Monday, October 30, 2006

BCS Analysis + New Top 25:
Yes, We HAVE a 4-Team Playoff

I thought I had an epiphany this weekend that the BCS title game would be between the Ohio St-Michigan winner and...

The Ohio St-Michigan loser.
(At least, if their game is close.)

I have since come to my senses. If the WVA-Louisville winner wins out, that team will be ranked No. 2 in the BCS formula, directly behind the OSU-Mich winner.

Don't worry about the computer polls as they stand today: You'd be ranked in the double-digits too if you had as weak of a schedule as WVA has had... SO FAR.

The thing is: Both WVA and L'ville's schedules get much tougher (starting, obviously, with their own game this Thursday against each other). That remaining schedule should be enough to nudge the winner (again, provided they win out), up the computer polls and into that No. 2 slot.

And so we're left with a very interesting scenario:

The possibility that we have a pair of de facto national semifinal games, albeit weeks apart: WVA-L'ville and Ohio St-Michigan. Guess what? It is effectively the 4-team playoff you've been griping about having for years. (Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Quite possibly.)

If the WVA-L'ville winner somehow stumbles before the end of the season, all bets are off, but in that scenario, I contend the pole position will go to the one-loss SEC champ, particularly if it's Florida (and even more so if it's Florida over Auburn in the SEC title game).

The second-most-likely one-loss contender would be the Ohio St-Michigan loser. Then, the "S.O.L." One-Loss Crew: Texas, USC/Cal winner and, if USC wins that, the USC/Notre Dame winner.

But as long as the WVA-Louisville winner runs the table, the BCS formula numbers should work out for them at No. 2, and it'll be hard – even for a one-loss SEC champ or one-loss OSU-Mich runner-up – to win the day. Ask Auburn about being the "People's Champ." It's hollow.

Now, on to my rankings for this week, and you Michigan fans will be unhappy. Why did I drop Michigan from No. 2 to No. 3? Because they could only beat Northwestern 17-3 at home. Don't give me "weather conditions." Don't tout the rush defense. UM should have smoked NU, but didn't. Period. And as a Northwestern person, I would know.

1. Ohio St.
2. West Virginia
3. Michigan
4. Louisville
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn
7. Florida
8. Tennessee
9. Texas
10. Notre Dame
11. USC
12. Rutgers
13. LSU
14. Cal
15. Clemson
16. Georgia Tech
17. Boise St.
18. Wisconsin
19. B.C.
20. Texas A&M
21. Oklahoma
22. Oregon St
23. Wake Forest
24. Washington St.
25. Oregon
Honorary Vote: Temple

-- D.S.


Michael said...

Boston College (7-1 record) still ranked lower than Clemson (7-2 record), even though BC (barely) beat Clemson.

Richard said...

Nice Honorary vote for Temple.

Well, we're kind of missing a piece of the "playoff" picture.

Boise State can still go undefeated. If they do, they deserve a shot at the BCS title. And spare me that crap about how Boise State plays a weak schedule. Let someone beat them and knock them out.

Meanwhile...I'm GUESSING these pairings:

Orange: Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee
Rose: Ohio State vs. California
Fiesta: Texas vs. Boise State
Sugar: Florida vs. Notre Dame
Glendale: Michigan vs. WVU

That's right, I think Ohio State loses to its arch rival. Noone has a clue yet anyways.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Under your logic, shouldn't Auburn be punished for barely beating Mississippi?

CMFost said...

Shannoff you are killing me, a 2 loses Clemson team should never be ranked above a 1 lose team like BC which beat Clemson. Why is BC so underrated they are 1 play away from being undeafeated.

Dan Shanoff said...

Much like Utah a couple of years ago, Boise St will be lucky simply to get the prestige, p.r. and cash of a BCS-level bowl invite. More power to them -- and I am a huge supporter of giving one of the 10 available BCS bowl spots to at least one non-BCS league team -- but that's as much as they're going to get.

Erik said...

Baffled. Continually freaking baffled that you or anyone else can rank WVa over a Michigan team. If Michigan beat 1AAAAA North Nogales Vocational School and Tire Shop by one point in quintuple overtime, they still have a fantastically stronger resume than WVa has now, and frankly up there with what WVa can *hope* to have at the end of the season.

Josh said...

