Monday, September 3, 2012

Early look at potential BCS busters - Ohio U., Boise State, Nevada top the list

A four team playoff is on the horizon for College Football, but we still have the BCS as we know it this year and with it, we have a way for the "little guys" to make it to a big game.  Chris Dufresne wrote a story a month ago suggesting it would be a down year for the BCS busters, so let's take a look at how some of the candidates look after one week.

As a preface, clearly one can only tell so much after just one game, but since in most cases these candidate teams need an undefeated season, or at worst an early close loss to a very good team, we can probably tell more than you think.

Current projections by my computer (will be posted tonight after the last game of week 1) have several teams forecast to have good records.  Let's take a look at the notable ones.

Ohio University leads the way with a 48% chance of an 11-1 record and they actually have a good shot at an undefeated season at 39%.  Now, this is based on their win over Penn State, and we don't know how strong Penn State really is, but more importantly, a very weak schedule.  Their highest ranked remaining opponent is #76 Kent State.  So, Ohio could very well finish with an undefeated or one loss record, but given their schedule only an undefeated record would even get them in the conversation, and then they'd need a lot of help.

Boise State is next with a 41% chance of a 10-2 record but also a 41% chance of an 11-1 record.  In their case, their loss is on the road to a good Michigan State team, and if Michigan State turns out to be very good, this loss won't look so bad.  While their schedule after MSU isn't the greatest, it isn't too bad with BYU, Nevada, and Southern Miss (#27, #34, #57 right now) and Fresno State is a good team in many years (#71 right now).  But they certainly can't afford another loss and need MSU to be strong and perhaps some help from other teams.

Nevada just started their year with an upset of Cal on the road and is projected with a 33% chance of a 10-2 record and a 24% chance of an 11-1 record.  Undefeated?  Just 6%.  And they'd probably need undefeated to be considered given their schedule.  Now, the good news for them is they do play Boise State (current #5) and get them at home, and also get South Florida (#42) at home.  If both of those teams play well, that will beef up their schedule strength and wins over them would be quality wins.  Again, they probably still need no losses.

Beyond that, there aren't many candidates.  Northern Illinois is project at 9-3 with a 31% chance of 10-2, but that won't get it done.  Last year's darlings, Houston and Southern Miss have already lost and are projected at 8-4 and 6-6 respectively.

Now, my computer is not used by the BCS (their loss :)) but it is interesting to see where these teams rate and how they project out.  More importantly, 2/3 of the BCS are the polls and these teams will likely get very little support there.  So yes, as Chris Dufresne wrote, it is very unlikely that we'll have a BCS buster this year.

What do you think?  Leave a comment!