Saturday, October 28, 2006

USC Shocked at Oregon State!
BCS Turmoil!

I interrupt my sweats at having just watched Florida survive a game they were dominating against Georgia...


USC finally got caught, and it wasn't even to one of the "power" teams on their schedule. It was to middling Oregon State, who played as inspired a game as I've seen in a while, particularly that defense on the game-saving 2-point non-conversion.

The biggest implication? The BCS is officially in "turmoil" status. Here's how:

One title-game spot will go to the Ohio St-Michigan winner.

The other? Let's see:

It SHOULD be the winner of Thursday's titanic battle between Louisville and West Virginia, presuming that the winner of that game wins out.

HOWEVER, given the way the BCS poll formula seems to discount the Big East, it's not a stretch to say that the Big East champ (WVA, L'ville, Rutgers, whoever) could end the season undefeated and STILL find themselves behind a higher-ranked one-loss team from the following batch, in this order (just my opinion, as always):

(1) 1-loss SEC champ (Auburn, currently No. 4 in the BCS, would seemingly have the best shot, but they aren't even controlling their own destiny in the SEC West to make the SEC title game. Florida, 6th in the BCS, has the next-best shot, but only if they beat Auburn in the SEC title game. Then I'd say Tennessee, if Florida falters. Then Arkansas, which ironically is in the driver's seat in the SEC West. But their blowout loss to suddenly VERY iffy USC would be held against them. Convoluted? Yes. That's why let's just say "1-loss SEC champ.")

(2) 1-loss Texas (only loss to Ohio St., but from the early BCS formula results, the Longhorns will need a lot of help, and their case doesn't get better by racking up more wins in the so-so Big 12.)

(3) 1-loss Michigan/Ohio St LOSER

(4) 1-loss Pac-10 champ (USC-Cal winner, although since USC lost to lowly Oregon St and Cal lost to SEC runner-up Tennessee, this is the longest shot).

Apologies to all of the other one-loss teams out there (not to mention other unbeatens like Rutgers or Boise St). You're just too far out to have a shot.


john (east lansing, mi) said...

Told you, bitches.

Ingrid and Jim said...

I have to believe that an undefeated Big East champ - and I think that one of the Big East teams WILL run the table - would get the second spot. And deservedly so. Imagine if West Virginia and Rutgers play in the final week of the season for a "play in" game to the BCS!!!!

Jim - Rutgers '02

Ingrid and Jim said...

PS - Was the USC loss really a shock? It wasn't to me, and I'm a USC fan (Rutgers undergrad, USC grad school).

They are clearly middle of the road in the Pac 10 this year. I foresee them losing to Cal and Oregon, and maybe UCLA as well. And Notre Dame.

Liam said...

I hate the BCS setup. I think majority of football fans with brains do. We all would rather see a playoff system.

It's going to get messy. The loser of the Ohio State/Michigan game will have one loss. Now they both have such a commanding lead in the BCS poll, that the loser of that game might not drop too low in the polls and thus still be #2 in the BCS. The polls might not punish the loser too hard for losing their only game in the last week of their season.

I hope that is not the scenario. As a Gator fan, I'm hoping for a way for us to sneak up to the top. But there needs to be a lot of help. USC losing is the start.

nep1293 said...

The only teams I think deserve a shot are:

Michigan-Ohio St winner (possibly loser too)

West Virginia-Louisville-Rutgers survivor (assuming an undefeated record) btw, why does everybody just assume the WV-Louisville winner will automatically beat Rutgers? If Rutgers was named Florida St they'd be in the top 5.

SEC Champ (assuming they have 1 loss)

I think everybody else with 1 loss is out. (Notre Dame, Cal, USC, Texas) I'd say USC has the best shot since they have Notre Dame and Cal left to play. If they were to win those they would have a slate of good wins to throw them back into it.

My Prediciton:

Michigan beats Ohio St

West Virginia beats Louisville
Rutgers beats Louisville
West Virginia beats Rutgers

LSU beats Arkansas
Florida beats Auburn in the SEC title game

Michigan-West Virginia would be the fairest since they are both unbeaten. But I think West Virginia would get squeezed out by either Florida or Ohio St

The Michigan-Ohio St game has to be a blowout to open the door for someone else, if it's a close game there will be a rematch.

Am undefeated Big East team deserves to make the title game. Pitt is solid, Cincinnati has been pesky all year, USF is also tough.

This might be the best chance to get changes made in the system cause it sure looks to me like the computers will give us Michigan-Ohio St II. This year is screaming for an 8 team playoff

mark said...

