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Posted on: December 4, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:22 pm
 

LSU-Alabama, the sequel

Sources tell me tonight that it's official: LSU and Alabama will meet again in New Orleans in the BCS title game.  It still remains to be seen whether or not TCU automatically qualifies for a BCS berth (I'm not optimistic).

That would put Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, against Stanford (an automatic qualifier).

The Orange will have Clemson facing West Virginia.

The Sugar will feature Michigan against Virginia Tech.

Other bowl matchups are starting to leak out as well.  Keep checking our bowl page for the latest.



Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 12:43 pm
 

What will it take?

UPDATE: The coaches poll point totals at the top have been revealed.  Oklahoma State pulled to within 32 points of Alabama.  As you can probably deduce if you read the bit below, that's not good news for the Cowboys.

OSU will now need to pass Alabama in the Harris poll and lead by at least five points to finish No. 2 overall in the BCS.  That seems unlikley, with the way poll voters tend to group-think, but you never know with those wacky Harris folks. 

Also, even though it doesn't count, the AP poll has Alabama No. 2 as well, although by a closer margin than the coaches have.

TCU did get a little help in that the Frogs are ahead of Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma, but Clemson jumped them, so that hurts.  We haven't seen those point totals yet.  I will update the BCS ratings projections chart when we see the full poll.

-----

The media (in general, not everyone) seems to be throwing its weight behind the notion of moving Oklahoma State up to No. 2 and giving the Cowboys a shot at LSU instead of having a rematch Alabama.  This comes after they have spent the last two weeks making it very clear that the only worthy opponent for LSU was, in fact, the Tide.

I don't have a vote, but I can tell you what the people who do will have to do to make that happen.

Oklahoma State trailed Alabama by 342 points in the Harris poll and 166 in the coaches' poll.  With the current computer projections, the Cowboys would have to be the mathematical equivalent of 28 points behind in Harris and 15 back in the coaches' poll.  A little of that ground gets made up with the natural fall of Virginia Tech in the polls, but that's still an enormous gap to make up.  Voters would simply have to decide they don't want a rematch and move OSU up, not only past Alabama on some ballots, but Stanford also, which started the week ahead of the Cowboys in both polls.  We'll have a much better idea when the coaches' poll is released in a few hours.

For some perspective, the only other time something like this happened was in 2006, when the voters moved up Florida past Michigan to avoid a rematch after the Gators won the SEC title on the final day of the season.  That year, Florida entered that last week trailing the Wolverines by only 86 points in the Harris poll and just 40 in the coaches' poll.

TCU has to get to 16 to earn an automatic spot in the BCS.  Again, I don't like the way the numbers are shaking out for TCU.  It doesn't look like the Frogs will make up much ground at all in the computers.  Going into this week, TCU was No. 17 in each poll, right behind Michigan, but the gap in the point totals was huge -- more than double the number of voters in each poll.  That's like being two spots in the rankings behind instead of one.  It also means that the teams that lost ahead of them in the polls --  Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Houston -- may slot into that gap between them and the Wolverines. 

TCU will probably need at least three of those teams to fall behind them in both polls to have a decent chance to get to 16th overall.  The Frogs also have to watch their backs and hope Baylor and Clemson don't leap(horned)frog them.  Michigan State (close loss) and Houston (high ranking to begin with and better record) have the best chance of staying ahead of TCU.


Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Late night projections

BCS and bowl projections are up for this evening.  Before the official release, we will see the coaches' poll , which will help clarify things further, but I believe the Harris poll isn't released before the final rankings come out.

I am still projecting LSU-Alabama for the title game, but Oklahoma State had a good night.  The biggest thing that happened was Virginia Tech losing, which gives the Cowboys one less team between themselves and the Tide.  OSU will also get a little computer boost from its win over Oklahoma and will most likely finish ahead of Alabama in that component.

After that, it's up to the voters.  They may be impressed by 44-10, but it is a lot to ask (and predict) that voters will suddenly move the Cowboys up high enough to take advantage of their computer ranking. Such a move would be unprecedented and quite atypical of voter behavior.

In 2006, when voters changed their mind and elevated Florida over Michigan, the Gators deficit was quite a bit less than the number of voters in each poll.  Oklahoma St started this week a whopping 342 points behind Alabama in the Harris poll and 166 back in the coaches' poll, which is nearly three times the number of voters in each poll.  The Hokies' loss will help some, but it will take a significant voter epiphany to put Oklahoma State close enough to Alabama to overtake them.

It looks like Michigan got the help it needed to qualify for the at-large pool.  I don't think it looks good for TCU though.  The voters will really have to come to the Frogs' rescue, and that doesn't seem likely.

So, with that in mind, I now have Kansas State in the BCS instead of TCU. 




Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 8:59 pm
 

LSU is No. 1. Bama, WVU in BCS also

LSU's 42-10 victory over Georgia for the SEC title puts the Tigers in the BCS title game as the No. 1 team.

