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BCS Playoff Plan for an alternative reality

December 6, 2010 3 comments

Like everybody else, I have my own college football playoff plan. My plan involves using the current system that is in place, namely, the BCS standings. But my system would include 16 teams and include all 11 conference champions. That would leave 5 additional “at-large” selections that would be based on the final BCS standings. For those of you who think the SEC is the best conference, you’ll get to see the same two teams going to BCS bowls and LSU. Big Ten fans would get Michigan State and everybody would get Boise State. This 16 team playoff would begin the two weeks following Thanksgiving weekend. That would require all conferences to have their champion crowned a week early. This can be done by starting the season a week earlier, or eliminating the 12th game on the schedule. Because of the money involved with the 12th game, let’s assume the season starts a week before Labor Day.

Here’s how the playoff would work. The first round would be played on the home field of the higher seeded team this upcoming weekend and the matchups would be adjustable in the case of two conference teams meeting for the second time. For instance, if Arkansas and LSU were 8 and 9 seeds, the 7 and 10 matchup would switch with them to make a 7 vs. 9 and 8 vs. 10. For this season the matchups would be:

#1 Auburn vs. #16 Florida International

#2 Oregon vs. #15 Miami (OH)

#3 Texas Christian vs. #14 Connecticut

#4 Stanford vs. #13 Central Florida

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Virginia Tech

#6 Ohio State vs. #11 Boise State

#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 LSU

#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State

Those are the first round matchups, and for illustration purposes, let’s assume that all of the higher seeded teams win.

Now is where my playoff plan differs from most, if not all others. The eight winning teams would fill-in the four BCS bowl games and the eight losing schools would be free to play in a season ending bowl game as well. This means that the bowl system would remain intact. The teams would be re-seeded at this point, but the historical bowl tie-ins would apply when possible. That means the Rose Bowl would have the Pac-10 against the Big Ten and the Sugar Bowl would have the SEC team. Since there are two Big Ten schools remaining, the lower seeded team would matchup with highest seeded Rose Bowl qualifier, Oregon. All of the bowls would be played on New Year’s Day. Here is how the bowls would matchup:

Sugar Bowl

#1 Auburn vs. #8 Arkansas

Rose Bowl

#2 Oregon vs. #6 Ohio State

Orange Bowl

#3 TCU vs. #7 Oklahoma

Fiesta Bowl

#4 Stanford vs. #5 Wisconsin

Using this year’s calendar the winners would then move on, re-seeding in the case of an upset, to play on the next Saturday with at least 7 days off between. This upcoming year would be January 8, 2011. If New Year’s Day fell on, say, a Monday, the next round would be played a week from the next Saturday, 12 days later. This round would be played in two neutral locations such as the Georgia Dome or Jerry’s World. Assuming the higher seeded teams win, the match-ups would be this:

Semi-Final Round

#1 Auburn vs. #4 Stanford

#2 Oregon vs. #3 TCU

The championship game could be played at the current location according to the BCS championship game rotation. This game would be played on the Saturday or Sunday night two weeks following the semi-final round. This year that would be January 22nd or 23rd. Assuming the higher seeded teams win, the matchup would be the same as the BCS championship game to be played on January 10th. Unlike the BCS schedule, my plan would not involve any games during the week, except for the New Year’s Day bowl games.

My plan, while not perfect, would give 14 more teams a chance at the championship. How many more games than the current system would be needed? Eleven. Only eleven more games total. The date for the opening round games is early because this system is integrating the bowls and there needs to be time for bowls to prepare for their games without interference from the playoff system.

Why have all 11 conference champions? Well, it provides a nice reward for those teams at the top, like Auburn and Oregon this season, by matching them up with a lesser opponent. But it gives all of the FBS schools that chance to dream about the impossible. Nobody at Miami (OH) ever even dreams about a national championship. This system would provide just a little bit of that false hope. And when it comes to college sports, isn’t that false hope what drives March Madness? Just eleven more games to get a true champion. What do you say, NCAA?

Week 14 College Football Weekend Recap

Thoughts on this weekend’s play as I root for something to happen that bust up the BCS National Championship…

1. Oregon beat Oregon State 37-20: The Ducks finished the job yesterday and completed an undefeated regular season by winning the Civil War game against the Beavers. The only undetermined thing for the Ducks is where LaMichael James finishes in the Heisman voting.

2. Auburn beat South Carolina 56-17: Where was the Mercy Rule? This actually could have been worse which tells you how mediocre the Gamecocks are, but also how good Auburn and Cam Newton is. Newton will be confirmed as the best player in college football next Saturday unless something comes up about his recruitment before then. That national championship, while not the one I wanted, is going to be fantastic and the scoring should be early and often.

