Patterico's Pontifications


The BCS Field Winnows Down

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:09 am

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to my post last month ranking the college football teams, I wanted to update it now that we are rounding into the final quarter of the regular season. Since we last debated the relative merits of teams, there is been a great deal of movement in the rankings. Ohio State, Penn State, and Washington State are now all two-loss teams, and I think that barring some crazy upsets among the top ten those squads are no longer in contention for a BCS Playoff appearance. In fact, I think that there are now only ten remaining teams with a reasonable chance to be in the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl (the two BCS semi-final games) on New Year’s Day. Here are my rankings, with how I think they will finish out the regular season which includes conference championship games:

1. ALABAMA (9-0)
Best win: a 66-3 demolishing of Ole Miss
Toughest game ahead: SEC Championship vs. Georgia
Notes: Has slipped to #2 in the BCS poll because their schedule is surprisingly weak this season, with the SEC West having a down year.
Prediction for finish: 13-0

2. GEORGIA (9-0)
Best win: an early-season 20-19 win at Notre Dame
Toughest game ahead: SEC Championship vs. Alabama
Notes: Possibly the only team that can beat the Tide. Could still make the BCS Playoffs with a loss in the SEC Championship, provided they don’t get blown out which could open the door for a Pac-10 team like Washington.
Prediction for finish: 12-1

3. WISCONSIN (9-0)
Best win: an early-season 31-14 win vs. Florida Atlantic
Toughest game ahead: November 17 vs. Michigan, Big 10 Championship likely vs. Ohio State
Notes: Another team benefiting from a weak conference schedule. Even if undefeated going into Big 10 title game, would still need to win in order to secure playoff spot.
Prediction for finish: 11-2

4. MIAMI (8-0)
Best win: yesterday’s 28-10 drubbing of Virginia Tech
Toughest game ahead: November 11 vs. Notre Dame, ACC Championship against Clemson
Notes: It’s hard to see them beating both the Irish and the Tigers, but if they do they will certainly deserve a BCS Playoff spot. Intriguing thought: they may end up in an Orange Bowl rematch with Notre Dame.
Prediction for finish: 10-2

5. OKLAHOMA (8-1)
Best win: the early season 31-16 win at Ohio State
Worst loss: a 38-31 home loss to Iowa State
Toughest game ahead: next week hosting TCU
Notes: Scores points in bunches but hasn’t stopped anyone defensively since Ohio State
Prediction for finish: 11-1 [revised to 12-1]

6. NOTRE DAME (8-1)
Best win: a 49-14 stomping of USC three weeks ago
Worst loss: a 20-19 heartbreaker to Georgia
Toughest game ahead: next week at Miami, then Thanksgiving Friday at Stanford
Notes: Despite not having a conference title game, has a clear path to BCS Playoffs if they win rest of regular season games.
Prediction for finish: 10-2

7. CLEMSON (8-1)
Best win: a 31-17 win at Virginia Tech
Worst loss: an unexpected 27-24 defeat by Syracuse
Toughest game ahead: ACC Championship game likely vs. Miami
Notes: Should make BCS Playoffs if they win out the rest of the way
Prediction for finish: 12-1

8. TCU (8-1)
Best win: a 44-31 victory on the road against Oklahoma State
Worst loss: a 14-7 upset at giant-killer Iowa State
Toughest game ahead: next week at Oklahoma
Notes: Will the Big 12 be punished for not having a conference title game? A one-loss Washington might leapfrog a one-loss Horned Frogs based upon at the one additional game.
Prediction for finish: 10-2 [revised to 10-3]

Best win: a 37-10 win at Colorado (seriously)
Worst loss: losing 13-7 in the desert against Arizona State
Toughest game ahead: Thanksgiving Friday against Washington State, Pac-12 title game likely against USC
Notes: Hurt by a weak schedule and a weak conference. Will need losses by Oklahoma and Wisconsin to reach BCS Playoffs again this year.
Prediction for finish: 12-1

Best win: a 38-10 pounding of Maryland at College Park
Toughest game ahead: Thanksgiving Day hosting South Florida
Notes: Still being hurt in BCS rankings by the two games cancelled due to the September hurricanes. Even if undefeated probably won’t surpass a one-loss Big Five Conference team for a BCS playoff spot, so needs Georgia, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, TCU, and Washington all to have two losses in order to have any chance.
Prediction for finish: 12-0

I have the Rose Bowl being #1 Alabama versus #4 Oklahoma and the Sugar Bowl being #2 Georgia versus #3 Clemson. Wisconsin could steal Oklahoma’s spot if they can win the Big 10 title game against (probably) Ohio State.

Go ahead and tell me where I am wrong.

[Update/Edit:] I am wrong. The Big 12 Conference is going to have a championship game. Instead of doing two divisions like other large conferences, they are going to take their top two regular season teams and match them up in Arlington, TX on December 3. My apologies for overlooking that; I have modified the post above accordingly. Notre Dame is now the only squad who misses out on not having a championship game.


23 Responses to “The BCS Field Winnows Down”

  1. I’m guessing Notre Dame beats Miami next week, then loses to Stanford at Palo Alto. Miami then loses to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Georgia loses a close one against Alabama in the SEC Championship, and thus gets the number two slot so that they don’t have to immediately have a rematch in the BCS semi-final.