I agree with others that it's good to see the BCS in chaos.

Interesting, isn't it, that the bowls have survived as long as they have. While I comprehend the fact that the bowls are well-financed, and the teams themselves reap a ton of money from the bowls, wouldn't it seem like an actual playoff would make even more money for everyone? I mean, as it stands now, all but one of the bowls are meaningless. If the bowls had meaning, wouldn't more people watch them?

Also, my biggest problem with the Bowl Championship Series is that it's, um, not a series.

Proposed playoff format: Eight teams. The big six conference champs get nearly-automatic bids, and the best two remaining teams, per a BCS-type formula, take the other two slots. The conference bids would only be nearly-automatic, because the following rules apply: No two- or three-loss teams will qualify if there are undefeated teams left available, and no four-loss teams will qualify ever.

Four bowls, from a rotating pool of all of them, will host the quarterfinals, which will be seeded based on BCS-type ranking; 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, and so on. The Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta bowls will rotate through hosting the final, semifinal #1, semifinal #2, and being placed in the quarterfinal pool.

The rest of college football can qualify for meaningless bowls as normal, if they want.

adnteh said...

To all of you clamoring for a playoff, are you ready for a team's first loss to no longer matter? To other sports, "Every Game Matters" means the playoffs. In college football, it means "Every. Game. Matters." Think about any other sport, and you can conceive of scenarios where a team can accept defeat. This does not happen in college football, and it is a large reason why I like it a little better than the NFL. You won't ever get a throwaway game (or games) at the end of the season, a la the NFL, where a team is mathematically in and puts in everyone but the waterboy in a losing effort (in front of paying, ticket-holding fans, mind you).

On top of all that, remember that playoffs lead to some of the flukiest "champions," which is an outcome we all seem to want to reduce. How convenient that the World Series just ended for living proof. With all due respect, the Cards may own the trophy, but no one can call them the best team this season without making a hard statistical case that I haven't seen. But that's a tangent I don't want to get into. Suffice it to say, playoff victors are winners, and no doubt they are very good. Sometimes they're the undisputed best, other times they're underdogs that came upon a statistical peak out of nowhere at just the right time. But the system is very fluke-prone.

I say put in a plus-one game at the end. After the bowl season, just put in the best two teams left-probably the winners of the top two bowl games.

nep1293 said...

Eric, the problem is that there's a good chance that a 1 loss team will get a chance to play for the title over an undefeated Big East team. The plus one system is great if there are more than 2 undefeated teams or a bunch of 1 loss teams.

There should be no need for a plus 1 this year if the Big Ten champ and Big East champ are both undefeated.

Technically the Big East champ could win their bowl game and the Big Ten champ could lose their game. So they should have to come back and play another game when it all could have been avoided in the first place?

Best case to avoid controversy is to have all 3 Big East teams finish with a loss, the SEC champ have 2 losses and for Ohio St-Michigan to end in a last second FG with a controversial call. Then everyone will want OSU-Michigan II and that's what they'll get.

But if West Virginia, Louisville or Rutgers go 12-0 they shouldn't have to worry about losing the spot they earned to a 1 loss team.

The heroin sheik said...

As much as I love Florida and as much money as Iwould win if they hit the national title double with football and basketball I have a sinking suspicion that we are due for another loss. Having discussed the matter with many alumni over this past weekend we are mostly in agreement that it seems that we are getting worse as a team. We can't play a full game. It is either a slow start with a fast finish or a fast start and we barely hold on. Granted we only have to play vandy, USC, West carolina and Fsu but that USC game is going to be tough. We all know there is nothing spurrier wants more than to beat UF at home.

This being said if we do run the table which I think is a very good possibility if we can keep our focus on one week at a time then I see only one outcome. UF 28 Auburn 17 in a rematch on neutral ground. It is pretty hard to beat a team twice in one season. IF we put the lockdown on Auburn how could we not be number 2 in the BullCrapSeries. Id love to play UM if only to shut up the arguments between all the big ten afficianados on this site and dan and his legion from the gator nation.

Regardless This might be the year where the BCS finally shows how convoluted it really is.

MP said...

Yeah, I'm in total agreement with those that say the BCS system is in turmoil and should be abolished.

How many more messes need to happen before they finally institute a much-needed playoff system?

Moreover, how long until the NCAA is overthrown for people who AREN'T corrupt with power?

chipp said...

Top ranked teams don't want byes: that would allow a "Cindarella" to possibly play 4 games (and get 4 games' worth of bowl money) while the top 4 could only possibly get 3 games.