3. TCU was idle.

4. Stanford was idle.

5. Wisconsin was idle.

6. Ohio State was idle.

7. Arkansas was idle.

8. Michigan State was idle, but Coach Mark D’Antonio was not. He was out campaigning for a BCS bowl berth with a legitimate argument that they beat Wisconsin and Ohio State did not. It would be interesting if Ohio State was given the shaft because of that and E. Gordon Gee’s comments about the non-BCS qualifying schools.

9. Oklahoma beat Nebraska 23-20: The Sooners came back from 17-0 down in the first half and beat their longtime rivals in the last Big 12 championship game. That puts Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl against, most likely, the Big East champion UConn. The early line is Oklahoma minus 35.

10. LSU was idle.

Other notables:

11. Boise State beat Utah State 50-14: The Broncos completed their season at 11-1 which included the best out of conference win in all of college football against Virginia Tech. Could they beat another top team? Nobody will ever know because the corrupt BCS system will keep the Broncos out and we’ll have to watch the entitled programs of the SEC and Big Ten in the top bowl games. Boise State will be playing an unranked opponent with a .500 record or from a mediocre conference. My alternative playoff solution will be unveiled later today.

Virginia Tech beat Florida State 44-33: Tech goes to the Orange Bowl after beating the Seminoles. The Hokies haven’t lost since their first week of the season. That first week consisted of two games and torpedoed any chance of competing for a national championship. You can be sure that the Hokies won’t be scheduling 2 games in a five day period ever again.

UConn beat South Florida 19-16: The Huskies head to their first BCS bowl game after beating South Florida on a last second field goal. Ten years after moving their program to the top level, UConn wins their first major conference championship. I don’t know about anybody else, but I can’t wait for that natural rivalry between TCU and UConn to develop. Heck, they both have a “U” and a “C” in their names to fight over. UConn will probably face Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Miami (OH) beat Northern Illinois 26-21: The MAC championship goes to Miami after their last minute comeback win over the Huskies. Although their first round game will be tough, Miami should be able to compete with Oregon for about a quarter. Oh, that’s not happening. Sorry. Miami heads to a bowl game that you will only care about if you’re doing a pool.

In another note, the Sisters of the Poor Conference (WAC) had their fourth place team, Fresno State, beat their Big Ten opponent Illinois on Friday night. No comment out of Columbus after that game.

If I had a Heisman ballot, it would look like this:

1. Cameron Newton QB Auburn

2. Kellen Moore QB Boise State

3. LaMichael James RB Oregon

That’s the final College Football Weekly Recap of the season. My alternative, playoff based solution to determining the national championship will be unveiled on Monday.

Mountain West Basketball Overview Dec.1

December 1, 2010 1 comment

This is the first installment of the Mountain West college basketball overview which will take a look at a few things over the course of the season. This overview will not be focusing as much on predictions (yet) or day-to-day recaps, but on the overall conference strengths and weaknesses, and the individual teams and how their schedules and results will impact how they get slotted in March. The overview will try to cut through the typical B.S. that is fed to us from the media and their “opinion” polls. While not as egregious as college football, the NCAA tournament bubble is always full of mediocre big conference teams who don’t get challenge out of conference and wonder why they miss out on the tournament (Hi Jim Boeheim). The overview is intended to praise those schools that get challenged and who go and challenge good teams. In addition to the scheduling issues, the overview will be following three storylines over the course of the season:

1. Will the MWC conference power rating finish ahead of either the Pac 10 or SEC, or both?

  • The overall out of conference (OOC) schedule of most of the teams in the MWC are geared towards giving the whole conference a very strong power rating. In addition, high quality wins add to that profile and enable the top schools to compete for top seeds that are normally reserved for the BCS conferences. With the exception of New Mexico, the three other NCAA teams from last season have or could have multiple high quality wins on their resume going into the conference season. That will help the overall perception of the conference and insulate those teams from the inevitable slip-ups that happen on the road in conference play. That also gives that second tier of teams a chance to get tournament consideration should they surprise a couple of the top teams and get double digit wins in the conference.

2. Could BYU or UNLV end up with a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament?  

  • These two teams already have high profile wins with opportunities for more. If either one, or both, can navigate their OOC schedule with no losses or only one between them, they can both make runs at that #1 seed, probably in the West. If either team is sitting with 2-3 losses when Selection Sunday rolls around, they will have to be in the discussion for a #1 seed, if not a lock. That’s a reflection of how good their schedules are and how solid the rest of the conference is. Both of these teams should be in the subjective Top 10 polls throughout the season which should help them as well. BYU’s games against UCLA and Arizona can help the MWC separate themselves from the Pac-10 and help the selection committee envision one or both of these teams as potential #1 seeds.

