Saturday, November 28, 2009

BCS At Large Big Analysis

A very popular topic in the upcoming week or two is going to be who the BCS bowl at-large teams should be.  There are still a few games of importance to play today and next weekend, but it is always fun to look forward and prognosticate so here we go.

There are 5 BCS bowl games so 10 spots up for grabs.  Without going into all the different provisions, the 6 BCS conferences get an automatic bid leaving 4 at-large bids.  The highest ranked champion from a non-BCS conference gets an automatic bid as long as they are ranked in the top-12 and Notre Dame gets a bid if they are in the top-8.  The latter isn't happening this year but the former is likely to.

The current situation with games left to be played is:
  • SEC - Alabama/Florida
  • Big-12 - Texas/Nebraska
  • Pac-10 - Oregon/Oregon State
  • Big East - Cincinnati/Pittsburgh
  • ACC - Georgia Tech/Clemson
  • Big-Televen - Ohio State
  • Top-12 Auto - TCU/Boise State
That leaves 3 open spots.  We'll assume that the Alabama/Florida loser will get an at-large and deservedly so and we'll assume for now that other favorites win their conferences (Texas, Oregon, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech).  This would leave 2 spots available for the following teams (in order of my computer's rankings):
  • Virginia Tech - Yes, they have 3 losses but those were to undefeated Alabama, by only 5 at a 1-loss Georgia Tech, and by only 3 to an 8-3 UNC and they have wins over Miami and Nebraska (both 8-3) as well as 7-4 BC and East Carolina.
  • Boise State - They get trumped for the auto-spot by TCU, but if ever there were a year a second non-BCS team should be in it is this year.  Their downfall is their strength of schedule but they did beat a very good Oregon team and took care of business against the other non-conference teams that would play them.
 What about Oklahoma State or a Big-Televen team like Iowa or Penn State you ask?

Yes, Oklahoma State is 9-2 but they've played a pretty weak schedule (only Iowa State's is weaker in the Big-12) but they have beaten the teams they were supposed to other than the Houston misstep.

Regarding Iowa and Penn State, lets just say the conference champ Ohio State shouldn't even be in the top-10, my computer having them at #19.  Penn State is the closest contender but they are #22 and their schedule is much weaker than Oklahoma State's and Iowa is #28 with a comparable schedule to Ok St. but less than impressive wins hurt them.

Now, reality is that pollsters and the BCS committee will over-rotate on win/loss record and likely take Oklahoma State (should they win today) and/or Iowa (cinderella story) but they shouldn't.  If one was taken it might be justifiable as long as Boise State was the other.

Now it gets interesting if we have upsets in the conference championship games.  Texas would likely get and deserve an at-large spot if they lose to Nebraska and an argument could be made for Cincinnati the same.  My computer would argue Oregon should get a spot but probably lose that argument and perhaps Georgia Tech too.  Any of those scenarios would make it interesting!