Alabama also clinched a BCS berth because there is no realistic scenario that would put the Tide any worse than third.  Obviously, at No. 2, they will play LSU for the championship, but even at No. 3, the Tide would automatically qualify (See Rule 6).

The loss by Georgia also helps both Michigan and TCU, as each looks to move up two spots in the rankings and qualify for BCS games (likely against each other).

West Virginia is also expected tp make the BCS after Cincinnati beat Connecticut 35-26, creating a three-way tie for the Big East championship.  The tie is broken by BCS standings, and West Virginia is projected to be the highest rated team.


Posted on: December 3, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Bye bye Houston, TCU up next

Houston lost its shot at the BCS with style.  Southern Miss won the C-USA title 49-28.

That knocks Houston out of the BCS.  It was such a bad loss, it might even knock the Cougars out of the at-large pool (not that it matters -- they wouldn't get picked).  A blowout like this could cause a precipitous fall.  They might even fall far enough to help out Michigan.

Now, the clock is on TCU.  If the Frogs win today and can move up two spots to 16th in the BCS rankings, they would automatically qualify for the BCS as the highest-rated non-AQ conference champion.  TCU is up 21-3 in the first half as I type this.

If TCU is unable to move up two spots, it opens the door for a Big 12 team (Bedlam loser, especially if Oklahoma State, or Kansas State) or even Boise State.

The day is still young.  This could change again.



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 27, 2011 10:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 10:03 am
 

BCS eligibility rules

There is some confusion out there about how teams become eligible for the BCS, so to clear it up, here are the rules.

1. The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC (the AQ conferences) will play in BCS games, regardless of rankings.  There is no exception.  That accounts for six of the ten bowl spots.

2. The top two teams in the BCS standings play for the BCS title.  There are no restrictions.  The teams do not have to be conference champions.  They do not have to be from different conferences.  The top two, whoever they are, play.

3. No more than two teams from any conference can appear in the BCS games.  Exception: if No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS standings are from the same AQ conference and neither is the conference champion, the conference champion also plays in the BCS (rule #1), thus giving that conference three teams.  Many think this exception would come into play if Georgia beats LSU this week.  Under normal circumstances though, the four at-large teams must come from different conferences.

4. The highest rated non-AQ conference champion automatically qualifies for an at-large spot if it is in the top 12 of the BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ranked ahead of one of the AQ conference champions.  That's why Houston did not have to pass Boise State in the rankings to automatically qualify.  Boise will not be a conference champion.  If Houston loses, it could open the door for TCU, which is 18th this week and would have to get up to the top 16 to qualify.

5. Notre Dame automatically qualifies if it is in the top eight.  lol.

6. If a team from an AQ conference that did not win its league is ranked third or fourth, it automatically qualifies for an at-large spot.  This rule cannot be used to supersede the two-team limit per conference, and only one team (the higher rated) can qualify under this rule.  Stanford qualified under this rule last year, and is positioned to possibly do so again.

7. If there are any spots left after all that, any team with nine wins and a top 14 ranking can be selected at the discretion of the bowls.

There was some erraneous reporting tonight that indicated that the BCS could go down to the top 18 to grab a team from an AQ conference if its league only had its champion in the top 14.  That is NOT true.  Michigan fans - this means you.  Michigan has to be in the top 14 to be eligible, period.

There is a provision to go outside the top 14 for at-large teams, but it only comes into play if it is not possible to fill the at-large spots with teams in the top 14.  That will not be a problem this year.  It almost happened in 2007, which is the year that rule was introduced.

Hope this clears things up!

Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:19 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 4:57 pm
 

BCS projections, Nov. 19, little movement

There shouldn't be very much movement in this week's BCS standings

Arkansas fell to tenth in the coaches' poll and ninth in the Harris poll.  The Hogs will still be pretty high overall this week, but outside the top five.

Alabama's lead over No. 3 Virginia Tech is 120 points - or more than two points per voter.  That means the Hokies are more like the fourth-rated team than the third-rated team.  Stanford is only two points behind Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma St is another 44 points back of that.  It's hard to imagine voters voting one of those three teams up suddenly next week.

The bowl projections have been updated.  Michigan is still slotted in the Sugar Bowl, although the Wolverines will need to get into the top 14 to qualify.  They project 16th this week.  The projections assume losses by Georgia and Oklahoma, and they should also pass whichever team loses the Big Ten title game.

One thing that baffles me is the notion that we will have an LSU-Alabama rematch for the BCS title no matter what happens next week.  That's silly.  There is no justification for rematching those teams if Georgia wins the SEC.  If there is going to be a rematch at that point, it should be Georgia-LSU, not Alabama-LSU.  Alabama would have won nothing.  Not the division, not the league, nothing.  I realize that is true even if LSU wins the SEC, but it's a lot easier to make the case that the Tide is the second best team in the league (and country) if only one team was more successful than them in conference play.




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