3. Can another team, besides BYU and UNLV, join those schools as a Sweet 16 seed in this year’s tournament?

  • Both New Mexico and San Diego State can play themselves into a possible Sweet 16 seed for the tournament. The Lobos have more work to do than the Aztecs, but both are possibilities. The Aztecs already have a key win over Gonzaga and play some other good power rating games. In addition, they would need a very good conference record, probably in the 11-12 win range with some MWC tournament success. The Lobos are similar, but without that high profile Gonzaga-type win, they would need at least 12 conference wins. But they had 14 last season. The MWC can make big waves on Selection Sunday if either of these teams can make it 3 Sweet 16 seeds in the Big Dance.

Team Overviews: Records are going into December 1st and one of the factors that will be used for quality of opponent will be Ken Pomeroy’s rating system, which is not perfect, but tends to be the fairest in terms of strength of opponent. The RPI will be considered as well following 10-12 games played for each team.

Air Force Falcons

  • A 3-1 start with a bad loss to a non-division I team. They had one gimme and another non-division I game.
  • The Academy has a pretty weak OOC schedule with only the game at UTEP being a “tough” game. They also play 4 more gimmes.
  • The Falcons are not looking at a tournament bid this season unless they win the MWC tournament.

Brigham Young Cougars

  • A 6-0 start with solid wins over Utah State and Saint Mary’s. They also had 3 gimmes.
  • The Cougars’ challenging OOC games are Arizona in Salt Lake City, UCLA in Anaheim, and UTEP. They have 4 more gimmes.
  • The OOC schedule is set up for BYU to be undefeated, or have only one loss going into the MWC season. An undefeated OOC record, combined with a 1-2 loss conference record could vault the Cougars into the discussion for a top 2 seed on Selection Sunday. To get that, a MWC tournament championship must be won as well. If they have an OOC loss, then they’ll have to go at least 13-3 in MWC play and not lose before the conference championship game to get a Sweet 16 seed.

Colorado State Rams

  • A 2-1 start with 2 gimme wins.
  • The Rams OOC has challenging games against Kansas in Kansas City and possibly Ole Miss in Cancun. They also have 3 more gimmes.
  • If the Rams can navigate their OOC well and have 11-12 wins, then a good conference run to 10-11 wins might get them onto the bubble for Selection Sunday. If they play Ole Miss, that might be a possible bubble tie-breaker type game for them.

Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels

  • A 6-0 start with good wins over Wisconsin, Tulsa and Virginia Tech. Murray State was a solid win as well. They also had 2 gimmes.
  • The Rebs also play at Louisville and Kansas State in Kansas City before MWC play. They have 3 more gimmes.
  • An undefeated OOC record will put the Rebels on track for a top seed on Selection Sunday. Their OOC profile is as good as anybody in the country. With an undefeated OOC record, they could possibly go only 13-3 in conference to lay claim to a #1 seed. They can even get a Sweet 16 seed with only 10-11 wins if that OOC record is unblemished. If they lose once, they would need to increase their win total by 1 or 2 to make up ground for those seeds.

New Mexico Lobos

  • A 4-1 start with a loss at California. They have 2 gimmes and a non-division I win.
  • Their OOC games include Colorado, at Texas Tech, and at Dayton. They have 5 more gimmes. This is a fairly weak OOC schedule for a lower high major team with NCAA aspirations.
  • The Lobos are going to need to get 12-13 wins OOC. Then they’ll have to do some good work in conference, probably needing 11 wins to get on the bubble. As tough as the top of the MWC is, the bottom is that soft. Their power rating is going to need high profile wins, and their lack of a high profile OOC game makes their MWC games against BYU and UNLV huge. A repeat of that 14-2 conference record should get them into the Sweet 16 seed discussion.

San Diego State Aztecs

  • A 6-0 start with a good win at Gonzaga and 3 gimmes. They also played one non-division I game.
  • The Aztecs OOC upcoming good games are St. Mary’s, Wichita State, and at California. They also have 4 more gimmes and another non-division I game.
  • The Aztecs are set up with a good OOC road win that they can hang their hat on come March. If they can get through with a minimum of 1 OOC loss, they have a chance to play themselves into a Sweet 16 seed with 12-13 conference wins. At least 11 wins will be needed to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

TCU Horned Frogs

  • A 5-2 start with 3 gimme wins.
  • They have upcoming OOC games at Texas Tech, at Nebraska, and at Tulsa. They also have 3 more gimmes.
  • The Horned Frogs had an interesting start and their profile would be interesting if they can get through with only 2-3 losses. If they can overachieve with double digit conference wins, they might find themselves on the bubble come Selection Sunday. That would require them to have 1-2 high profile conference wins.