    JVW (42615e)

  2. My rough estimation of the likelihood of each team reaching the BCS Playoffs:
    Alabama – 80%
    Georgia – 75%
    Clemson – 50%
    Oklahoma – 35%
    Wisconsin – 35%
    Notre Dame – 35%
    Washington – 30%
    TCU – 25%
    Miami – 20%
    Central Florida – 10%
    Field – 5%

    JVW (42615e)

  3. The Big 12 has a title game now

    Edoc118 (378adf)

  4. The Big 12 has a title game now

    Thanks. I just realized that right as you were commenting. I have updated the post accordingly and appended an update.

    JVW (42615e)

  5. Not having a championship game hurt the Big 12 schools in the past because there were co-champions when no one ran the table. So this year the Big 12 added a championship game and now it appears there will be a regular season champion, either OU or TCU. If so, they will still have to play again in the championship game, making it possible both will be knocked out of the BCS standings unless the same team wins twice.

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    DRJ (15874d)

  6. How can Wisconsin make the BCS given its schedule? The BCS’s Big 10 bias?

    DRJ (15874d)

  7. My guess is Alabama, Miami (or Notre Dame), Georgia and Wisconsin, because the BCS loves those teams/conferences. I would pick the SEC winner, the winner of Miami/Notre Dame, the Big 12 champion, and Wisconsin or Washington (whichever can win out, if either can).

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. How can Wisconsin make the BCS given its schedule? The BCS’s Big 10 bias?

    Well, if they go undefeated then they’ll be assured a spot. But if they lose between now and the Big 10 Championship game, or if they lose in the Big 10 Championship Game, I think they are on the outside looking in.

    JVW (42615e)

  9. I think the worst thing that could happen to the Big 12 is that OU and TCU split their games, with one of them winning next week and then the other one winning in the conference title game. That would leave both of them with two losses, and would probably mean that a one loss team from the Pac 12 or the ACC or Notre Dame would pull ahead of them.

    In thinking more about Wisconsin, I guess they do have a scenario where they lose to Iowa, Michigan, or Minnesota but then beat Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship and still get a playoff invite. Unless of course Ohio State loses to Michigan or Michigan State and doesn’t make the conference championship game.

    JVW (42615e)

  10. I don’t think UCF will get in before Wisconsin, even if Wisconsin loses, because Big 10.

    DRJ (15874d)

  11. And I agree the Big 12 is out if TCU and OU win out but split when they play each other. I can even say it’s fair, but I also think a Big 12 team would make a better game than at of this year’s PAC teams.

    DRJ (15874d)

  12. Crimson Tide
    Enjoyed the college games yesterday. Way to go Spartans.

    mg (31009b)

  13. I don’t think UCF will get in before Wisconsin, even if Wisconsin loses, because Big 10.

    It would be really interesting to see. Imagine that all of the Big 10 teams have at least two losses and UCF stays undefeated. Are they really going to put in an Ohio State or Michigan State ahead of UCF? One of the arguments for going to four teams in the playoff was to open up an opportunity for an undefeated team outside of the Big Five Conferences. It would be wild if the powers that be decide to go with the high-revenue programs instead.

    JVW (42615e)

  14. As long as the refs who worked the USC/Arizona game last night are nowhere near any playoff game I’m good.

    I can’t see the Huskies running the table including the 12-PAC Championship in San Jose but stranger things have happened.

    harkin (b32ce9)

  15. The wierd thing is to have UCF in the top 10 but not FSU and not UF.

    kishnevi (8d3389)

  16. If the Catholics beat the Convicts next week they are not laying an egg against Stanford. Just put them in.

    NJRob (c68631)

  17. Ara Parseghian was a dolt when he came recruiting – Go Convicts Go

    mg (31009b)

  18. Devine and Faust were the dolts; Holtz started to turn the wagon after getting the padres to let him go after wanna be convicts and academic questionables. His recruiting yields indicate a person 179 degrees from his professed politics.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  19. His recruiting yields indicate a person 179 degrees from his professed politics.


    harkin (b4548f)

  20. harkin (b32ce9) — 11/5/2017 @ 5:19 pm

    I watched that game in a bar. All the “non-calls” were killing Arizona.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  21. He’s kind of a Bob Knight, but Bob Knight was always going for character even with the rare kids he got from Chicago. Hell, Holtz worked on the first Jesse Helms campaigns of the 1970s while he was HC at NC State.

    I may have exaggerated with “wanna be criminals” but he did stockpile a lot of what was then referred to as Prop 48 players (who had to sit out their freshman year, which was a big deal then b/c Notre Dame didnt do redshirting at the time). Also brought a lot of “swaggery/flava” dudes like Ricky Watters that might not have been given a second look by previous HCs.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  22. Playoff should have 8 teams – That would fill the void of 2 months off before they play. College football should be over Jan. 1.

    mg (31009b)

  23. Playoff should have 8 teams – That would fill the void of 2 months off before they play. College football should be over Jan. 1.

    Why should college kids now play up to a 16-game season just to line the pockets of the NCAA? College football (and basketball) is in definite need of major reform, and I think that if we are going to expose players to more risk through extra games then they need to be compensated for that in some way, whether it is in guaranteed scholarships or perhaps even a stipend for playing.

    JVW (42615e)

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