Tag:Alabama
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 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.


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.


Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Mar. 6 Bracket - Change at Both Ends

by Jerry Palm

Saturday was a day of change in the bracket at both ends.  At the top, Duke lost to North Carolina, giving the Tar Heels the ACC regular season title.  Quick show of hands - who had UNC winning the ACC regular season back in October.  Yeah, me neither.

That loss by the Blue Devils, combined with Notre Dame's win at Connecticut, has vaulted the Irish to the top line of the bracket.  For now.  In fact, just about ever sentence of this post could end with "for now."

Purdue missed the bus to Iowa, and whoever was wearing their uniforms instead lost to Iowa.  That is costly for the Boilers.  Not only did it cost them a shot at the Big Ten regular season title, but it knocks them out of realistic contention for a No. 1 seed and -- again, for now -- out of the Chicago sub-regional.

Ohio State will go through its coronation ceremony as Big Ten champs later today, but first there is the little matter of facing Wisconsin.   The Badgers are suddenly thrust into 1-seed contention, but would have to win out.  They could have three wins over the Buckeyes if they do so.

The other big game in the Big Ten saw Michigan complete the season sweep of Michigan State.   Despite their 16-13 record, there was still room for Sparty in the bracket in one of the First Four games.  They better do something in Indianapolis though if they hope to stay there.

That may still be true of the Wolverines also.  Just because they beat MSU twice doesn't mean they are safe. 

Also, in the ACC, Clemson knocked off Virginia Tech.   That created a space at the bottom of the bracket for the Tigers, but I believe the Hokies still have a better profile.

Which brings me to today's selection/seeding lesson -- head-to-head isn't decisive.  It is possible for Michigan St to get selected and Michigan left out for for the Spartans to be higher seeded, despite the season sweep by Michigan.  Teams get judged on their entire seasons.  Not just one or two games, as in the case of head-to-head, or even two-thirds, as in the case of conference performance.

Clemson is another example.  The Tigers beat both Boston College and Virginia Tech, but both at home.  They didn't have to travel to either place.  Clemson had a better day when it played each of those teams, but has not has as good a season overall, and that is how those teams are judged.

Louisville fans have also been upset to see the Cards seeded behind Syracuse despite a win over the Orange and being ahead in the conference standings before yesterday's loss at West Virginia.   Syracuse had a much better overall profile though.

Speaking of meaningless conference standings, Alabama picked up a much-needed win over Georgia to keep it's slim at-large hopes alive.  The Tide is going to need to do some serious damage in Atlanta to have any realistic shot at an at-large bid.

Washington lost at home again late last night, this time to USC.   The Huskies will face in-state rival Washington State in the conference tournament.  The Cougars swept UW this season.

Nobody's case for seeding or selection is done yet.  The conference tournaments will certainly have a impact.  Many teams in the middle of the major conference still have a lot of work yet to do.

One more bid will go out later today.  Missouri State looks to make its first tournament appearance since 1999 when it faces sixth-seeded Indiana State in the Missouri Valley final on CBS.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.


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 1, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Mar. 1 Bracket - Welcome to the Madness

by Jerry Palm

There has been another change at the top of the bracket this week as the top of the field continues to play its way backwards.  BYU takes over for San Diego State on the top line for now, but may have to win out to keep it.

Of course, other contenders continue to fall away.  Texas once looked like a strong candidate for a top seed, but has lost twice since Friday's bracket.  They blew a 22-point lead at Colorado on Saturday, then Kansas State came back on them at home Monday night (although from not nearly as large a hole).  Combine that with the loss at Nebraska the previous week and it looks like the Longhorns are trying to play the whole middle of the Big 12 into the field.  That's good news for Baylor, who plays them this weekend.

The result is that the Longhorns find themselves as a 3-seed today, while Notre Dame moves up to the second line.  Both the Irish and red-hot Purdue have chances to challenge for top seeds, but probably need to win out and get help.

Meanwhile, Kansas State has won five in a row, including it's three biggest wins of the year, and has played itself right off the bubble.

Virginia Tech also picked up its biggest win so far when it beat Duke on Saturday.  Despite the screaming of the TV commentators that the Hokies are now a lock, that's not true.  They can't go on a three-game losing streak from here and expect to get in.

Arizona had a rough week in LA, losing to both USC and UCLA, and dropping into a tie with the Bruins for first place in the Pac 10.  The Wildcats have done little of substance away from home.  Their only top 50 RPI wins came over UCLA and Washington, both in Tucson.  Poll voters still love them for their gaudy record, but they look like a middle of the bracket team.

I get a lot of question about team's selection or seeding that go something like this "My team is ahead of this other team in the conference standings, so why are they seeded lower?"

The answer is that conference standings (and conference record by itself) are not at all relevant to the selection and seeding process.  Conference standings don't matter in part because so many leagues play unbalanced schedules.  Seriously -- is there anything less meaningful than the Big East standings?  And the other thing about conference performance is that it is only about two-thirds of a team's entire profile, and teams are judged on their entire body of work, not just conference play.

