Tag:Clemson
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:47 am
 

A new top seed and a feeble bubble

The new bracket and bubble watch are posted.  There is a new no.1 seed.  Michigan State takes over a spot on the top line, bumping Missouri, which lost for the second time this season to Kansas State.

Expect to see some jumbling of the top eight teams in the bracket as the three conference pairs in that group play each other.  Each pair has a regular season game left, as well as a possible conference tournament game.

Cincinnati finally joins the bracket despite its putrid non-conference schedule.  Their non-conference schedule ranking of 320 would be the second-worst ever to get an at-large bid.  The record is 323, which is held by the 2006 George Washington team, which finished its season 26-2.  The worst ranking for a team that was close to the bottom of the at-large pool was Air Force in 2004, which ranked 315th.

It's only the quality of its wins that has the Bearcats in at all, but before Cinci fans get too comfortable, teams with 5 top 50 RPI wins get left out routinely, so the Bearcats are not comfortably in the field at all.

As it stands right now, Cincinnati would also tie the record for the lowest RPI ever for an at-large team.  New Mexico was also 74th back in 1999.

The committee very rarely rewards teams that only have three top 100 RPI wins.  In the 18 years that I've been tracking the data, it's only happened five times, and not at all since 2003.  Iowa State has a spot in this field though, despite just three top 100 wins, and all at home.  VCU is in the same boat and also pushing for a spot. 
Colorado State is barely in the bracket, despite a top 30 RPI.  I doubt the Rams will set the record for the highest rated team left out (21, Missouri State in 2006), but they have a chance to be in the team picture.  The next highest ranked team left out was 30th.

Teams without at least one top 50 RPI win don't get picked very often.  Clemson was chosen last year despite and 0-5 record against that group, but the Tigers were the first team picked since 2006 without a top 50 win.  This bracket has two such teams (Saint Louis and Washington).

Looks like the NIT is going to be missing more than a few teams this year.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:06 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:30 am
 

Close, but no Cowboys

It was close, relatively speaking.  Oklahoma State came up .0086 short of catching Alabama. That is the closest No. 2 and No. 3 have been since the BCS formula was changed for the 2004 season. In 2006, Florida beat out Michigan by .0101, which was coincidentally the last time we debated the merits of a rematch.

OSU ended up 74 points short of what it needed in the Harris poll to finish ahead of the Tide. That's still a decent sized number. So, it's not like we were in a position where one or two voters could have impacted the outcome.

I can almost always explain why a team got picked for a bowl (it's my job, after all), but I am stunned by the selection of Virginia Tech for the Sugar Bowl.  There were, of course, higher rated teams available, but we all know that rankings don't really mean much.  It's about selling tickets and creating an attractive matchup.

The Hokies haven't traveled especially well to the Orange Bowl in recent years. They aren't necessarily a great TV draw. They lost their conference championship game, which is usually perceived as a big negative by the BCS bowls. I can't think of anything they have over Kansas State.

Boise State might have traveled well too, although they are considerably farther away. Even Baylor, which was eligible to get picked, would have at least given us Denard vs RG3.

Virginia Tech's selection seemed to be a last minute change too. The Sugar appeared to be committed to Kansas State initially.

TCU didn't make it. The Horned Frogs finished 18th, same as they were last week. I felt that three of the teams ahead of them that lost this week had to fall behind them, and that they couldn't get jumped by Clemson or Baylor in the polls. They got the first part. Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma did drop behind the Frogs, but Clemson jumped them. If TCU and Clemson switched point totals in the polls, TCU would have finished 16th and qualified for the BCS.

Houston dropped like a rock after losing to Southern Miss.  The Cougars fell from sixth to 19th.

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.

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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 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 11, 2011 10:57 pm
 

On field talk: BCS games of the week

It may not be a Game of the Century, but it is the Game of the Week.  Stanford and Oregon in Palo Alto likely for the Pac-12 North title, but also to stay in the national championship hunt.

One of the BCS games of the week was played last night, when Virginia Tech won 37-26 at Georgia Tech.  The ACC Coastal division title could come down to the Virginia-Virginia Tech game at the end of the season.

Clemson hosts Wake Forest this week for control of the Atlantic division.