Utah Utes

  • A 4-2 start with one gimme win and a non-division I win.
  • The Utes OOC games include at Michigan, Boise State, Butler in Hawaii, Florida State/Hawaii in Hawaii, and a 3rd Hawaii game. They also have 1 more gimme. A pretty solid schedule for the computers.
  • The Utes can keep themselves in the hunt by getting through the OOC schedule with no more than 4 losses. That would give them an opportunity to win 10-11 conference games to make it on the bubble for Selection Sunday. That would also get Jim Boylen the MWC coach of the year award.

The Mountain West is a perfectly sized college basketball conference with 9 teams and a full round robin schedule with 16 games. They also have the member schools scheduling to increase their conference computer ranking which will help everybody looking for an at-large bid come Selection Sunday. Don’t be surprised if this conference has four locks going into March and another team has an opportunity to play itself in. It’s a shame that this conference is sort-of breaking up, because they are poised to have their best season yet.

That’s my first Mountain West overview. These should come bi-weekly until conference action gets going in January. Other conference overviews will follow daily. Previous overviews can be found below:

See the Big East Overview from Nov.23

See the ACC Overview from Nov.24

See the Big Ten Overview from Nov.25

See the Big 12 Overview from Nov.26

See the SEC Overview from Nov.28

See the A-10 Overview from Nov.29

See the Pac-10 Overview from Nov.30

Week 13 College Football Weekend Recap

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Thoughts on this weekend’s play as I root for TCU to bust up the BCS National Championship. Where have you gone Boise State?

1. Oregon beat Arizona 48-29: The Ducks continued their onslaught of Pac 10 competition. Even when an opponent can slow them down in one half, the Ducks come storming back and this week they scored 34 points in the second half. It’s tough to win when you give up 389 yards on the ground, which is what Arizona did. LaMichael James is fading in his bid for the Heisman Trophy, but it looks like he might get the national championship. All that’s left for the Ducks is the Oregon State Beavers in the “Civil War” game. TCU beat the Beavers in September, and would love to see the Beavers end their season with a win.

2. Auburn beat Alabama 28-27: What a great comeback by the presumptive Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and the Tigers! They looked like road kill midway when Mark Ingram broke that long run that ended with him fumbling out of the end zone. Auburn was without two defensive starters who were suspended for the first half for fighting in their last game against Georgia. Their defense looked completely different when they returned in the second half. The Auburn defense forced two turnovers and two field goals in the red zone which provided the difference in the final score. The mark of a good team is to win despite the other team playing better. That’s what happened on Friday in Tuscaloosa. The only on-field barrier to Auburn playing in the BCS national championship is South Carolina next Saturday in the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Off the field, who knows if, or how many more Cam Newton stories will surface as they get closer to a championship.

3. TCU beat New Mexico 66-17: The Horned Frogs completed their perfect regular season by rolling the Lobos. This game was relatively close at halftime before the Frogs outscored the Lobos 35-0 in the second half. A loss by either Oregon or Alabama should get TCU their dream shot at the title. Otherwise, they most likely play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl in what should be an explosive matchup.

4. Boise State lost to Nevada 34-31: A shocker in Reno! Kicker Kyle Brotzman missed two chip shot field goals at the end of regulation and in overtime giving the Wolfpack the upset. The loss to Nevada will definitely keep the Broncos out of the BCS championship discussion and will probably keep them out of a BCS bowl game. Hello Humanitarian Bowl. What a joke this system is. Hey Ohio State President Gee, if your school had the courage to schedule the Broncos, they would show you what a dynamic, exciting offense is all about. Boise State still has the best out of conference win at the BCS level this season in their win over Virginia Tech. Maybe the Fiesta Bowl takes a chance on the two-time Fiesta Bowl champion? Oh, they need to beat Utah State next week first.

5. LSU lost to Arkansas 31-23: Arkansas’ quarterback Ryan Mallett dropped by from his own 20 with 6 seconds remaining in the first half and threw a strike to Cobi Hamilton at midfield and Hamilton broke a few tackles and made a few more defenders miss as he ran the remaining 50 yards for an 80 yard touchdown pass to end the first half. That was the difference in a close game that was close throughout. Presumably, Arkansas would jump over LSU for a BCS slot and go to the Sugar Bowl if Auburn wins next week. Not so fast, my friend as Lee Corso would bellow. Remember that the Sugar Bowl is in New Orleans and LSU is the home team. They both have the same 10-2 record and there will be a lot of local pressure on the Sugar Bowl to invite Les Miles’ team.

6. Stanford beat Oregon State 38-0: Stanford continues to roll and has really only played one bad half this season. Stanford can claim an automatic BCS bowl game by finishing in the top 4 of the BCS standings. If they do this, the rumor is that they will head to Miami and the Orange Bowl. They got two teams in front of them who lost, but, will they hold of Wisconsin in the standings?

