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Tag:Virginia Tech
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:37 pm
 

December Bracket

There is a new bracket up and, as you might expect, there have been some changes from the preseason bracket I did back in October.

North Carolina, the overall No. 1 back then, is now a 2-seed.  I have a feeling the Heels will be back on the top line in short order, and may eventually become the overall No. 1 again.

The Big Ten has nine of its 12 teams in this bracket.  Realistically, that's a couple more than the league can expect in March.  That's a function of not having begun conference play yet.  The league is the top-rated by a pretty wide margin at this point.

I put this together using a combination of RPI, poll rankings and just my own subjectiveness.  RPI data can be pretty comical still at this time of year.  Texas A&M, which is in the top 25, has an RPI of 163.  If the Aggies are still in the 160s in March, they won't be worrying about playing in the postseason.

St. Mary's is the top team in the RPI currently.  They are in this bracket, but they have only played four games that count, so the Gaels are still hard to judge.

So, there are some teams in here that we probably won't see again (TCU, Seton Hall, Minnesota, which lost its best player to injury).  I would caution Virginia Tech fans against false hope though.  You are likely to have your noses pressed against the glass door again.

Indiana and North Carolina are in the same pod.  One of them is undefeated.

Hey, Alabama fans!  I think we'll be on the same page this year.  Barring injury, your team should spend the season comfortably in the top half of the field.



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 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.

-----

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 4, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Late night projections

BCS and bowl projections are up for this evening.  Before the official release, we will see the coaches' poll , which will help clarify things further, but I believe the Harris poll isn't released before the final rankings come out.

I am still projecting LSU-Alabama for the title game, but Oklahoma State had a good night.  The biggest thing that happened was Virginia Tech losing, which gives the Cowboys one less team between themselves and the Tide.  OSU will also get a little computer boost from its win over Oklahoma and will most likely finish ahead of Alabama in that component.

After that, it's up to the voters.  They may be impressed by 44-10, but it is a lot to ask (and predict) that voters will suddenly move the Cowboys up high enough to take advantage of their computer ranking. Such a move would be unprecedented and quite atypical of voter behavior.

In 2006, when voters changed their mind and elevated Florida over Michigan, the Gators deficit was quite a bit less than the number of voters in each poll.  Oklahoma St started this week a whopping 342 points behind Alabama in the Harris poll and 166 back in the coaches' poll, which is nearly three times the number of voters in each poll.  The Hokies' loss will help some, but it will take a significant voter epiphany to put Oklahoma State close enough to Alabama to overtake them.

It looks like Michigan got the help it needed to qualify for the at-large pool.  I don't think it looks good for TCU though.  The voters will really have to come to the Frogs' rescue, and that doesn't seem likely.

So, with that in mind, I now have Kansas State in the BCS instead 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 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 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 19, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:36 am
 

It's not even Saturday yet...

...and already the BCS is turned on its head again.  Iowa State stunned No. 2 Oklahoma State 37-31 in double OT and knocked the Cowboys from the ranks of the unbeaten.  It was the biggest late-season loss by a top two team since Pitt decked West Virginia in 2007.  That year, No. 1 and No. 2 both lost on each of the last two weeks of the season.  That Pitt team's defense was lead by coordinator Paul Rhoads, now the Cyclones coach.

Now, if LSU wins out, it will surely face a one-loss team, and today, it's a little more likely that team will be one it already defeated.

Alabama and Oregon are the next two teams in line in the BCS standings, and assuming both win today, you'll probably see Alabama at No. 2 this week, but it's not a given they'll stay there.  Voters like conference champions, and as things stand now, Alabama isn't going to win the SEC, but nobody else has won a conference championship yet either.

On the last day of 2006, Florida jumped Michigan after it won the SEC title.  On the last day of 2011, Alabama could get jumped by Oregon because it wins the Pac-12 title.  Or maybe even the Bedlam winner.  Or, maybe Georgia, even with its two losses. 

Oh, you don't think that Georgia can make that move?  In 2007, LSU jumped from seventh to second on the final day of the season after winning the SEC championship over Tennessee.  They moved past the former No. 1 and No. 2 teams, both of which lost, the No. 6 team, Virginia Tech, which won the ACC that day, and No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Kansas, neither of which played in their conference title games.  One difference though is that LSU ended with the best record of any SEC team that year.

The point is that unless something changes, Alabama is not playing football the last weekend of the season, and that can hurt them.

And everything I just wrote could get blown up before the ink dries because Saturday hasn't even happened yet.  Gotta love the BCS.


 
 
 
 
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