Texas Tech hasn't won, or even looked competent, since beating Oklahoma a few weeks ago.  Now the Red Raiders get their shot at Oklahoma State.  Maybe they only show up for the big games.

There are two big games in the B1G.  Michigan St is at Iowa.  Both teams control their own destiny for the Legends division crown.  MSU will be looking to redeem itself after getting embarrassed in Iowa City last year.

And, of course, Nebraska is in Unhappy Valley to take on Penn State.  As a Big Ten guy, this is a game that would be must see TV for me (even though neither school was in the Big Ten in my day).  Honestly though, I'm not sure I can bring myself to tune in.  Penn St has a two-game lead in the Leaders division, with three very tough games left under the best of circumstances.

Last call for anyone to beat Boise State comes on Saturday, when TCU takes to the smurf turf and takes on the Broncos.

Also, UCLA keeps its push to save Rick Neuheisel's job going -- not to mention to win the Pac-12 South -- as they face Utah in Salt Lake City.

Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:26 am
 

BCS selection process: Michigan vs Oklahoma St

Most of the comments on this week's bowl picks, besides questioning merely having Michigan in the BCS (one more loss and all this is moot), question why the Wolverines get in ahead of Oklahoma State, which would unquestionably be the higher ranked team.  To understand that, you have to understand the BCS bowl selection process.

You also have to understand what bowls are looking for when creating their matchups.  They want the best possible game they can get, and bowls measure that primarily in terms of ticket sales and TV viewers.  Things like rankings, records and conference standings are secondary considerations at best.  That's why there are so many bowl selection rules, like the one that automatically qualifies the highest-rated non-AQ team for the BCS, or the ACC rule that protects a team from being skipped over by a bowl for another team that won more than one fewer conference games.  If bowls could be trusted to go in conference standing/ranking order, those rules wouldn't be necessary.

The BCS has ten spots.  Six are reserved for the AQ conference champions.  In my projection, those are:

Clemson (ACC), Cincinnati (Big East), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Oklahoma (Big 12), Stanford (Pac-12), LSU (SEC).

There are also four at-large spots, but two teams automatically qualify for those in my projection:

Alabama, as the highest-rated AQ non-champion, ranked in the top four.
Boise State, as the highest-rated non-AQ conference champion, ranked in the top 12.

That only leaves two spots open.  The rest of my at-large pool contains:

Arkansas, Georgia, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Virginia Tech.

Note that with LSU and Alabama automatically qualified for the BCS and a two-team limit per conference, Arkansas and Georgia cannot be chosen.

The first thing that happens is that the top two teams go into the title game, and the other contracted conference champions get put in their bowls.  So, we start with:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs ?
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: ? vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

The next step is that the bowls that lost conference champions to the title game get to choose replacement.  They always choose teams from their conference tie-in if one is available.  The Sugar chooses first because it lost the No. 1 team, and takes Alabama.  The Rose picks Oregon to replace Stanford.  Now, we have:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs Oregon
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: Alabama vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

Boise State and Cincinnati still have to go somewhere, so only one at-large spot is open.

The Fiesta gets the first choice of selections for its game in this year's rotation, followed by the Sugar and Orange.  The Fiesta can chose from Boise State, Cincinnati, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.

Michigan blows all of those other teams out of the water in terms of fan base and marquee value.  Not even close.  Also, Michigan's fan base would not be jaded by a recent run of success, as sometimes happens with other schools. 

However, two other choices would be much higher ranked:

Oklahoma State isn't a good choice because conference mate Oklahoma is already there.
Boise State would be OK, but the Fiesta has had the Broncos both times it has been in the BCS (including one memorable meeting with the Sooners), and would probably prefer to leave them for someone else.

So, while the Fiesta might go with Boise, but I think the allure of Michigan will be too good to pass up.

The Sugar gets the next pick, and with only Boise or Cincinnati to choose from, the Broncos are an easy choice.  The Bearcats end up in the Orange, and Oklahoma State and its 11-1 record drop out.

Them's the breaks.  Note that if either of the other bowls had first choice instead of the Fiesta, Oklahoma State would almost certainly be that choice.  Also, if the Fiesta did decide to choose Boise, OSU would almost certainly end up in the Sugar.
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.

--

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.


 
 
 
 
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