Dan, I swear to you, one day you will respect Cal. Sure it won't happen until around 9 pm on Nov 19th after they've pummmelled USC in LA, but it will happen.

Also, I had way too much time on my hands earlier today and saw a long debate between Texas and West Virginia fans as to who had the right to the #3 spot in the BCS. Well, ignoring records (since the entire top 10 is either undefeated or has 1 loss and most likely scenarios leave 2 teams undefeated and 8 with one loss) let's look at current opponents winning percentages to see who deserves the BCS love.

1. Florida - .642
2. USC - .610
3. Cal - .603
4. Notre Dame - .574
5. Michigan - .570
6. Ohio St. - .568
7. Auburn - .557
8. Texas - .553
9. Louisville - .467
10. West Virginia - .390

This can all change drastically with one game as a USC victory over Stanford on Saturday would put their opp. winning percentage at .529. The point is, give credit where credit is due. Outside of your beloved Gators no one in the BCS top ten has played a tougher schedule to date than USC and Cal.

brett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian in Oxford said...

What would it take for the WAC to *become* a BCS league?

So we've got Division 1A and 1AA....Now the BCS pretty much has split 1A into 1A+ and 1A-, like there are two different divisions.

My point is that, either Division 1 should include all its leagues as "BCS leagues", or else the non-BCS leagues become 1Aandahalf or something like that.

Jen said...

Ohio State beat Minnesota 44-0 in crappy weather.

brett said...

Clemson may have been the "media darling" up until now, but a loss to a VT team that was dominated on both sides of the ball by Boston College a couple weeks ago should be enough to open your eyes. I don't even need to bring up the fact that BC ALREADY BEAT Clemson (although you have Arkansas ranked higher than Auburn based on their head-to-head matchup).

Unknown said...

Yeah, but the 1-loss teams get boosts in their opponents win pct. by losing to that one team.
By losing to OSU and Tennessee..USC and Cal have upped that stat. hehe

TJ said...

Weakest. Justification. Ever. That's just wrong jumping WVU over Michigan. I know at least a dozen commenters will make the point better than I could, so I'll stop at: what. the. fuck.

Russell said...

As someone who was at the Michigan game from start to finish (Section 42, Row 1) I can tell you firsthand that the weather conditions did, in fact, make a difference in that game.

After going home and taking a scolding hot shower to get my body temperature back to normal levels I watched the highlights of the game and it looked like it was played in Florida. It's amazing how the video footage failed to show how bad the weather was.

30-50 mph wind gusts, freezing rain, 35°. Brutal. And all Michigan did was hand the ball off and run to the left all day. It was the most boring football game I've ever attended. It was a get it over with and hit the showers as soon as possible situation.

I can tell you with certainty that had the conditions been optimal, it would have been a 50-3 type score.

But go ahead and believe what you thought you saw from your cushy arm chair at home.

Christian Thoma said...

rafael is right. josh, for your opponent's win percentage to be a legit comparison, you have to remove the game between them; otherwise you're penalizing the undefeated and giving a bonus to the one-loss.

Josh said...

Rafael -

Remove Tennessee as a Cal opponent and they still have a .557 opp. winning percentage. Still enough to put them tied with Auburn for 7th.

Steve said...

Boise St. doesn't deserve the national title because they don't play anyone even halfway decent. And don't give me that crap that they can't help it they play in a 2nd tier conference. Take a lesson from Fresno St. Play some good teams, go undefeated and you'll get the respect you deserve. I guarantee you if Fresno St. was undefeated with their schedule they'd be top 5 right now unlike Boise St.

Geoff-Detroit said...

Well, Dan's rankings now officially make less sense than most of the media members polls. Good work there.

Christian Thoma said...

Honest question time:

What's the deal with some people thinking Michigan is better than OSU? Is it the Wisconsin game? Because that's the only thing I can think of. It can't be Notre Dame, because we all know how lousy the Irish are. OSU has given up double-digits twice this season, while UM has done it six times, yet somehow UM has a better defense? When you look at teams they've both played, OSU has been more dominant. So can someone who has Michigan ranked over OSU (or thinks UM will beat OSU) explain why?

T-Mill said...


What about Rutgers? They don't play any weaker of a schedule than Louisville or WVa. they still have games remaining against the two in order to boost their own scedhule. They are unbeaten as well, so why not them if they get past Wva and Louiville? It's like they are wild card and add another round of playoffs to Thursday night's winner.

nyc-steelers fan said...