7. Wisconsin beat Northwestern 70-23: The Wildcats aren’t great, but they did win 7 games. The Badgers are a beast and you kind of pine for the old days when the Pac 10 and Big Ten winner would meet in Pasadena before the BCS. The only way we see Oregon and Wisconsin matchup in Pasadena is if the Ducks lose next week. Otherwise, it’s most likely TCU. A wildcard would be Stanford if Auburn lost and TCU went to the championship game. The Rose Bowl would undoubtedly want that Big Ten/Pac 10 matchup if given the chance.

8. Ohio State beat Michigan 37-7: Rich Rodriguez went 0-3 against The Ohio State University and will probably not get another chance. The Buckeyes took control in the second quarter and were never challenged after that. Ohio State is rumored to be the choice for the Sugar Bowl as long as the standings don’t turn upside down and send the Buckeyes to Pasadena.

9. Oklahoma State lost to Oklahoma 47-41: What a wild 4th quarter in the Bedlam game. Forty combined points made for an exciting finish. Oklahoma finally went on the road and got a good win against the Cowboys. That sets up the final Big 12 title game next week. There’s a 99% chance that it will be the classic Big 8 rival game between Nebraska and Oklahoma. They should have Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne for the pregame coin toss. The winner will go to a BCS bowl game, probably the Fiesta, while the loser will miss out.

10. Michigan State beat Penn State 28-22: Sparty completed their best regular season in 20 years as they tied for the Big Ten title. Despite that, they not only miss out on the Rose Bowl, they will miss out on the BCS altogether. I’d bet if you got coach D’Antonio under the truth serum, he’d beg for a playoff system. The Spartans head to Florida, Tampa or Orlando, to face an SEC team.

Other BCS Notes:

Virginia Tech will face Florida State in the ACC title game after NC State lost to Maryland. Virginia Tech became the first team to go undefeated in ACC play since Florida State in 2000.

The Big East stinks and they’ll be probably be providing an unranked team to the Fiesta Bowl, especially if it’s UConn. This just goes to show that college football is not a meritocracy, but a bureaucratic mess. Right now, 7-4 UConn is in first place and just has to win next week at South Florida. Second place West Virginia will finish at 9-3 if they win and goes to the Fiesta if UConn loses. That’s what the BCS needs to happen to save face.

South Carolina will play Auburn in the SEC championship game. They only go to a BCS bowl game with a win.

After next week’s bowl selection, I will be unveiling my alternative playoff system to the BCS that isn’t perfect, but provides a much better, and fairer, system to determine the national champion.

You can find all of the information used to compute the BCS rankings below, please direct your hate mail to the owners of these computer rankings:

BCS selection procedures

BCS Poll

Components (not including AP Poll)

Harris Interactive Poll

Anderson & Hester

Richard Billingsley

Colley Matrix

Kenneth Massey

Jeff Sagarin

Peter Wolfe

These are the hated components that replace the potential on-field playoff that the great sport deserves.

Week 12 College Football Weekend Recap

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Thoughts on this weekend’s play as I root for the BCS busting TCU-Boise State National Championship matchup.

1. Oregon was idle: The Ducks have two more games remaining before the bowl selections come out. They’ve got Arizona on Friday and Oregon State a week later on Saturday. The Ducks looked invincible until last week, when Cal might have shown how to play the Ducks. LaMichael James is in the second place race for the Heisman, which might become first if Cam Newton becomes ineligible in the next two weeks.

2. Auburn was idle: The Iron Bowl with Alabama comes on Friday. The Newton story is the wildcard with the Tigers. If he is found to be ineligible during the next few weeks, Auburn’s season would be over and conference rival LSU would most likely benefit by replacing them in the BCS championship. If nothing happens, then South Carolina would provide the last obstacle to the Tigers playing in the BCS championship game.

3. TCU was idle: TCU fell after last week’s close call with San Diego State and Utah’s complete no-show at Notre Dame. They’ve got a bad New Mexico team this week to complete their undefeated regular season.

4. Boise State beat Fresno State 51-0: It’s hard to look more dominate than the Broncos did on Friday night. Everything was clicking and Boise looked like the best team in the country. Hopefully all of the voters were watching and agree. Their computer ranking should improve slightly after that game as well since Fresno is an above average team. They should go by TCU either in today’s standings or after next week. For those of you who don’t believe in Boise State, they have, without a doubt, the best out of conference win in college football with their win over Virginia Tech in the opener. Nobody in the SEC has anything close to that. Kellam Moore is in that race with LaMichael James and Andrew Luck for 2nd place in the Heisman as well. He’ll get a chance to showcase his talent again on ESPN on Friday night against Nevada. The following week they play Utah State to complete their regular season.