So, I have Old Dominion ahead of George Mason in the bracket because the Monarchs' non-conference performance makes up for a two-game deficit in the Colonial standings.  They have a non-conference wins over Xavier, Richmond, Clemson and Cleveland State.   Mason's only non-conference win of any substance came over Harvard at home.  In fact, Mason's best away-from-home win of the season came at VCU.   ODU beat both Xavier and Clemson on neutral courts.  So, I see a slight overall edge to ODU.

The extreme case of this is Alabama, which is 11-3 in the SEC at the moment and has clinched the West division title, but still isn't close to an at-large bid.  Their non-conference performance was so bad that a gaudy league record hasn't been able to wipe it away.  Of course, it doesn't help that the rest of the West stinks and that accounts for most of the Tide's conference schedule.

I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.



Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Weekend Bubble Watch - Feb. 26 and 27

by Jerry Palm

There are great opportunities ahead for some teams on the bubble to make a strong statement that they belong in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech will try to play their way off the Seth Greenberg Memorial Bubble when they host Duke on Saturday.  The Hokies could really use a quality win, but unfortunately, the ACC doesn't provide a lot of chances for those.  You have to take advantage of the ones that present themselves.

Baylor's hopes are fading fast, but they can resurrect them with a win over Texas A&M, which would complete the season sweep of the Aggies.  The Bears are coming off a home loss to Texas Tech, so perhaps that is asking too much.

Kansas State
hopes to continue its run of good play when it hosts Missouri.   The Wildcats have breathed some life into their tournament hopes by winning five of six, including that blowout of Kansas.   A win over the Tigers would be its second over a top 50 RPI opponent.

Michigan visits Minnesota in a crucial game for both teams.  Michigan needs to beat quality teams, or at least other contenders, to pump up its tournament profile.  The Gophers just need to stop the bleeding.  They have lost six of eight since the injury to star Al Nolen.

UCLA not only has a chance to pick up a quality win when it hosts Arizona on Saturday, but the Bruins can also pull within a game of first place in the Pac 10.  UCLA's tournament resume is missing quality wins away from home.  That can't be fixed on Saturday, but every good win helps.

Alabama travels to Ole Miss, the only other top 100 RPI team in the SEC West.  The Tide cannot afford to be caught looking ahead to Tuesday night's battle at Florida.   The Rebels tournament at-large hopes appear to be dashed, but they can still play spoiler here.

Also on Saturday, St. Mary's hosts Portland.   The last time they met was also right after the Gaels played Gonzaga, and St. Mary's had a let down after a big win and got beat.   Now, they have to keep from hanging their heads after a tough loss and letting Gonzaga beat them twice.  If St. Mary's is going to hold out hope for an at-large bid, they cannot afford to lose to Portland.

Dayton has a chance to add a little zip to an otherwise bland tournament profile when they host rival Xavier in the A-10.  So far, the Flyers biggest win is over George Mason at home, and if that's all they have on selection weekend, that probably won't be enough.

And finally, Michigan State can all but punch its ticket when it hosts Purdue on Sunday.  They can also make a statement that they are back to being the Spartans we are used to seeing.


Posted on: February 18, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:17 pm
 

Feb. 18 - Bubble Watch

by Jerry Palm

There will be a lot of focus on the bracket busters this weekend, but there aren't too many bubble teams involved in that event.  One game that got a lot more interesting though is Utah State at St. Mary's.   The Gaels gagged one away at 300+ RPI San Diego this week and put what looked like a pretty secure tournament berth, not to mention a conference title, in jeopardy.

The Aggies haven't beaten anyone all year.  They have 23 wins and not a single one of them has come against a top 100 RPI foe.  So far, they have proven then can lose to a bad team (Idaho ), but haven't proven they can beat a good one.

Another game that could have some bubble implications is Cleveland State at Old Dominion on Sunday.  The Vikings are co-leaders in the Horizon league, but are missing a top 50 RPI win.  A road win against the Monarchs might give them a boost if they slip up in the conference tournament.

VCU at Wichita State looked like a potentially bubbly game when it was announced, but two big losses at home for the Rams this week were a buzzkill.

Missouri State at Valparaiso could help the winner perhaps, but probably only if the winner also wins its league regular season title.

Among the bigger schools, Boston College has a chance to make a splash this Saturday at the Dean Dome when they take on North Carolina.

Oklahoma State
is a home court hero, and they can't really do anything to fix that when they host Texas A&M this weekend, but you take quality wins where you can get them.

In the Big Ten, all eyes are focused on Purdue and Ohio State, but Illinois at Michigan State on Saturday has big bubble implications.  The Spartans are just 13-11, and no matter how good your schedule is, that record isn't going to cut it (some of you may remember Georgia in 2001 - this doesn't compare. Nothing even remotely compares).  The Illini have been fading some too, and they have the Buckeyes next, so this one is even more important.

The whole top of the Pac 10 seems to be on the bubble, and I wouldn't necessarily rule out haven't-beaten-anyone Arizona either.  The Wildcats host Washington in a big game in both the conference race and the tournament chase.

Finally, Georiga begins the final, brutal stretch of its schedule with a game at Tennessee.   The Bulldogs also have game at Florida and Alabama remaining, and may have to win at least one of those to feel any level of comfort entering the SEC tournament.  It's also a big game for Tennessee, which is 16-10 overall and cannot afford to slip too much with games at Vanderbilt and home against Kentucky left.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Bubble Watch


 
 
 
 
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