Sunday, November 25

Dissecting the BCS: Week 13

I picked one hell of a week to try and figure out the BCS mess, didn't I? Here's a few things that we can look forward to hearing endlessly about this week:

- A team that hasn't played in over a week - with more than a week left in the regular season to boot - has at worst a good shot of playing in the national title game.

- A team that has never been ranked as high as they are today has the inside track at the national title game, but they have their rivalry game coming up this week; if we learned anything from the Texas/Texas A&M game last week, it's that rivalry games are always - always - close.

- Return games. Missouri gets another shot at Oklahoma and Virginia Tech gets a shot at playing a full 60 minutes against Boston College.

- The leading SEC team aiming toward a BCS berth isn't even playing in the SEC championship game. Of course, both of the teams playing in said championship game played at least 3 OT this week (and I wrote about both of those games!).

- 37.5% of the Top 16 teams in the BCS lost last week. Of course, some of these were expected; Kansas or Missouri was going to lose. It was the same case with Virginia Tech and Virginia. Still, add four teams to that mix: LSU (you might've heard of that one), Arizona State (which I've posted about already - that bandwagon never really got rolling), Oregon (no offense = no chance), and Texas (hah!). Still, that's a hell of a lot of movement this late in the season, and there's already some immediate fallout from that. All of those losses were critical.

LSU's Loss: That puts Georgia in the awkward position of being the leading SEC team to get to the title game - without even having to win their own division. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to dissect this rationally beyond saying it's stupid. Still, the strange thing about this is that LSU isn't even eliminated; a Missouri loss (more on them in a second) and a West Virginia meltdown could vault them up with a VT win - and a win over Tennessee. Remember that nobody has beaten the Tigers in regulation this year.

Arizona State (and Oregon) Losses: This ends up forcing a "second verse, same as the first" turn of events in the Pac-10, as USC - yes, that USC, the one we've forgotten about after the loss to Stanford - is now all but guaranteed a Rose Bowl berth. It doesn't mean much in BCS terms thanks to Georgia and Ohio State being already ahead of them with their regular season over, but it's a little sobering to think about. Also of note: Oregon is now below Hawaii in the BCS rankings.

Texas's Loss: Oklahoma was pretty much guaranteed their berth in the Big 12 Championship Game before kickoff yesterday, but the win over Oklahoma State sealed it. Texas has dropped below Hawaii in the BCS as Hawaii creeps toward a BCS berth. Will they get one? I'm not sure, as they may not travel well - but they'll be interesting to watch at worst.

Virginia's Loss: This puts Virginia Tech in USC's position; they can finish Top 5 in the BCS if a couple of things break right, but it also forces a BC/VT rematch, which should be excellent. If VT was to win that game as well, then Hawaii would jump another spot. I'm not sold that'll happen if BC wins.

Either way, we're now in a position with three dead teams in the Top 5 of the BCS and there's really not a lot anybody can do about it. The only computer ranking that's not top 7 for the top 7 BCS teams is Kansas in the Colley Matrix (which we spend enough time mocking that I should probably rename the blog Fire the Colley Matrix, but that's already been done), so there's no real room in the computer rankings.

The end result? It'll be Missouri, West Virginia, and Ohio State going into next week and that's it.