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Tag:Penn State
Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:48 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:17 pm
 

Bracket notes; Purdue, ISU get big wins

Purdue and Iowa State picked up huge, resume building wins on Saturday in what was a very busy day.

The Boilermakers got their biggest win of the season at Michigan.  The win for Purdue is just its second over a team that is sure to make the tournament.  It was Michigan's first loss at home all season.

Iowa State picked up its first away-from-home win of any significance when it completed the season sweep of Kansas State.  The Cyclones now have four top 100 RPI wins (despite a gaudy 11-5 conference record), and should be safe if they can get one more.  Teams with just four top 100 wins have received 13 at-large bids in the last 18 years, but that's out of 250 teams.

It was a tough day to be a conference leader.  Temple, Harvard, New Mexico, Long Island, and Middle Tennessee all lost.  Duke, Syracuse, Kansas, Belmont, Drexel, Murray State, Oral Roberts, Nevada and St. Mary's all were pushed to the brink.

Alabama put another nail into Mississippi State's coffin with a win in Tuscaloosa.  The Bulldogs have lost five straight and travel to South Carolina next.  They are only 2-6 on the road.

Northwestern kept its hopes alive with a one-point win at Penn State.  The Wildcats don't have many good wins (just six top 100), but none of their 11 losses have come to non-contenders.  They have a chance to make a statement next when Ohio State visits.

Saint Louis took its worst loss of the season at Rhode Island on Saturday.  For a team with few good wins, that's not a good sign.  Also in the A-10,  Saint Joseph's played their way back onto the bubble with a win over Temple.

Notre Dame lost at St. John's, which is the fourth bad loss of the season for the Irish.  It's also the first loss of any kind since January 16th.

Kansas clinched at least a tie for the Big 12 title with an overtime win over Missouri.  The Jayhawks are continuing their push for a No. 1 seed.

St. Mary's won the West Coast title outright, ending an 11-year streak during which Gonzaga either won or shared the regular season title.

Mostly irrelevant fact of the day: The Ivy League has half its teams in the top 100 of the RPI.  Conference USA, the Colonial, Missouri Valley, Pac-12 and West Coast conferences can't say that.

The bubble watch will be updated this morning.


Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
 

Jan. 25 Bracket

Today's bracket is posted.  Kentucky is the new overall top seed, followed by Missouri, which is the only newcomer to the top line, replacing Duke.

Syracuse and Baylor remain No. 1 seeds despite losses last week.  Kansas is pushing hard, and beat Baylor recently, but the Jayhawks have done most of their damage at home, and still have that extra loss - to Davidson.

Ohio State has also rejoined the fight, but is another team that has struggled away from home.  All three of the Buckeyes' losses have come on the road, to their three best opponents away from home.  They are mighty in Columbus, and the tournament is played there, but Ohio St will be shipped out.

The Big Ten still sports nine teams, but Purdue is hanging on for dear life.  The Boilers have struggled recently, losing at home to Wisconsin and just on Tueday, to Michigan.  They are the only Big Ten team still looking for a win over a ranked opponent.  If the field were more accomplished, Purdue would definitely be on the outside looking in.

Illinois also took a beating this week in the bracket.  The Illini fell from second to seventh after losing at Penn State and at home to Wisconsin.  They are a true six-seed that was moved to seven to help with bracketing considerations, but that is still a sizeable drop.  Also hurting them is that the loss to Purdue looks worse than it did last week.

Cincinnati, despite a 1-2 week, is getting closer to the bracket despite a non-conference schedule rankng 329th out of 344.  That's going to be an albatross around the Bearcats' neck all season long.  The committee, even in an expanded field, still takes a very dim view of that and will eliminate teams for no other reason.

Cinci is also a strange team in that it is better on the road than at home.  The Bearcats are 6-2 in games away from home, but only 9-4 on their home floor, including losses to St. John's and Presbyterian.  That 92 RPI ranking is due to their weak non-conference schedule and their difficulty defending the home floor.

Cincinnati has nothing on Loyola Marymount though.  The Lions are 7-2 on the road, but only 3-6 at home.

And from the Teams Get Bids, Not Conferences departement: Conference USA has four teams in the bracket, but all are 10-seeds or lower.

New to the bracket this week: Ole Miss, Iowa State, Texas and UCF.
Leaving us, for now: Stanford, Northern Iowa, Denver and Colorado State, which is the highest rated RPI team left out.



Posted on: November 20, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:41 pm
 

S-E-C! S-E-C!

The carnage of this weekend will create an unprecedented circumstance in this week's ratings.  The top three teams will all be from one league.  The SEC West trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas will rest atop this week's rankings.

After that?  This week's projection much less predicitable.  The coaches still like Oklahoma St to some degree, and only dropped the Cowboys to sixth.  If the Harris folks vote along similar lines (and the projection is changed to reflect that), OSU should still be fourth overall, and viable as a national title contender.

The coaches were also generous with Oregon (ninth - top rated among two-loss teams) and Oklahoma (11th, behind the Ducks and Michigan State).

In the bowl projections, voters may consider Oklahoma State a viable option if the Cowboys beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12.  However, at the moment, they trail both Virginia Tech and Stanford in the polls.  I don't think it's likely OSU would catch Alabama if they have to jump both of those teams without them losing.  Therefore, a rematch between LSU and Alabama is the current projection.

I do have the Cowboys now winning that game and getting to the Fiesta Bowl.

