Category:NCAAF
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.

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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.
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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: October 23, 2011 11:01 pm
 

BCS/Bowl notes

The official BCS is out this week, with no real surprises.

Oklahoma State would appear to be in the best position to play the SEC champ for the BCS title if both finish undefeated.  The Cowboys have a slight edge over Stanford in the polls, but a huge lead in the computers.  Stanford will close that gap some as the season goes on, assume neither loses, but the Cardinal will never catch OSU.

Boise State and Clemson are currently between Stanford and Oklahoma St, but if all four finish undefeated, Stanford should pass the Broncos and Tigers.

Oregon and Oklahoma are in the best spots for 1-loss teams.  That may very well include the loser of the LSU-Alabama game.

A lot of people are talking about a possible rematch of those two for the BCS title.  That is getting WAY ahead of yourself.  We still could have six undefeated teams.  This is the time of year to talk about that scenario.

But since you asked, voters showed us in 2006 that they prefer not to have a rematch.  They jumped Florida over Michigan after the Gators won the SEC title.  I think there is a sense that it isn't fair to make the winner beat the loser again.

However, there does have to be some reasonable alternative.  One-loss Oregon or Oklahoma would be that, as would undefeated Boise State or Clemson.

The bowl projections require a little explanation also.

The order for choosing at-large teams for the BCS bowls is Fiesta, Sugar and Orange.

Once you get past league champions, bowl selection order is about bowl choice, not conference standings.  So, the Capital One Bowl gets the Big Ten No. 2.  That does not mean the second best team in the conference standings, or the conference championship game loser.  It means second choice of all bowl-eligible teams.  Conference standings are rarely much of a factor, although some leagues do have rules requiring they be respected to some degree.

Michigan is projected to be the choice of the Fiesta Bowl as an at-large team, but the Wolverines are not projected to win their division.  That is Michigan State.  However, Michigan is MUCH more attractive to bowls because of its massive fan base, national appeal, and in this case, a bit of a dry spell from playing at this level.

The current bowl projection also has a couple of holes in it.  I am only projecting 68 teams to be eligible for 70 spots.  At this time, the NCAA has no provision for dealing with this situation, so I am not going to assume what they will do.  This kind of thing has a way of working itself out, so we'll see.

I did end up with one strange matchup - Ohio vs Eastern Michigan in the Idaho Potato Bowl.  EMU was the last team I put in the grid, and the only openings were against other MAC foes.  Ohio was the only one the Eagles don't play in the regular season.  I'm sure the fans in Boise would line up early to see that one!

Finally, BYU clinched the first bowl berth of the season with its win over Idaho State.  They are contracted to the Armed Forces Bowl, however I don't believe the bid has been officially offered yet because there are still some very slim hopes that the Cougars could end up in the BCS.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 5:17 pm
 

BCS projections, Oct. 22

The BCS projection has been updated this morning.  Check back with this blog post for changes as the day progresses.  Actual data will become available for Sagarin and both polls before the official release, and I will update the chart and this post when they do.

The top 25 of each component has been projected through games of Oct. 22 except:

Colley, Sagarin -- Actual ratings (1-120), through Oct. 22
Coaches, Harris polls -- Actual.

The projection shows teams 4-6 as Boise State, Clemson and Stanford and they are pretty tighly bunched together.  If the Cardinal are better loved than I project by the four computers, they could move up some.

Even more tightly bunched are teams 7-10, which are Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Arkansas.  They are only separated in the projection by .023, so it would not take much computer variance to shake up the order of those teams.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:28 pm
 

BCS games to watch

This week's BCS games to watch:

North Carolina at Clemson -- The Tigers have three of their final four on the road, so it is important for them to take care of business at home.

Oklahoma St at Missouri -- This is arguably the toughest game left for the Cowboys before their season-ending showdown with Oklahoma.  Baylor and Kansas St are on the schedule too, but those games are at home.

Wisconsin at Michigan St -- The Spartans are probably best equipped to defend the Badgers, but they will have to do it without suspended DE William Gholston.

