Category:NCAAF
Posted on: November 13, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 4:09 pm
 

BCS projections, Nov.12, Stanford, Boise fall

The BCS projections are up for this morning.  I have Stanford dropping to 9th, just above Houston, and Boise State down to 12th after each team suffered its first loss of the season yesterday.

Voters could be in a conudrum if Oklahoma St goes down, especially if it's Oklahoma that beats them.  Right now, lined up behind No. 2 Oklahoma St is Alabama and Oregon, each of which suffered its only loss of the season at the hands of No. 1 LSU.  Voters looking to avoid a rematch may have no good option except the Sooners.

Also, Houston is now in the cat-bird seat for the non-AQ at-large spot.  Even if the Cougars lose, Boise St would not be eligible unless someone beats TCU and the Bronocs are at least league co-champions.  BCS rules say that the non-AQ spot is reserved for a conference champion.,

All data is projected top 25 in each ranking component except the Harris and coaches' polls, Colley and Sagarin, which are actual data through yesterday's games.

The coaches poll showed Boise State doing better than I expected, so I have re-projected Harris to reflect similar thinking.  The result of that has the Broncos now 10th, ahead of Houston.  That does not impact the AQ status for either team.

The Harris poll will was pretty similar.  Stanford is seventh in Harris, but ninth in the coaches' poll.  Virginia Tech is the opposite.

The official BCS release will be at about 8:30 PM ET.


Posted on: November 11, 2011 10:57 pm
 

On field talk: BCS games of the week

It may not be a Game of the Century, but it is the Game of the Week.  Stanford and Oregon in Palo Alto likely for the Pac-12 North title, but also to stay in the national championship hunt.

One of the BCS games of the week was played last night, when Virginia Tech won 37-26 at Georgia Tech.  The ACC Coastal division title could come down to the Virginia-Virginia Tech game at the end of the season.

Clemson hosts Wake Forest this week for control of the Atlantic division.

Texas Tech hasn't won, or even looked competent, since beating Oklahoma a few weeks ago.  Now the Red Raiders get their shot at Oklahoma State.  Maybe they only show up for the big games.

There are two big games in the B1G.  Michigan St is at Iowa.  Both teams control their own destiny for the Legends division crown.  MSU will be looking to redeem itself after getting embarrassed in Iowa City last year.

And, of course, Nebraska is in Unhappy Valley to take on Penn State.  As a Big Ten guy, this is a game that would be must see TV for me (even though neither school was in the Big Ten in my day).  Honestly though, I'm not sure I can bring myself to tune in.  Penn St has a two-game lead in the Leaders division, with three very tough games left under the best of circumstances.

Last call for anyone to beat Boise State comes on Saturday, when TCU takes to the smurf turf and takes on the Broncos.

Also, UCLA keeps its push to save Rick Neuheisel's job going -- not to mention to win the Pac-12 South -- as they face Utah in Salt Lake City.

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: November 3, 2011 9:55 pm
 

LSU-Alabama, the prequel?

A lot of the speculation surrounding this game isn't just about which team will win, but whether or not this game even matters?  That is because many think we could see this matchup again on Jan. 9th in New Orleans.

I don't think that's a very likely event.  Obviously, Oklahoma State and Stanford have to lose to even have the discussion.  The loser on Saturday will have a couple of things going against them in the eyes of voters.  First, while there isn't a whole lot of precedent on this, voters have shied away from a rematch if there was another good choice available.

In 2006, after a pretty exciting Ohio State-Michigan game that ended 42-39 in favor of the Buckeyes, Michigan fell only to third in the polls, just behind one-loss USC and ahead of six other one-loss teams, led by Florida.  That was the final game of the regular season for the Big Ten schools.

Entering the final week of the season, the Wolverines were still sandwiched between USC and Florida.  That weekend, USC lost to UCLA, opening the door for a rematch.  However, after Florida beat Arkansas for the SEC title, voters pushed the Gators ahead of Michigan and into the BCS title game.

The desire to avoid a rematch wasn't the only thing working against Michigan.  Florida was also a conference champion.  In the 14-year history of the BCS, the top two teams in the final polls have always been conference champions.  Earlier versions of the BCS formula overruled the will of the voters a couple of times and put a non-champion in the BCS title game.  It is harder to do that in this version of the formula, which gives 2/3 of the weight to the voters.

The loser of this game figures to be in the same boat as Michigan.  I think if there is any other reasonable choice, including undefeated Boise State or one-loss Oklahoma, the voters will ultimately go that route, even if they don't do so this week.  And I think that is true no matter how good the game is on Saturday, although obviously a good game is more helpful to the rematch cause than a poor one.

Yes, I did say Boise State up there.  Certainly, if it comes down to a choice of the Broncos or LSU/Alabama, there will be a lot of debate over how "reasonable" a choice Boise State is.  That program has built up a lot of respect with the voters over the last several years, and if the circumstance is right, voters may finally say, "let's see what they got."

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 30, 2011 9:19 am
Edited on: October 30, 2011 10:56 pm
 

BCS projections, Oct. 30

This week's BCS ratings are now posted with all available data.  I will update the chart when the full missing computer rankings are released.

All components have the full rankings through Oct. 29th games except Massey, which is correct for teams that are both in the top 25 of the BCS and the top 25 of that ranking.

Also posted are the 1-120 rankings.  Look for the latest bowl projections tomorrow.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS
 
 
 
 
 
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