Sunday, November 4, 2012

Will Oregon or Kansas State get shafted by the BCS and BCS computers?

The 4 undefeated teams atop last week's BCS rankings all won yesterday, some easier than others.  Several teams still have tests ahead of them, but with just a few games to go my projections have all 4 teams finishing undefeated.  This means we'll be leaving it up to the BCS to pick 2 of the 4 to play in the championship game.

To help with this analysis, lets use my BCS rankings since they tell us more about how the BCS computers might behave.

Should Alabama win out, it is pretty safe to assume they'll be one of the top-2 teams.  They had a good lead last week and beating LSU is not going to hurt them as it will only help them in the computers and unless voters decide to ding them for letting it be close and having to pull it out (they won't), their lead is safe.  Further, they still have Texas A&M (#14), Auburn (#79), and likely Georgia (#6) remaining which won't hurt them.  Anything short of narrow/fluke wins that sway the voters will result in them being in the top-2 of the final BCS rankings.

So, we are left to picking 1 team from the remaining 3.

Kansas State is currently in the #2 spot and they too had a decent lead, so this shouldn't change this week since they beat a quality opponent in Oklahoma State.  They have TCU (#35), Baylor (my #57), and Texas (my #15) remaining which isn't quite as strong as Alabama's, but shouldn't hurt them in the computers where they are already tied for #1 with Notre Dame.  So they have the inside shot at #2, but they won't have a championship game to sway the voters with.

Notre Dame was #3 last week but that may change.  They played a weaker opponent which may hurt them in the computers, but they may lose some voters because of their narrow OT win against Pitt as well.  They will likely fall to #4.  They have BC (#108), Wake Forest (#75), and USC (#22) remaining which isn't as strong as either team in front of them so that could hurt them a bit.  They will likely need some convincing wins to sway the voters to get ahead of an undefeated Kansas State.

Oregon was #4 last week but very very close to Notre Dame.  Their win over USC will help them in the computers where they had their biggest deficit, but they don't have as much room to improve in the polls, and while their win over USC wasn't ever really in doubt, they did give up 51 points so some voters might not be inclined to improve them where they can.  They have Cal (#70), Stanford (#13), and Oregon State (#8) plus possibly UCLA (#17) or USC (#22) remaining, so have the most opportunity to improve in the computers where they need it.

So, if we rule out Notre Dame, simply because they have impressed the least and won't get help from the computers the last few weeks, which of Kansas State or Oregon will get shafted by the BCS?

Even with the tough closing schedule, I think it is unlikely that an undefeated Oregon gets past an undefeated Kansas State in the computers.  On the other hand, unless Oregon stumbles and has an unexpectedly close win, it is perhaps unlikely that Kansas State gets past Oregon in the polls.  Plus Oregon gets the extra game to impress voters, although Kansas State did a good job of scheduling their game with Texas for the same week.

I'll post more analysis after the BCS comes out today, but it will be very very close IMHO.