Louisville is too high (although you have a built in fall due to the playoff of which you speak); OU is too low (I'm not their biggest fan either, but come on Dan, they lost their QB and their RB, their two glory boys, and you penalize them for it, but they keep winning, with good D and coaching. If not their "loss" to the Ducks, they'd be knocking on the top 10.). And although I hate all things Boston (although the Departed was pretty good, and if I watch all three hours of ESPN tonight, TK and JT may have me brainwashed into thinking Tom Brady is the most important human being since Jesus Christ, or at least Mohammed), I'd have to say BC deserves a bit more respect.

Oh yeah, just because USC lost to a crappy team does not mean you have to rank said crappy team. The reason that the game was an upset was because OSU is not very good; but USC was susceptible to losing to a worse team, because they are not the same dominant team they have been in the past.

Richard said...

For you Michigan fans:

Stop whining about your ranking and worry about winning your next game. DS was pissed about Florida not being ranked higher and they lost to Auburn. So naturally their ranking dropped further.

But hey, here's hoping Boise State and/or Rutgers goes undefeated, gets left out of the BCS and sues the shit out of them. I'd love it!!!

mark said...

Two comments:

(1) Y'all missed the nuance: Dan bumped Michigan down as a way of giving props to his Wildcats (for what? for being better than expected). It's not actually meant to say much about Michigan. Presumably next week the maize and blue will be back where they purportedly belong.

(Hey Dan: were you an undergrad there, or were you at Medill or something like that?)

(2) The WAC and MAC and so on will never become BCS conferences--yet another argument for dissolving the BCS. (Anybody know if the mid-majors have tried a Sherman Act suit against the BCS? Because, I mean, it sounds like a winner to me.)

Cody said...

Josh - Then can you explain why Cal is two spots behind USC in the BCS when the opponent winning % differential is only .007? Cal lost to Tennesse when USC lost to an unranked team? I wonder if this will change when USC squeeks by Stanford.

I wishing for this to happen. L'Ville beats WVU
Rutgers beats L'Ville
WVU beats Rutgers.
Would this put a stop to all the big east talk?

Josh said...

Cody -

Because both human polls have Cal ranked 11th and USC 9th. Hence the difference.

Look at the BCS computer polls...Cal's 3rd behind only Michigan and OSU.

adnteh said...

The Michigan "adjustment" is probably fair. After all, inertia is something that should be taken out of any pollster's vocabulary. And, right now, they look only very good, which is the same as 12 other teams. However, you should put Michigan back where they were if in the next few weeks Manningham's return reignites that offense, as that would explain their relative averageness of late. After all, you can't punish a team for a drop in win quality when a player is out after that player comes back, can you? This is, of course, presuming that Manningham is the difference maker on that offense.

Oh, who am I kidding? That OSU game will take care of everything (good or bad), so Michigan fans shouldn't care where they are right now. Other undefeated teams should be so lucky to be in that position.

Jared said...

Dan, are the 2 de facto semifinal games better than the 7 playoff games you'd be seeing in an 8 team playoff? Isn't it more legit to let the teams play each other, rather than trying to figure out who's played the hardest schedule? With no upsets, you'd get to see all of these games, and they'd all count towards the national championship.

Ohio St. v Tennessee
West Virginia v Florida
Michigan v Auburn
Louisville v Arkansas

OSU v Louisville
Michigan v West Virginia

OSU v West Virginia

Round 2:

Jason (East Lansing) said...

You always say this about Baseball, so why not This year in college football. The Wolverines and Buckeyes should collude so that they both make the national title game. That way Ohio State, UofM, and possibly Wisconsin would all get BCS games. The two teams just have to get together and agree to let the game get to overtime, and then all bets are off. They should trade scores back and fourth, and I think they would still be ranked ahead of the Big East winner at the end of the year.

adnteh said...

chrth: I'm not sold yet that Michigan is better than OSU, but the reason some may feel that way is that every team that has played both has said that the Michigan defense is better than the OSU defense. Forget about points, because way too many factors can contribute to the points allowed in a game. These are the testaments of teams (Iowa and Penn State are the ones I have in mind) that have been on the same field as U of M and OSU saying that one defense is better. If they made the opposite argument, coupled with OSU's good-looking offense, it would be an uphill argument. I personally don't think you can really say with any *certainty* which team is better, even though arguments can be made.