Red Auerbach: Even as a -30, non-Celtic fan he still is synonomous with basketball. It'll be interesting to see if Stern/NBA does anything to honor him. They should.

USC/OSU: I picked OSU to cover because I've seen their D first-hand. I wasn't expecting an upset, but I didn't see it as an impossibility. However, OSU Coach Mike Riley should still be fired. After getting a 23-point lead late in the 3rd, he did everything he could to lose that game, it just wasn't in the cards.

Would it be weird having OSU/UM play twice in a row?

TJ said...

Oh man is Charlie Weiss going to be pissed this week.

I think you're living in a little bit of a fantasy world, Joe (from Linovia). I'm extremely scared of Spurrier, and I can't believe you're not after how well they played against Auburn and now Tennessee.

The UF defense just hasn't been giving up the big play, which is great for facing a Spurrier offense. The last few weeks (and yesterday especially), however, have seen quite a few potential game breakers bounce off the hands of opposing receivers who had a step or two on the Gator defenders.

I'm trying not to write too much about the Gators for fear I overstate things, but I'm getting a distinct feeling of deja vu during the second half of games. I keep thinking that after one of these 3rd quarter drives (run-run-pass-punt) they're going to pan the camera over to the sideline and show the Ol' Zooker standing there with his clipboard, looking flustered. I'm not sayin... I'm just sayin.

ToddTheJackass said...

Hmm Dan... if you're a little critical of us making bad/inappropriate comments because you're trying to show off the blog to FoxSports, etc., might not want to use the phrase "To Piss on the Grave of USC." Dunno, might not go over too well.

MoL said...

i echo Eric's sentiments and I'm actually a fan of the BCS. As convoluted a system it is, I think it works. We get the "whole season as a playoff" scenario where you need to go undefeated to give yourself the best chance of being in the title game. Lose once, and you need help, and a lot of it. Put in a playoff system and you lose this "do or die" mentality every week. I enjoy the hype with GameDay and the post-game shows where they go-over who is left standing and who has the best shot. Each week the number of suitors decreases (this week: USC). The other thing the BCS does is get us talking. Its the whole "any publicity is good publicity" deal. People complaing about the BCS is what makes it so good. All of these pundits predicting all the different scenarios and who will play in the big game. It may not be perfect, but its still better then the pre-BCS days.

My pick: OSU v WVU.

TJ said...

You shouldn't write off Rutgers like that. It's fine to say they have no shot at going undefeated. I could maybe believe that. But to say they're too far out to have a shot at the BCS title game if they do go undefeated? Well, that means you haven't looked at the polls very well.

Rutgers is 15th in the AP (and will be about the same in the new Harris Poll). Before the year is out they will have played the #3 team (Lousiville-WVU winner) and the #10-ish team (Louisville-WVU loser). If they win both of those games I have a hard time believing they wouldn't jump WAY up in the human polls. #3 or so being a complete possibility. And if the human polls disagree as to which one-loss teams to rank highest, #3 could be plenty high enough to make it.

And don't forget that the computers have Rutgers ranked higher than Louisville and WVU right now--two teams you think have a much better shot at making the title game. Basically, what I'm saying is that if you look at all three polls the BCS takes into account, it looks like an undefeated Rutgers has about as good a shot at making the title game as any other undfeated Big East Champ.

TJ said...

One more thing then I'll leave everyone alone and go study.

Now is the time of year when it makes sense to draft your top 10 with a mind toward bowl season. I don't think it's a bad idea to rank the top 10 now in terms of who most deserves a championship bid. With that in mind, my top 10 looks like:

1. Michigan
2. OSU - of course, it really doesn't matter which you put ahead at this point.
3. West Virginia
4. Louisville
5. Florida
6. Auburn
7. Tennessee
8. Rutgers
9. Texas
10. California

The heroin sheik said...

Joe I think you are probably right in saying that we are the same as four weeks ago. We just keep letting teams hang in against us and I just hope it doesnt bite us in the ass again.

I am pretty confident that we will win the SEC but the cocks and vandy always play us pretty close. My money has been on the gators since the end of last year to win the SEC and I blindly put money on them to win it all as well. Im glad I dont bet the spread though because we never seem to cover.

Dan Shanoff said...

nep1293's comment has it as right-on as I have seen it.

I'm going to talk more about this tomorrow, but the more I think about it, the more I'm quite sure that the BCS title game will be an Ohio St-Michigan rematch, assuming that the game isn't a blowout (as nep1293 points out).

The BCS formula numbers seem to be likely to work out (even with an unbeaten WVA running the table) and, if it's a close game, it's be the "people's choice" game, not to mention the "media's choice."