 5. LSU beat Mississippi 43-36: LSU hung on against a lesser opponent again. If you’re looking for a dominating performance, don’t go to Baton Rouge. The Tigers haven’t been overly impressive this season, but they just win. And they’ve won enough to position themselves to replace Auburn if Newton were to be declared ineligible at some point. Otherwise, a win over Arkansas next weekend will likely send them to the Sugar Bowl. If everything continues as is, I’m rooting for a Boise State-LSU Sugar Bowl. That would be a fun game to watch.

6. Stanford beat Cal 48-14: The Cardinal win the “Big Game” this year. Andrew Luck continues to impress and his coach, Jim Harbaugh, is likely to follow him to the NFL after the season if you believe what the NFL “insiders” are saying. Stanford might be the odd team out of the BCS bowl race. They’re not a traditional power with enormous state university alumni bases. So in the eyes of these bowl games, “they don’t travel well”. This means that they won’t bring tens of thousands of fans to whichever bowl game they go to. Before then, Stanford has to get by enigmatic Oregon State, who seems to be in the middle of everything this season with 4 of the top 6 teams in the country on their schedule.

7. Wisconsin beat Michigan 48-28: The Badgers continue to roll and they look like they might be the best one loss team in the country. Although they didn’t get to 83 points this week, they almost got to 50 against the Wolverines. They will head to the Rose Bowl if they beat Northwestern and Ohio State beats Michigan or Penn State beats Michigan State.

8. Nebraska lost to Texas A&M 9-6: Hopefully that’s it for an overrated Cornhuskers team. A&M might be finally back after years being down.  They have a chance to get to 9-3 with a win on Thursday against Texas. That’s not good for Mack Brown. He’ll be on the hot seat, believe it or not, because of this. Nebraska is a year away from being a contender, but this season helped them get used to being a top 10 team and carrying the bull’s-eye that comes with it. Nebraska will still get to the Big 12 title game with a win against Colorado on Friday.

9. Ohio State beat Iowa 20-17: Ohio State just wins. Every year under Jim Tressel looks the same. Eleven wins and a tough loss that keeps them out of the title game. Ohio State needs Northwestern to beat Wisconsin to go back to Pasadena. Otherwise, they’ll be in the hunt for an at-large bid to one of the other BCS bowl games.

10. Oklahoma State beat Kansas 48-14: The Cowboys continue to roll and are in the driver’s seat to play in their first Big 12 championship game. To get there, they need to win the “Bedlam” game against Oklahoma on Saturday night. The best news for the Pokes is that their coach, who would normally be up for a bigger job after his success, is an alum who won’t be going anywhere. The future looks good in Stillwater.

Other BCS Notes:

Virginia Tech will face North Carolina State in the ACC title game if the Wolfpack can beat Maryland next weekend. Virginia Tech is a win away from becoming the first team to go undefeated in ACC play since Florida State in 2000.

The Big East stinks and they’ll be probably be providing an unranked team to the Fiesta Bowl. Just plain awful and there’s still talk that either Boise State or TCU will not even be selected to a BCS bowl. How is that justified? This just goes to show that college football is not a meritocracy, but a bureaucratic mess. Right now, 6-4 Pittsburgh is in first place. Second place West Virginia could actually finish at 9-3 if they win out. That’s what the BCS needs to happen to save face.

Other teams looking at a possible BCS bowl berth:

Michigan State at 10-1 is in a 3 team race for the Rose Bowl. If they win and cross state rival Michigan upsets Ohio State, then the Spartans go to Pasadena. Otherwise, they are probably going to miss out on the BCS and head to Florida for their New Year’s Day game.

Alabama has Auburn this week and a win against Auburn can put them in a position to get an at-large berth.

Arkansas has LSU on Saturday with an outside shot at getting into a BCS game if they win that game and Auburn wins out.

Oklahoma heads into the “Bedlam” game with a good chance at going to the Big 12 championship game with a win over their in-state rivals. The higher ranked BCS team goes in the case of a three way tie.

Missouri needs help from Colorado in their game against Nebraska to go to the Big 12 championship game.

South Carolina will play Auburn in the SEC championship game. They only go to a BCS bowl game with a win. Their season finale against Clemson will have no bearing on that.

You can find all of the information used to compute the BCS rankings below, please direct your hate mail to the owners of these computer rankings:

BCS selection procedures

BCS Poll

Components (not including AP Poll)

Harris Interactive Poll

Anderson & Hester

Richard Billingsley

Colley Matrix

Kenneth Massey

Jeff Sagarin

Peter Wolfe

These are the hated components that replace the potential on-field playoff that the great sport deserves.

Can Cam Newton and Auburn help to bring down the BCS system?

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The Cam Newton story is one of the most fascinating stories that I’ve seen in sports in years. That’s why I continue to write about it because there are so many ramifications of the potential outcomes of this story. Due to the various possible outcomes of this story/investigation, the already corrupt BCS system and the coveted Heisman trophy have the potential to be a part of the collateral damage of a messy result.