And BTW, I've seen a couple of Texas games, which is OSU's big defeat, and haven't been impressed by them either.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

What would it take for the WAC to *become* a BCS league?

So we've got Division 1A and 1AA....Now the BCS pretty much has split 1A into 1A+ and 1A-, like there are two different divisions.

My point is that, either Division 1 should include all its leagues as "BCS leagues", or else the non-BCS leagues become 1Aandahalf or something like that.

Exactly the reason for the 5th game and the inclusion of the other conferences. There was rumors of antitrust lawsuits, Congressional Action, etc.

Joe (Dayton)

Unknown said...

U of M fan alert!!!

I have been telling all my buddies that Michigan has been doing just enough to win the small games against lesser opponents and really turining it on for the big games. Lloyd Carr has taken a page out of Bill Belicheck's book and is not tipping his hand for the scouts. Although Michigan is mostly a run team I know that there are a few tricks that haven't been revealed. So for now, I can see the #3 arugment.

Joe (Livonia, MI) said...

Josh--I won't be that impressed if Cal beats USC. Oregon State already stole your thunder there.

Have fun in the Holiday Bowl, Golden Bears.

Justin said...

What if I told you that it was a combination of:

a) The weather
b) A playbook that had one short pass, 4 runs, and no long passes in it
c) Injuries to Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, Tyler Ecker, and Mike Massey
d) the score not being as close as it looked.

Or what if I just asked you to watch the game?

As for your comment, I'm not sure WVU will still be able to go. WVU would be 2 in the 2 human polls, sure. But the UM/OSU loser *or* the winner of the SEC Championship game (if said team has 1 loss)would probably be #3 in the 2 human polls. If that team is also #2 in the computer polls, it will give them approximately (.96 + .92 + .92)/3 = 0.9333. For WVU, they'll have 0.64 points from the human polls, which means they'd need 0.88 from the computer polls to tie. That's 3rd place. But if the human polls look like this:

1) Ohio State
2) West Virginia
3) Michigan
4) Texas
5) Southern Cal

and the computer polls look mostly like this:

1) Ohio State
2) Michigan
3) Southern Cal
4) West Virginia

Then Michigan will still go.

To make the math a little more fun, if Michigan AND (say) Auburn split the human vote and finish approxmiately equal, and BOTH finish ahead of WVU (convincingly) in the computer polls, it could be a virtual 3 way tie for the slot.

Anonymous said...

we can guarantee whoever wins between OSU-Mich gets to glendale.

i think that is for certain.

the other one... that is interesting.

are we underestimating rutgers? they have both WV and Louisville in the sked.

are we putting too much in the WV - Louisville game?

there are just too many wildcards, esp with at least 4 SEC teams in the hunt, and of course the high profile ND brings to the table.

i agree though that the style of victory / defeat that a certain team conducts everyday determines their power ranking on a certain week.

and i agree with the honorary vote for temple. kudos to them, esp under the circumstances coach al golden is in.

nep1293 said...

West Virginia is a good team but there was no point in moving them over Michigan this week. WV had a few less than dominating wins earlier and just because Michigan had theirs this week they drop?
Luckily these rankings have no meaning this year because it will all take care of itself in the next month.

But I'll still say this, DON'T OVERLOOK RUTGERS!!! I know they didn't blowout UConn the way they should have but to keep them out of the Big East conversation is ludicrous. They dominated good teams like Pitt and Navy which are on par with both West Virginia's (vs Maryland) and Louisville's (vs Miami, not as impressive as it first seemed) best wins so far.

I'm not saying Rutgers will run the table but they do have a shot at it.

BLUE said...

two things, for the Big Ten guy who thinks that they can get OSU, Michigan, and Wisconsin?? in the BCS, keep dreaming. There is a rule that no more then 2 teams from a BCS conference can play in the BCS games. 2nd, despite the WVU ranking, these rankings are very solid in the top 10. I really like how you ranked the SEC teams. Arkansas is undefeated in that conference, and can play Florida in the championship if they win out. They should be the team everybody is talking about.

BLUE said...