The Sugar would be without an SEC team, so I have them plucking Michigan as an at-large to play Houston.  Stanford would automatically qualify as an at-large team for the second year in a row and end up in the Fiesta.

This afternoon, the University of Miami announced a self-imposed bowl ban in response to the NCAA investigation of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.  The bowl projections will be changed to reflect that decision.

Also, many are asking about Penn State falling out of the Big Ten bowls entirely.  Unfortunately, right now, the Nittany Lions are toxic to the bowls.  Maybe they will soften on PSU over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe one of the lower tier Big Ten bowls will take a flyer on them with the thought that they might never get another shot at Penn State.

Big Ten bowl rules stipulate that the Rose must take the champion and that the championship game loser cannot fall below the Gator in the selection order.  My projection does not have Penn State winning the division, so there would be no restriction preventing the Nits from falling all the way out, even with nine wins.

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 14, 2011 1:49 am
 

BCS, bowl thoughts, Nov. 13

The more I think about it, the more I think Bedlam will decide one participant in the BCS title game.  Obviously, Oklahoma State controls its own destiny as one of the last two major undefeated teams.  However, if we are in a situation where the Cowboys get beat, especially if Oklahoma is the team to beat them, the Sooners may be the voters only reasonable option if they want to avoid a rematch for LSU.

If that scenario arises, we are looking at three likely opponent choices for LSU:

1. Alabama, which gave the Tigers the better game, but it was a short time ago and the Tide lost to LSU at home.  Alabama won't even be a division champion.

2. Oregon, which was not especially competitive in its season opening loss to LSU, which took place in Dallas.  The Ducks would be Pac-12 champs though.

3. Oklahoma.  The Sooners haven't lost to LSU yet, which would probably appeal to voters, and would also be a confernece champ.  The champion, in fact, of the highest rated league.  Of course, their one loss was a pretty yucky one (yes, that is a scientific term).

I think what little history we have shows voters would go for the Sooners, and the computers would likely back that up.

---

I recevied some comments about Penn State being so low in the Big Ten bowl food chain in this week's projections.  I think bowls may shy away from the Nittany Lions so that their story doesn't become the bowl's story as well.  There is an old saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  I would suggest this is an exception.

The Big Ten has a one-win rule for bowl selections, so Penn State can only drop so far, depending on how other Big Ten teams do.

Is this fair to the players?  No, of course not, but bowl selection has never been about fairness.

---

Boise State is the highest rated non-AQ team this week at No. 10, but because it very likely won't win the Mountain West, it cannot automatically qualify for an at-large BCS berth.

Houston at No. 11 controls its own destiny for that berth, which goes to the highest-rated, non-AQ conference champion as long as it is in the top 12 of the standings, or in the top 16, but ahead of one of the AQ champions.  With the Big East cannibalizing each other, it's pretty likely top 16 is good enough again this year.

That means, if Houston falls, TCU, which is currently No. 19, could end up with that spot.  Or even Southern Miss at No. 20, if the Golden Eagles were to win out and knock the Cougars from the ranks of the unbeated in the C-USA championship game.

Southern Miss in the BCS.  We are a ways still from that happening, but who had that at the beginning of the year?  Put your hands down, liars.

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 6, 2011 9:13 pm
 

BCS thoughts, Nov. 5

This week's ratings are out, and Alabama did in fact sneak ahead of Stanford for No. 3, but if both keep winning, that will eventually change.  Stanford has a significant advantage in the polls, and will eventually get close enough to the Tide in the computers to move ahead overall.

As I said earlier though, this week's ratings don't necessarily have any bearing on what might happen a month from now if Oklahoma State and Stanford pick up a loss somewhere along the way.

Right now, voters are not voting for Alabama or Boise State or anyone but Oklahoma State and Stanford for No. 2.  They are not lining up teams for what might happen later on.  Voters not only have no short-term memory, they have no long-term vision.  If it gets to the point where they have to make a decision among the teams piled up behind OSU and Stanford in the polls, then they'll consider that at the time, and votes could change.

Other things could have an impact then.  What if Georgia wins out to the SEC title game and gives LSU a fight?  Voters will be reminded that Boise spanked the Bulldogs in week one, and maybe that inspires them to give the Broncos a shot at the big prize.  Maybe Oklahoma ends up winning the Big 12, and the voters, which have always shown a bias for conference champions (in the BCS era, the voters have never put a team in the top two of the final regular season poll that did not win its conference), will move the Sooners to the top of the list.  Undefeated Boise State would be a conference champion as well.

Or maybe they'll go against what they have done before and create an LSU-Alabama (or LSU-Oregon?) rematch.

For now, the Cowboys are in the driver's seat for a matchup with LSU in the title game.  Stanford, despite this week's ratings, needs just one of those two to lose.  After that, we'll see.

Houston is up to No. 11 and would automatically qualify if the Cougars finish undefeated and someone beats Boise State.

Cincinnati is the highest-rated Big East team at No. 23.  You get the feeling the Bearcats could win out and not crack the top 15.

It's a good thing for the Big Ten that there is still a month left.  As it stands right now, Penn State is the only team ranked high enough to be in the BCS at-large pool.  It would help if a couple of teams would step up and win out (I still have faith in Michigan, so you all can keep calling me crazy for at least another week).  The Big Ten has put an at-large team in the BCS every year since 2004.

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.


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