Saturday, November 19, 2011

Handicapping the BCS - 11/19/2011 version

If we thought everything was clear after last weekend, it is anything but now.  We went from a clear LSU vs Oklahoma State championship to who knows what.

What we know now is that LSU is really the only team that controls their own destiny.  If they win out, they are in the BCS title game.  But they have to host Arkansas and then play Georgia, both quality opponents.

But who might they face?

The leader is now Alabama.  Oklahoma had (in my opinion at least) a great shot of moving ahead of Alabama but that is gone now, and Oregon perhaps had a chance too, but they lost that with a bad FG attempt just like Boise State.  But Alabama may have to do more than just beat Auburn.  If Arkansas pulls the upset over LSU, there is a chance that Alabama wins the SEC West tie-breaker and has to go play Georgia in the SEC title game.  In a way, they are rooting for LSU so they don't have to face a potential additional game.

Arkansas also has a shot, but simply beating LSU wouldn't be enough in my opinion.  They have played a much weaker schedule, especially out of conference, than many others, so besides beating LSU they really need to get to the SEC title game so they can play another quality opponent in Georgia.  For that to happen they'd have to get ahead of Alabama in the BCS after beating LSU which may be a stretch.

Oklahoma State should receive strong consideration.  They've played a tougher schedule than LSU or Alabama, and way tougher than Arkansas, and that doesn't even include playing Oklahoma yet.  If they win that game, the computers will love them and perhaps the voters give them a bit of a break on the loss due to the tragedy with the schools women's basketball coaches.

But what if LSU beats Arkansas and Auburn beats Alabama and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State?

Next on the BCS ranking list from last week would be Virginia Tech, but they have to play at Virginia and if they win, vs a good Clemson team.  These two games will help VaTech's schedule strength which is pretty weak right now.

Right there with Virginia Tech would be Stanford.  They get to play a good and improving Notre Dame but don't get to play a title game, but perhaps that is good as they won't have the downside of a potential loss or having to play a weak opponent.

What about Boise State or Houston?  Boise State finishes with weak opponents and will get hammered by the computers because of this and while they are ahead of Houston as of last week, this will likely change as Houston gets to play good opponents Tulsa and Southern Miss to close the season.  Even with these, Houston needs lots of help to get past the others mentioned above.

Note that even is LSU loses to Arkansas, they could still make it as they simply fall to the group of 1 loss teams, and arguably have the strongest resume of them all.