The cleanest outcome would obviously be if Newton and his family are cleared of all potential wrongdoing and everything that Auburn and Cam accomplish this season can remain on the books. The NCAA usually has its proverbial head in the sand when it comes to big name high dollar programs, especially those in the SEC, unless there’s a smoking gun. It’s going to take a lot more than rumors and innuendo for the NCAA to do anything to Auburn or Newton.

Now if this was Troy University which is nearby Auburn that had this situation going on, things would undoubtedly be different. But Auburn is a part of one of the five best, maybe the best college football rivalry with Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl game. With no major league sports teams in Alabama, these two college football behemoths fill that void. This game is big even when both teams stink, which is rare. The state literally stops when these two teams play. The enormity of these two schools (and the rest of the SEC and other BCS schools) to the college football landscape makes it very difficult for the NCAA to go after them.

If a Reggie Bush-like smoking gun comes up, then the Heisman and potential BCS championship will be in jeopardy. The 2004 championship for USC was vacated and 2005, a season that ended with the disappointing loss to Texas in Pasadena, the BCS got lucky. If USC had won, what would have happened? Texas wouldn’t have been unblemished and without a championship win, how could they be #1? Penn State was the 3rd place team in the final BCS standings and would have played for the championship had USC been ineligible. This was definitely a potential mess that Vince Young and Texas took care of by coming out victorious. A different result would have been disastrous with two consecutive championships being vacated.

In this year’s scenario, things are much more confusing. If all the top teams continue on as they’ve done and win out, then four schools will be undefeated with their own separate cases to be considered for the championship game. The BCS standings will undoubtedly match Oregon versus Auburn based mostly on the computer rankings that are used and also on the polls which give more credit to the Pac 10 and SEC schools. But what would happen if Auburn were to be declared ineligible either today, or, gasp, December 23rd or later?

If between December 5th and January 10th, Auburn (or anybody playing in the championship game) is found to have been using a player who should have been ineligible, is there anything that can be done to reset a legitimate championship game? Assuming that the team in question would be Auburn and that they were playing Oregon, would anybody else be eligible for the BCS championship if Oregon lost to Auburn? Would there be any way to replace Auburn in the game with TCU or Boise State or even LSU? Yes, LSU would have a case if their only loss was to a team using an ineligible player.

As the calendar gets closer to January 10th, the window to change out teams would get smaller and smaller. How ridiculous would a BCS championship game look if one of the participants couldn’t win the championship because they were really 0-13 and not 13-0? While a playoff system isn’t perfect and these types of situations could affect that system as well, it would be easier to plug in the team that lost the previous week to the offending team if the situation were resolved in the week prior to the game.

This is just a messy situation with no great resolution. The BCS system is already on its way to keeping two undefeated teams out of the championship process if everything continues as is. This is the only championship in the world decided by computers and polls, not completely by on field performance. The NCAA gives us the best three weeks of the year in March when schools of all sizes and pedigrees come together inhabiting one of now 68 spots in a bracket with the ultimate dream of playing for a championship. A lot of people who didn’t know Butler from a regular servant were rooting for Butler University to beat the big, bad Duke Blue Devils last April. Boise State and TCU are just looking for that same chance that the NCAA afforded Butler.

I root for chaos every week during the college football season with hopes that a better system comes around to replace the BCS garbage. With this current situation, how do you resolve the already sold game tickets and plane tickets if a change in matchups were needed? Cam Newton and Auburn might possibly wreak even more chaos on this corrupt system than I or anybody else could ever imagine.

Week 11 College Football Weekend Recap

November 14, 2010 1 comment

Thoughts on this weekend’s play as I root for the BCS busting TCU-Boise State National Championship matchup.

1. Oregon beat California 15-13: The Ducks survived a close one thanks to a false start on the Cal kicker. Then the kicker missed the chip shot field goal that followed. Cal played physical on both sides of the ball and it looked like they dominated the line play. They also consistently ran the ball fairly well and I think might have provided the final two opponents and whoever Oregon plays in the BCS championship game a blueprint on how to beat them. But that is easier said than done since their high-powered offense is still effective as they showed running out the clock. One thing to keep an eye on is LaMichael James hurt his ankle, but should be ready after Oregon’s week off. Oregon has Arizona in two weeks and then Oregon State on December 4. Arizona and Oregon State both lost yesterday, Arizona to USC and the Beavers lost to lowly Washington State. It looks like the injuries are taking their toll for the team in Corvallis.