One note about Boise State, they typically play a tougher schedule then this year. It's not their fault that Fresno stinks this year. They went to Georgia last year. They play Pac-10 schools every year. And they will go play anyone, anywhere. Nobody will schedule them, or at least be fair and offer a home/home series with them.

ToddTheJackass said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ToddTheJackass said...

How the hell do you still have BC ranked lower than Clemson?!?

As I seem to be the only person representing BC as an alum and who sticks up for BC on this blog (not surprising since our fans do kinda suck), I am officially outraged at this.

We beat FSU, V-Tech, a better than advertised BYU, and oh yeah, CLEMSON! And we have a great story in Apanavicius? Shouldn't you love these guys?

Oh wait... actually, now that I think about it... thanks Dan, by ranking us low and not jinxing us you're the best!

-Todd (Boston)

Richard said...


I'll see you in JAX.

-GT fan

Matt T said...

Why do people want a rematch game in the BCS championship game? One team will prove it is better than the other.

If Auburn and Florida meet again in the SEC championship game and Auburn wins again, they theoretically get penalized because UF will have 2 losses, but both would be to them.

Its a strange system.

Barry "The Hatchet" Banks said...

Wait, so Virginia Tech's two losses are to your number 16 and number 19 ranked teams and we just beat the Tiger-piss out of your number 15 team but we don't crack the top 25?
Sure, our season is in turmoil to what we expected, but top 25? Definitely.

jay said...

No love for the Hokies??

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Well, Dan, at least you acknowledged the 'excuse' I made for Michigan before Saturday had even ended.

I'll try again, with feeling, but I still don't care where you put WVa, as long as it isn't #1 like those 2 jackasses in California. I'm just waiting for Thursday...

Anyway -
I'll point out that Michigan started out fast and strong; with approx. 10:05 left in the first, Michigan had stopped NW solidly and taken the ball right down the field for a 7-0 lead. By the end of the first quarter, the nasty nasty rain was upon us, and Michigan stopped tempting fate in the air (after all, the defense dropped about 5 soggy Northwestern passes in the first 3 quarters).

Michigan did what they had to, and avoided giving Northwestern a chance to get back in it by means of slippery interceptions. If you're serious about thinking Michigan looked vulnerable this weekend, you're worse than most scoreboard-checkers.

Joe (Livonia, MI) said...

I can certainly vouch for the weather conditions at Michigan Stadium being almost as bad as that 1995 5-0 over Purdue shitfest. Rain and freezing rain, high winds and bitter cold by October standards.

It wasn't a sparkling performance by UM, by any means. They did what they had to. Still, it's silly to randomly move up WVU, who was presumably sitting around, eating cheeseburgers. I'm befuddled.

adnteh said...

Speaking of those California voters, anyone think they're voting W Va number one not for any objective reason, but simply because they are USC fans and hate OSU/the Big Ten? I'm totally guessing there, but hey, they are too if they think WV is number one.

Anonymous said...

Putting Cal at 14 is borderline absurd , though not surprising from and SEC homer and a writer that makes an effort to be audacious. Cal has been substantially more impressive than SC this year and anyone that has at least watched or compared their performances against common opponents would come to that conclusion. This list merely reinforces the notion that these rankings are inherently flawed because many of these writers really aren't exposed to enough of these teams nor do they really do their homework beyond what talking heads spew out on TV or on the interweb.

FreKy J said...

Top 25 according to the CFB Ladder Rankings:

1) Ohio State - 1710pts
2) Michigan - 1636pts
3) Rutgers - 1592pts
4) Louisville - 1557pts
5) Texas - 1550pts
6) Notre Dame - 1543pts
7) California - 1539pts
8) Auburn - 1529pts
9) Tennessee - 1525pts
10) Boise State - 1516pts
11) West Virginia - 1509pts
T12) Florida - 1501pts
T12) Texas A&M - 1501pts
14) Wisconsin - 1465pts
15) Tulsa - 1437pts
16) Arkansas - 1399pts
17) Clemson - 1393pts
18) USC - 1380pts
19) Oklahoma - 1379pts
20) Boston College - 1360pts
21) LSU - 1357pts
22) Brigham Young - 1341pts
23) Washington State - 1328pts
24) Georgia Tech - 1320pts
25) Wake Forest - 1313pts

rukrusher said...

I am not sure how this works but anyone who has RU in the top 5 is ok by me.

Top 25 according to the CFB Ladder Rankings