I'm not saying the BCS formula would reflect that, but I think it's what'll end up happening.

(If WVA can beat Louisville and Rutgers to run the table, by the way, I'd have no problem siding with 'Eers fans that they deserve the spot in the national title game vs. the OSU-Mich winner. I hold out hope that beating those two teams would increase their standing in the BCS component polls -- including the computers -- enough to put them at No. 2, no matter how the Ohio St-Michigan loser finishes.)

Let the Ohio St-Michigan loser play a 1-loss SEC champ in the "woulda-coulda-shoulda been a contender bowl." (AKA the "Had-Your-Chance Bowl.")

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Troy - I don't understand the moral system with which you're working; it's fine to write off Rutgers's chances of going undefeated, but it's somehow wrong to predict that the BCS wouldn't reward Rutgers for a perfect regular season? I thought it was worse to underrate a team than to underrate a ranking system which underrates that team.

Also, I disagree. I think Rutgers can certainly run the table; West Virginia might find Rutgers and their #11 rushing defense a little tougher to score on than Maryland, owners of the nation's 100th-best rush D. Meanwhile, I think Louisville will beat WVa by 20 on Thursday; they'll have a tougher time against Rutgers and that D, though.

Unfortunately, I think it's clear that the poll voters do not adhere to any rational system of making choices. West Virginia was near the top at the start of the year. Surprise - they're still there. Rutgers, which gets a boost from the computer polls, of all things, because they have proven more by playing better teams than Wva, was out of the polls at the start of the year. They're still nowhere near the top 10, although the world has more reason to respect them than WVa. The polls are just not respecting Rutgers, and they just won't. This seems like it should be illegal, but I'll bet you $50 that Kevin Pearson and/or Scott Wolf would vote West Virginia above Rutgers, if an undefeated Rutgers had just beaten a previously undefeated West Virginia. What the fuck is wrong with these guys? (Granted, they may not affect the BCS standings, but they clearly indicate a problem with human voters.)

Have you ever seen a very-low-ranked team beat a very-high-ranked team and get the bump they deserve in the rankings?

Arkansas over Auburn? Congratulations, you're in the Top 25! The team you manhandled is still in the Top 10, though. That's fair, right?
UM over Notre Dame?
(I'm not complaining about Michigan's low ranking early this season - Blue didn't deserve a high ranking after whatever last year was. I'm just pointing out that a team in the mid-teens does NOT get bumped into the Top 3 for beating a Top 3 team. It's a historical fact.)

If you are mindful of the behavior of human polls, I don't know how you can think it likely that Rutgers can earn a trip to the national championship. Even though they might deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I love the BCS. Florida is ahead of Auburn. Florida lost to Auburn. Do all the math you want, but anything bad that you say about Auburn has to reflect upon Florida for losing to them.

and ND is 5 in the computer polls? time for a restart on those PC's.

TJ said...

Dan - If there are enough one-loss teams--SEC champ, Texas, California, Notre Dame--I think the public perception toward the OSU-Michigan loser will be, "You had your chance; let someone else try." I know a rematch championship has happened before, but given how the past few years have made everyone sesitive to the "team that earns a shot but is denied" story. And it would be a lot harder to feel that, say, OSU didn't get a fair shot when they'd already played Michigan and lost.

TJ said...

John--Normally I'd think you were right, but I would like to think the fact that Rutgers plays both Lousiville and West Virginia means that if they run the table, the voters would have to have left them underrated after 2 statement upsets. I don't expect any human poll to move Rutgers to 2 (except maybe the AP, to dig up some potential controversy) but I think there's a very real possibility that no team will be consensus #2, so a consensus #3 Rut, with a favorable computer ranking, could sneak in just as easily as WVU. Overall, though, I think it looks more and more like a 2001 situation where the #2 makes it in by percentage points over 2 or 3 other equally-deserving teams.

adnteh said...

Totally with you joe. People need to realize that the transitive property is for algebra, not college football. Of course, it does make sense...but only in theory. In theory, communism works. (thank you Homer Simpson)

Those "A beat B beat C" chains are a logical house of cards. e.g.: "A beat B beat C beat A"--ok, so now who's best? And you can virtually always create one of those latter scenarios if you try hard enough.

That is why you simply must look at a team's resume for the season. In order to save your sanity, it may be best to not even look at the names of teams when you do this because, yes, it is frustrating that Florida looks better than Auburn on paper even after they lost to them. But I do think most teams would still rather play Auburn than Florida, just by a hair.

The BCS, like a broken clock, can still be correct every once in a while.