2. Auburn beat Georgia 49-31: Controversy, what controversy? Cam Newton continues to look like the best college football player in years and a definite Heisman favorite as he has started his own category, 150/150. Newton barely missed 150 yards passing after running for over 150. He was simply spectacular and if nothing is proven in the allegations that are out there, then a potential matchup with Oregon would be electric. He looked every bit like a potential top 10, if not top 5 pick in the 2011 draft. He is starting to remind me a lot of Randall Cunningham with his incredible arm, size, and speed. Two Auburn defenders were ejected for punching Georgia players and the rules state that they’re supposed to be suspended for the first half of their next game, which would be Alabama. We’ll see how that affects them in Tuscaloosa. After Alabama, the Tigers will face Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks for a second time in the SEC championship game. Two tough games and if they win both, they will have earned their place in the BCS championship game. Come on Nick and Steve!

 3. TCU beat San Diego State 40-35: Is this their mulligan game? TCU played horribly in the first 6 1/2 minutes and found themselves down 14-0 and then stopped playing in the final 7 minutes and let SDSU back into the game. Those 28 points by the Aztecs in less than a quarter of play made this game a whole lot closer than it really was. TCS had 2 to 1 time of possession average and outgained the Aztecs by 166 total yards of offense. San Diego State has had a good year, and should be even better next year, but the Sagarin computer already doesn’t like TCU’s profile as much as last week. I don’t think their next game against New Mexico will help either.

4. Boise State beat Idaho 52-14: This could have been much worse for the Vandals had running up the score been viewed positively by voters. This game was 28-0 after the first quarter and the Broncos went on cruise control the rest of the way. What was apparent to anybody that watched this game was that Boise State is really good and they shouldn’t be playing in a conference with Idaho. I thought that was a college basketball arena, not a football field. They get to change that next year. But this year, they have the best top 4 BCS win over streaking Virginia Tech, who hasn’t lost in ACC play. If Tech didn’t schedule James Madison four and a half days after playing Boise in a very physical game, then we would be talking about Tech as possibly being the best one loss team. Boise State plays on ESPN2 and ESPN the next two Friday nights against Fresno State and Nevada. Take the opportunity to watch, possibly the best team in the country.

5. LSU beat LA-Monroe 51-0: LSU took care of business against a directional Louisiana school. Another courageous out of conference game for the SEC. LSU is in an interesting situation should Auburn’s problems catch up to them and they have to vacate their wins from earlier in the season. LSU’s only loss is to Auburn and it would be interesting how a vacated loss would affect LSU in the polls and in the computers. Arkansas can make this a moot point in their end of season rivalry game in two weeks. If Boise State cannot get into the championship game, I would really like to see them matchup with LSU in the Sugar Bowl. What a crazy matchup that could be.

6. Stanford beat Arizona State 17-13: Here comes the Cardinal. All Stanford does is win, except when playing Oregon. Andrew Luck was solid, but not spectacular in the ninth win for Stanford. Enjoy this now Stanford, because Luck could be the number one pick in next year’s NFL draft and Jim Harbaugh is going to be highly sought after for an NFL job or by his alma mater, Michigan. Jim’s brother’s success, John with the Baltimore Ravens, makes it a lot easier for NFL owners and GM’s to envision Jim having the same kind of success at that level. Stanford shouldn’t be a threat to pass Boise State or TCU but we never know. So next week at rival Cal and against Oregon State the following week could leave the Cardinal at 11-1. Let’s hope that they lose to one of those teams. It would be a great time for Oregon State to go on a season ending winning streak.

7. Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20: Wow. Wow. Wow. I think Wisconsin made a statement as they look to ensure that they are the highest ranked Big Ten school when it comes to Rose Bowl tiebreakers. I bet Indiana loved that, the Badgers did it for the Roses. Despite their epic dominance, I can’t foresee how they play in the BCS championship game. They should see either TCU or Boise State in the Rose Bowl if Oregon goes undefeated.

8-10. Nebraska beat Kansas 20-3, Ohio State beat Penn State 38-14, and Oklahoma State beat Texas 33-16: All three of these teams are trying to make it to a BCS bowl game but don’t have a chance at the championship. I’ve really been unimpressed by the Big 12’s performance this season as they don’t seem to have any kind of dominant team when Oklahoma isn’t at home. Ohio State travels well and will most likely be playing in a BCS bowl game even if they don’t go to Pasadena. Oh, Terrell Pryor, all potential Mr. Irrelevants can rest easy knowing that you won’t be entering the draft following this season.

More Notes:

You can find all of the information used to compute the BCS rankings below, please direct your hate mail to the owners of these computer rankings:

BCS selection procedures

BCS Poll

Components (not including AP Poll)

Harris Interactive Poll

Anderson & Hester

Richard Billingsley

Colley Matrix

Kenneth Massey

Jeff Sagarin

Peter Wolfe

These are the hated components that replace the potential on-field playoff that the great sport deserves.