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Tag:Nebraska
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:16 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:20 pm
 

Feb.14 bracket

Ohio State didn't last very long as a No. 1 seed.  The loss to Michigan State has knocked them back to the two line in today's bracket, replaced by Duke.  The biggest difference is that Duke has shown it can win away from home (Columbus excluded).  Its top four wins are all away from Cameron.

That said, I'm not optimistic for Duke long term unless they get their defense fixed.

Kansas is also pushing for the top line, but at the moment, the loss to Davidson separates them.

North Carolina and Michigan State could still get there as well.  It's a very competitive top of the bracket still for this late in the season.

Baylor is not likely to find itself as a one-seed again this season.  I have the Bears down to a three this week after they got smoked at Missouri over the weekend.

The SEC is a muddle.  Florida has now been swept by Tennessee and has only one of its eight top 100 RPI wins away from home.  The Gators are 2-5 in road games and have four of their next five on the road.

The first of those games is at Alabama.  Alabama's roster issues could give the committee fits.  With four starters suspended, the Tide lost at LSU over the weekend.  Two of those starters will return for the Florida game tonight, but leading scorer JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell are still out.

The committee does consider missing players when doing selections and (moreso) seeding.  A team has to have the credentials to get picked regardless of your roster situation during the season.  They won't take a 17-15 team that was missing its leading scorer for 10 games, even if they lost all 10.  The committee cannot assume a result would have been different if the roster was at full strength.  A team might get seeded a little higher in that situation if it is at full strength going into the tournament.

The opposite is also true.  A team losing a key player for the season might get seeded lower if it doesn't play as well without him, but still merits selection.  There are numerous examples of this in the past.   The most recent would be when Purdue was docked a little after Robbie Hummel's (first) knee injury in 2010.

The bottom of the Big Ten is still muddled as well.  Purdue picked up a key win over Northwestern over the weekend, completing the regular season sweep of the Cats.  Illinois continues to fade, now having lost six of seven after dropping a game at Michigan.  The Illini host Purdue tomorrow in what has to be considered a must win.  Illinois goes to Nebraska and Ohio St after that.

It would make sense that at some point, one of those Big Ten teams will fall off the bracket.  Maybe two.  Right now, nobody is really stepping up to take their spots.

The Pac 12 looks for all the world like a one-bid league this year.  That may or may not happen, but it's hard to build an at-large case when nobody can pick up a top 50 RPI win without beating league-leader Cal.  The league has five RPI top 100 teams, and none of them has a non-conference win over a team in the top 50 of the RPI, or over an at-large quality team in the bracket. 

Today's fun fact: All nine Big Ten teams in the bracket rate higher in the RPI than every Pac 12 team except Cal.


Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Feb. 7 bracket

Today's bracket is up with very little change at the top.  The top two lines are the same, and only 3-seed Georgetown moved more than one-line up to join the top 16.  The Hoyas were a five-seed last week.  Florida also moved up one spot to a four-seed.  The Gators have a big opportunity to make a splash tonight at overall No. 1 Kentucky.

Ohio State continues to push for a spot on the top line.  The Buckeyes have some good wins, over a little better quality teams than Baylor, but has losses to Illinois and Indiana and just picked up their first win of any significance outside of Columbus last weekend when they beat Wisconsin.  Almost all of Baylor's best wins have come away from home, and the Bears worst loss came at Kansas.  That's Ohio State's best loss.  So, Baylor still holds on for now.

Marquette dropped a couple spots after getting blown out at Notre Dame.  The Irish continue their climb in the bracket.  They moved up to an 11-seed after being slotted in a First Four game last week.

I can't get Seton Hall out of the bracket yet, despite the Pirates' best effort to fall out.  Their six-game losing streak is troublesome, but they do not have a loss to a triple-digit RPI team yet (Villanova is close though).  The Hall needs to right the ship against Rutgers tomorrow.

Northwestern is also still in the bracket after a bounce-back week that included a win over Nebraska and also at Illinois.  That pick got a lot of criticism last week because at the time, the Cats were 2-6 in the league.  Keep in mind though that conference record and conference standings are not relevant to the selection process.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, not just the conference part, and it doesn't get any special weight.  Conference record is just a number.  And with the unbalanced schedules most leagues play (ridiculously so in the Big East), standings aren't very useful.

