Monday, November 19, 2012

BCS Math 11/19/12 Edition - Does Oregon or Florida have a shot?

Two weeks to go in the season and we have a clear #1 in the BCS so the fight is on for making the case for #2.

My computer's performance charts show that Oregon and Alabama have the strongest resumes, but the BCS doesn't agree slotting in Georgia and Florida between them.  And Kansas State is getting little love but Florida State even less.  What would it take for any of these teams to get to #2?

Alabama has a solid hold on #2 this week, but how might that change?  Despite the fact that Auburn is very weak this year (3-8 my #77), the pollsters aren't likely to ding Bama much at all even if they have a close win because it is a rivalry game, so their poll numbers aren't likely to slip.  Their computer numbers could though.  Here are the details:

  • Anderson & Hester - At #5 they have a slim lead over Stanford, 0.781 to 0.774 and not that far ahead of Oregon at 0.765.  Stanford just went up 0.019 with their win over Oregon, so with both Stanford (UCLA) and Oregon (Oregon State) playing good opponents, it isn't out of the question that one or both get ahead and drop Alabama to #7 or #8.
  • Billingsley - Alabama is #2 but close behind is Kansas State and Oregon.  K-State doesn't play so won't change (Billingsley doesn't change a rating at all during bye weeks, silly) but as mentioned above, Oregon has a chance to improve.
  • Colley - Alabama is #4 just ahead of Stanford and Oregon again and could slip at least one spot.
  • Massey - Alabama is #3 just ahead of LSU and Stanford but we don't know how close since his ratings aren't updated on his site.  LSU plays Arkansas (50s) so there is less chance to jump ahead, but LSU was just 0.01 back last week so it is possible and Stanford does get UCLA so more opportunity.
  • Sagarin - Alabama is #3 fractionally ahead of Stanford and Oregon so again could drop.
  • Wolfe - Has Alabama #3 over Georgia and Stanford, but perhaps enough margin to not drop.
This means that what they have this week (four 3rds and a 4th after throwing out the high and low of 2nd and 5th) could slip to 6th, 3rd, 5th, 4th, 4th, 3rd dropping their 0.910 computer average to 0.890 and with no change in their polling numbers their BCS rating to 0.9267.  That isn't near enough for anyone behind to get close, but may still be an interesting twist to see.

And of course, a win in the SEC title game would turn the computers around so it is really all moot.  Win out, and Alabama is in the BCS title game.

Georgia is in a similar situation to Alabama even though they trail them significantly, mainly because they get to play them.  They play a not so great Georgia Tech team (but not as bad as Auburn) so their computer numbers could take a minor hit similar to Alabama's, but if they win the SEC title game that is all moot and they get ahead of Alabama and likely aren't caught by anyone behind them.

Florida is pretty close to Georgia in the BCS ratings, and has a much tougher opponent in FSU this week, but they are already #2 in the computers and aren't going to catch Notre Dame there so won't see any BCS improvement from that.  It would have to come from the polls.  A win would certainly help, and they could get very close to Georgia in the BCS, but they don't get a title game meaning they don't get that last opportunity to improve their numbers and can't get to #2.  Their only hope is one or both of Auburn / Georgia Tech pull the upset, and the better team loses in the SEC title game leaving them as the best 1-loss team from the SEC.  Possible, but not likely.

Oregon still has room to improve in the computers, and gets BCS #15 Oregon State to finish, but that likely isn't enough given that they are 4th in the polls.  Even if their computer numbers improve a spot across the board, they at best get close to Florida but not all the way to Georgia let alone Alabama in the BCS ratings.  Couple that with being left out of the Pac-12 title game (for now) and they simply can't get there.

Now, if FSU beats Florida, their computer and poll numbers have the chance to improve a bit more and they could perhaps even get past Georgia in next weeks BCS ratings, but they'd still not improve enough to be ahead of the Alabama/Georgia winner.  If UCLA were to beat Stanford however, that gets Oregon into the title game against a hot UCLA team that may give them the opportunity to improve their computer and poll numbers even more.  It is highly unlikely they'd pass Alabama should they win the SEC, but it would be very interesting if it game down to Oregon or Georgia in this situation.

Kansas State is just too far back right now and doesn't get a title game, so they will be on the outside looking in.

Florida State?  They can make a statement by beating Florida, but then they get Georgia Tech in the ACC title game which won't help and the computers already (justifiably) hate them so even with a win over Florida, won't be in the running.

So, we can probably expect a Notre Dame vs Alabama/Georgia BCS title game, especially with Matt Barkley out for USC giving Notre Dame a great shot to win that game, but stranger things have happened.  If it isn't Alabama or Georgia, Oregon is probably next in line but they definitely need help. But should they get it, it would be very close and make for some BCS drama in 13 days.