November 09, 2008
In a perfect world, the Doc would be given carte blanche to publicly torch the Bowl Championship Series in effigy and institute the elaborate, double-elimination battle royale of his dreams. But we live in the world we live in, so each Sunday the Doc looks at what the new BCS numbers mean for the rest of the season. Rooting interest: chaos. Always chaos.
Penn State's fall supposedly brings the picture into focus, but it really changes nothing as far as the championship game goes. The ball is still in the court of Alabama and Texas Tech, just as it's been the last two weeks, and the Tide and Raiders are Miami-bound if they win out. The only difference with the Lions' exit from the championship picture is that there's no major undefeated team left to cry foul when it's snubbed. Iowa's upset was crazy and all, but it only makes the situation slightly less chaotic.
Keep a couple things in mind with this week's numbers: a) The computers really love Utah, which probably doesn't matter as far as the championship is concerned, and really hate the Trojans, which definitely does matter. And b) The Coaches' poll still isn't docking Oklahoma for the Sooners' loss to Texas; OU comes in one spot ahead of the Longhorns, and only one spot behind Texas in the Harris Poll, which should have major implications on the eventual title game.
Sitting pretty. It seems clear now the SEC and Big 12 are on a collision course for the championship, via their own conference championships. Florida and Alabama are already locked into the SEC title game in Atlanta, with a mythical championship bid explicitly on the table if both take care of business for the rest of the regular season. That situation is easy.
The realm of chaos is the Big 12 South, if Texas Tech happens to lose to Oklahoma in two weeks. If the Raiders win, again, they're in. If they happen to lose to the Sooners, though, then ... bring on the tiebreaker procedures!
1. The records of the three teams will be compared against each other.
All three would be 1-1 against the other two. Next.
2. The records of the three teams will be compared within their division.
All three would be 4-1 within the division. Next.
3. The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5 and 6).
All three would be 3-0 against teams 4, 5 and 6 in the division. Next.
4. The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents.
All three would be undefeated against common conference opponents. Next.
5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big 12 regular season conference play shall be the representative.
Since the votes in this scenario would be tallied the day after Oklahoma finished off back-to-back wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, the Sooners would have all the momentum. The question is whether that would be enough to push OU past the "incumbent," Texas, which has to hope to beat Kansas and Texas A&M badly enough to maintain its lead in the computer polls. But since the human polls are already waffling between Oklahoma and Texas despite the Longhorns' win in the Cotton Bowl, it seems the Sooners have the upper hand if they win out. As it stands, I'd peg the championship game as a collision of the winners of Alabama-Florida and Oklahoma-Texas Tech.
A little help? If that's the case, Texas is going to have a virtually impossible time coming out of that tiebreaker as the South "champion": The Longhorns need Texas Tech to lose, obviously, but even if Oklahoma was to beat the Raiders and then lose to Oklahoma State, Tech would still hold the tiebreaker advantage over Texas. With the poll situation favoring the Sooners, the 'Horns really only have one realistic hope, which is a victory by Missouri (or whomever wins the North Division) in the Big 12 Championship. In that case, UT could fall back to No. 2 as an at-large and face the SEC champion for the title.
The question in that scenario is whether voters would find sudden sympathy for USC as a conference champion over an at-large team. Barring a series of upsets too incredible to consider, this is really the Trojans' only hope ... except they're on pace to be relegated to at-large status, as well, as long as Oregon State keeps winning. The computers don't like USC (it's four spots behind Utah, which has a tougher remaining schedule with BYU on tap), and I still think the Trojans have to pray for those upsets. No even remotely likely scenario gets them to No. 2.
For chaos' sake. If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, the Big 12 South is chaotic enough; among the Sooners, Raiders and Longhorns, at least one and possibly two of them will be left out of the picture with one loss, and there won't be any good way to distinguish between them. USC will have a legitimate gripe, but with its schedule, the high profile, "Is this not America?" snub is going to come from among the Dust Bowl trifecta. I get the feeling the Lonestar State is going to become very well acquainted with algorithms over the next three weeks.