I've been talking most of the last month or so about how if a team in the Big Ten is going to drop out of tournament contention, it would likely come from the group of Northwestern, Purdue or Minnesota, but keep an eye on the Fading Illini.  Illinois has lost four of its last five, including two at home, but get a load of their next five games: at Indiana, at Michigan, home vs Purdue, at Nebraska, which has beaten IU at home already, and at Ohio State.  ouchie.  The Illini have picked a bad time to slump.

Oklahoma's stay in the bracket was short lived after home losses to Iowa State and MissouriOle Miss is also gone.  Those two were replaced in the at-large pool by Miami, which won at Duke, and BYU, who crawls back in after beating Gonzaga.

Washington has taken over Cal's spot as the Pac 12 leader, and Drexel is in from the Colonial, in place of George Mason.

We're used to seeing the CAA produce at-large quality champions, and occasionally, multiple bids, but this is a down year for the league.  Only VCU and Drexel are in the RPI top 100, and just barely (86 and 85 respectively).  It's arguably the league's worse season since 1999-2000.  I have the Dragons as a 15-seed today.

The Pac 12 has only one time in the RPI top 50 -- for now.  Cal fell to 48th after losing at home to Arizona this week.  The league has struggled the last two years, but still ranked 7th.  This year, it's down to 10th, and is a miserable 1-31 vs the RPI top 50 (Stanford over Colorado State on Nov. 15).  It's hard to build a case for an at-large bid for anyone based on that performance.  The top three teams in the league are all on the road for two games this weekend, so we could have another mess come next week.


Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:32 am
 

What if....?

The only sure thing in the BCS title chase entering the second-to-last weekend of the season is chaos.  Well, and that LSU will play for the title if it finishes 13-0.

But, what if....

...Alabama beats Auburn?  Barring other upsets, Alabama is likely to play for the title too, but it's not a sure thing.  Voters could get to December 4th and decide they don't want a rematch and/or do want to reward a conference champion.  Is that likely?  It wouldn't seem so, and the only team I could imagine voters going for otherwise would be current human poll No. 6 Oklahoma State.  It's going to be tough for the Cowboys to catch Alabama with Virginia Tech and Stanford ahead of them in the polls though.

...Arkansas beats LSU?  Well, assuming Alabama beats Auburn also, the SEC West falls into a three-way tiebreaker, which in this case, would be decided by BCS standings and head-to-head.  The lowest-rated team of the three in this coming Sunday's rankings would be eliminated, and then head-to-head between the other two would decide it.

So, traditional voting patterns would indicate LSU would drop to third (he who loses last, loses worst).  That would give Alabama the division crown.  You could also make a case for ordering them Arkansas, LSU, Alabama (they beat each other, of course, but Bama's win came at home, while the others won on the road).  That would give Arkansas the West title.  I can't imagine Arkansas winning and still being third, but if that happened, LSU is still the West champion.

In any event, whichever team won would play for the BCS title as a 12-1 SEC champion.  That team's opponent is more uncertain, but it could be one of its divison foes, or again, Oklahoma State.

...Georgia wins the SEC?  I don't think it's a difficult concept to accept that the top two teams in the country could be in the same conference.  But, if that is truly the case, don't you think one of them could manage to win the league?

If the Bulldogs pull it off, expect them to shoot way up the rankings.  They might end up even being the top rated SEC team in the human polls (assuming they beat Georgia Tech this week).  In 2001, two-loss, Big 12 champion Colorado finished ahead of one-loss Nebraska in the polls, but NU ended up in the BCS title game anyway because the polls were only 25% of the formula back then.
In any event, this is the best case scenario for an Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech (if the voters still love them) to get into the title game.  I doubt very seriously that we would have two non-champion SEC teams playing for the BCS title.  However, if that does happen, Georgia still would get to go the Sugar Bowl as the SEC titlist.  That situation is the one exception to the two-team-per-conference limit.

Posted on: November 18, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:16 pm
 

BCS proposals, games of the week

Before I get to the few games that matter this week, there have been some rumored changes being considered for the BCS, each of which have the affect of removing AQ status from league champions and others.  The first proprosal simply does away with AQ status, and the top 10 teams in the BCS ratings play in the BCS games.  The more recent proposal says that the BCS would only manage a 1 vs 2 game and leave the other bowls to their own devices.

