

In the SEC, Georgia plays Alabama in another proclaimed "play-in game" that isn't.  Georgia can still make the tournament with a loss, but neither team is guaranteed anything with a win.


 
 
 
 
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