Saturday, November 12, 2011

Could Oregon get to the BCS title game?

The usual debate the last few years at this point int he season has been if an undefeated Boise State could get to the BCS championship game.  I've written why this year, that is unlikely to happen, but this year I predicted that Stanford might also have trouble moving ahead of a 1-loss team and we saw that come true with this weeks BCS rankings having them #4 behind 1-loss Alabama.

In the above analysis I mentioned Oklahoma, in addition to Alabama, as being the likely 1-loss teams that could spoil things for Boise State and Stanford, but what about Oregon?  Should they beat Stanford, especially if it is convincing, they will enter the debate.

Oregon is currently #7 in the BCS, just over 0.02 behind Oklahoma.  They are actually ahead of OU in the polls, #6 to #7, but are a bit behind in most computers, 7th overall to 5th for OU.  Should they beat Stanford they will certainly get a boost in both and with OU off this week and likely move ahead of them.  Couple that with Stanford falling due to the loss and you'd expect Oregon to be no worse than #5 in the BCS.  Would they stay there?  Might they fall?  What help might they need?

Oregon's remaining schedule has USC (7-2, my #17) which should help in both the polls and computers, but close against Oregon State (2-7, my #79) which being a rivalry game shouldn't hurt in the polls but might in the computers.  Then they'd have the Pac-12 title game and would need a 9-3 ASU to give them their best shot.  Should they win out, they would definitely need some help, this schedule wouldn't allow them to pass all 3 teams ahead of them in Oklahoma State, Alabama, and Boise State.  In fact, of OU were to win out, they could very well move back ahead of Oregon.

So what help might they need?  Clearly, Oklahoma State needs to lose.  That is the case for any 1-loss team (as well as Boise State).  They might get natural help from Boise State as they close with a weak schedule and could drop in the computers.  So they could get to #3 should Oklahoma State lose.

Who would still be ahead of them?  It is also possible that Oklahoma could be ahead as noted above.  Likely Alabama would unless they lose.  This is both because they are already ahead and have a decent finishing schedule, plus should Oregon beat Stanford, many computers will in turn improve LSU's rating which would in turn improve Alabama's a bit.

So, Oregon has about the same chance of getting to the BCS title game as Boise State.  Both need help from at least one of LSU/Oklahoma State, Alabama, and possibly Oklahoma.  Obviously one of OU/OkSt will lose, so the winning team would need to lose elsewhere and interestingly, without a Big-12 title game this year to serve as another opportunity to lose, this hurts Oregon and Boise State's chances in some scenarios.

Of course, if LSU doesn't lose, the voters will likely not want a rematch and vote accordingly decreasing the chances of getting to #2.

What do you think?