I can't imagine anyone liking the first proposal except the SEC, which is probably arrogant enough to think it will always have a top ten team (ok, it always has had a top ten team, so maybe that's not arrogance). 

That second proposal, you may notice, is a step away from a playoff, not toward one.  It's essentially the way things used to be, except for the addition of a 1 vs 2 game.  The Big Ten (who reportedly proposed it) and SEC would be the only leagues in favor of this because it would remove the restriction on how many teams from one conference could go to a big bowl game.  We do know how many would go from the non-major conferences: zero.  Heck, throw the ACC and Big East in there too.

So, I think it's safe to say neither proposal seems very likely to pass.

On to this week's games.  It's a relatively quiet week, especially for mid-November.

USC at Oregon -- The Ducks need to avoid a letdown after the big win over Stanford, but this program has been on the big stage before and should be able to do that.  The Trojans' speed may make this a tougher matchup that Stanford was for the Ducks.

Oklahoma at Baylor -- Before the Bedlam, there is still the matter of containing RG3.

Nebraska at Michigan -- A spot in the Fiesta Bowl could be at stake for the winner.

Penn State at Ohio State -- The Nits lead in the Big Ten's Leaders division is now tenuous at best.

Cincinnati at Rutgers -- The Bearcats were in firm control of the Big East until last week's loss to West Virginia, which also cost them the services of QB Zach Collaros.  They still have a one-game lead, but five teams are on their heels, including the Scarlet Knights.


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: October 30, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 11:22 pm
 

BCS and bowl notes, Oct. 30

Stanford made its inevitable move past Boise State in the BCS this week and will now try (but ultimately fail) to close on Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma is at the top of the list of one-loss teams at No. 6, and might be able to stay there for a while.  Oregon is actually ahead of the Sooners in both the Harris and coaches' polls, but Oklahoma's computer strength might be good enough to hold off the Ducks long-term.

Arkansas is sandwiched between those two in the BCS ratings, and can't be ruled out as a contender yet.  The Hogs still have LSU on the schedule, but for them, it would really help to be the division (and conference) winner, but they do not control their own desitny.  Arkansas could be like Michigan State last year and go 11-1 and have no chance for a BCS berth because of two more desireable teams in its own league.
Of course, one more team will join that battle next week.

Houston has quietly crept up to No. 13, and if it weren't for Boise State, would be high enough in the rankings to automatically qualify for a BCS spot.  Unfortunately, that only goes to the highest rated non-AQ conference champion, and it'll take at least one Bronco loss to knock them below the Cougars.

Penn State is not really getting much respect from the voters or the computers, but the No. 16 Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and are the last undefeated team in conference play.  Nebraska, Michigan and MSU are in a three-way tie for first in the Whatever Division.  It could have been a four-way tie, but Iowa managed to do something that not even New Mexico State and North Dakota State could accomplish -- lose to Minnesota.

And who would have thought we'd enter November with teams like Wake Forest, Virginia and UCLA still in control of their own destinies for conference titles, but Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia and Florida State needing help.

I am still one team short of the number needed in this week's bowl projections.  Toledo is left standing at the altar at the Little Caesar's Bowl.


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.
--

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.


Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:28 pm
 

BCS games to watch

This week's BCS games to watch:

North Carolina at Clemson -- The Tigers have three of their final four on the road, so it is important for them to take care of business at home.

Oklahoma St at Missouri -- This is arguably the toughest game left for the Cowboys before their season-ending showdown with Oklahoma.  Baylor and Kansas St are on the schedule too, but those games are at home.

Wisconsin at Michigan St -- The Spartans are probably best equipped to defend the Badgers, but they will have to do it without suspended DE William Gholston.

Washington at Stanford -- I'm not a bettor, but I can't believe Stanford is a three-touchdown favorite.  Washington (5-1) has played well behind QB Keith Price.  The Huskies almost took down Nebraska in Lincoln.

Auburn at LSU -- No Honey Badger.  No Spencer Ware.  So, LSU will be shorthanded.  This could be a dangerous spot for the Bayou Bengals.

USC at Notre Dame -- No BCS impact for the Trojans.  They are not eligible for the post-season.  However, they can all but end their rivals' chances of getting to the BCS with an upset in South Bend.
 
 
 
 
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