Washington at Stanford -- I'm not a bettor, but I can't believe Stanford is a three-touchdown favorite.  Washington (5-1) has played well behind QB Keith Price.  The Huskies almost took down Nebraska in Lincoln.

Auburn at LSU -- No Honey Badger.  No Spencer Ware.  So, LSU will be shorthanded.  This could be a dangerous spot for the Bayou Bengals.

USC at Notre Dame -- No BCS impact for the Trojans.  They are not eligible for the post-season.  However, they can all but end their rivals' chances of getting to the BCS with an upset in South Bend.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 4:20 pm
 

DI Bowl Task Force proposes changes

The Division I Bowl Task Force that the NCAA put together last April in response to the scandal at the Fiesta Bowl that took down former executive director John Junker has made it recommendations.  If they are accepted, they will definitely change the bowl landscape.

The biggest change, although less obvious to the casual fan, is how bowl games will be certified.  The task force recommended doing away with the NCAA Bowl Licensing Committee, which has been certifying games since 2004 based on things like minimum attendance and financial guarantees.  The task force is instead recommending that things like that be left to the conference and the bowls to negotiate among themselves. 

Instead, the NCAA will set criteria based on governance, community support and marketing.  Each bowl would be responsible for filing reports with the NCAA certifying that they are in compliance with those standards, and the NCAA staff will make periodic audits of the bowls to ensure compliance as well.  The governance standards are to ensure things like the campaign contribution scandal at the Fiesta Bowl don’t happen again.

Other changes that will be much more obvious include a recommendation that the bowl schedule match better with the academic calendar.  The task force recommended that all bowl games be played in a three-week window, the exact dates of which would vary from year to year, but the idea is that games would not start until after final exams and would end before the start of classes (at most schools).

That tight of a window would most impact the BCS title game, and the bowl that hosts it.  Right now, those games are scheduled about a week apart to give the host bowl time to properly accommodate both games.  The new calendar could push the title game back much closer to Jan. 1st, which would force the host bowl to move its original game earlier as well, or try to squeeze two games in on a much tighter schedule.

This year’s bowls start on Saturday, Dec. 17th and end on Monday, Jan. 9th, a period of 23 days.

The other change that could have a major impact on the bowls is one that was actually adopted in August by the D-I Board of Directors, which says that teams must have an APR of 930 or better to participate in the postseason.  That could increase the odds of there not being enough eligible teams to fill the games.  There is no procedure in place for what to do if something like that happens, and the task force did not recommend one.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS, NCAA
 
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: October 20, 2011 7:56 am
 

Blabbing with Brando, Barnhart

I spent part of the day yesterday talking about the first release of the BCS with Tim Brando and Tony Barnhart.  Click on their names to see the clips.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS
 
Posted on: October 16, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 9:14 pm
 

First BCS Coming Today

The first official release of the BCS is now out.  LSU did a little better in the computers that I expected, and Oklahoma slightly worse.  As a result, LSU is at the top of the rankings by a whopping .0003 over Alabama.

Oklahoma is third, and archrival Oklahoma State is fourth.  The Cowboys, as expected, are the top-rated team in the computers.

Wisconsin is only 11th in the computers, and despite being fourth in both polls, the Badgers come in sixth overall.

Stanford is also suffering in the computer rankings, but the Harris voters are also underwhelmed by the Cardinal.  That has allowed Clemson to sneak ahead of them for the seventh spot.

Oh, did I forget Boise State?  I guess I'm just used to them always being there now.  The Broncos are fifth overall.

We aren't used to seeing Houston.  You have to look pretty far down the list to find the Cougars.  They start out at No. 19.

The only other major undefeated team is Kansas State, and the Wildcats check in at No. 11, behind one-loss teams Arkansas and Oregon.

With so many undefeated teams, you'll see a lot of folks jumping on the panic button with both feet, but these things have a way of working themselves out.  The three Big 12 teams will play each other.  LSU and Alabama meet in a few weeks.  Everyone has tough games left.  It's unusual to have more than two AQ unbeatens at the end of the year.

You can see the rankings for all 120 teams here,  At this time, Wolfe and Massey have not released their complete rankings.  When they do, the chart will get updated, and I will update this post as well.


 
 
 
 
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