LIST OF WWE PERSONNEL?!?
Wolverine In Exile
In the glow of Sunday's gloriousness, one disturbing item was nearly washed out, the hockey team's inconceivable loss to Ohio St on Friday night. Needing a strong finish to the season to ensure an at-large bid chance, majority opinion was that a non-sweep this weekend was life-threatening (see "Sweep or Die" in Brian's preview).
With the split instead of a sweep, the predicatble happened. Michigan dropped a couple slots all the way down to 20th in Pairwise Rankings (PWR) and are by first blush out of consideration for an at-large bid (see PWR here http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-rankings/d-i-men/grid/#Michigan). With the way the NCAA tourney works, you basically have to be higher than 14th to have any confidence of an at-large bid. 16 teams are taken and usually the 15th and 16th slots if not more are taken by conference tourney winners outside the Top 16. This year, there's guaranteed to be one bid stolen from the Top 16 PWR teams, the spot going to the American Hockey champion (right now Robert Morris has secured the regualr season title, and sit at 23 in the PWR).
PWR is essentially a 3-part process where you compare your selves against other teams: RPI (a percentage measure of a team's strength based on record, road wins, and strength of schedule), Common Opponents, and Head-to-head.
While the situation is bad, it's not impossible to see Michigan *even at this point* getting an at-large bid. Assuming Michigan needs to get to at least 15 for an at-large slot, looking at Michigan directly on the PWR matrix, there are 5 teams ahead of us. I list them below with the PWR score, and what they're winning the comparison on:
14. St Cloud St, 0-1, RPI, .5349-.5457
15. Yale, 0-1, RPI, .5349-.5441
16. Harvard, 0-2, RPI & Common opponents
17. UMass-Lowell, 1-2, RPI (.5349-.5374) & Common opponent- note we win head to head
18. Vermont, .0-1, RPI, .5349-.5388
19. St Lawrence, 0-2, RPI (.5349-.5364) & common opponent
So realistically, a delta more than 0.02 in RPI at this point in the season is too much to make up and a common opponent comparison is pretty much set in stone at this point unless you're talking about someone else in your own conference. But Yale, UMass-Lowell, Vermont, and St Lawrence are all only 1 comparison flip away from us jumping them, and it's so bunched up with the difference in RPI so low, there's still a chance. Since we stil have 2 away games against Penn St coming up, the bonus points for a road win that go into RPI still put us in play. If Michigan St keeps improving, we might even be eligilble to gaba bonus road win point adjustment from that Friday night game at Munn on the last regular season weekend.
Basically there's a multi-part formula that's still in play for us to get an at-large slot. It is:
- Go 5-1 / 6-0 to end the regular season. A sweep against Penn St is a necessity. No more room for error.
- Hope Harvard loses to BC tonight (common opponent) and then everybody else from St Cloud St through St Lawrence play middling hockey to end the regular season
- We need to beat Penn St (more likely after this weekend they're going to be a 3 seed) in a BTT Semifinal. We could lose in the final, but only to Minnesota as long as they're sufficiently high in the PWR (and they are right now). Any other B1G team wins the tourney besides Minnesota and we're out for at-large consideration.
- Hope everybody on that list from 14-19 above lose early in their conference tournaments. No semi or finals appearances for them.
We probably can make up enough ground with a winning streak and a BTT finals appearance to flip a single RPI against msot of these teams. The bugaboo would appear to be Harvard-- but they may play themselves into an at-large if they get up to 14. An American Hockey cinderella story isn't going to affect us, and one possible advantage of the B1G being so down, is that each other "big" conference (Hockey East, ECAC, NCHC, WCHA) have most of their contending teams already significantly above us, so it'd have to be a REAL cinderella run by a lower team from those conferences to "steal" another slot. I think we're looking at a tournament this year where the 15 team in PWR gets in as teh last at-large slot.
This is stil highly volatile and Michigan does not have its destiny in its own hands. I'm still of the belief that if we would have swept this weekend, we probably would be at 16 or even 15 in PWR and could have essentially controlled our destiny to an at-large. Now we need help. But it's not impossible.
UPDATE (2/24): With Harvard's loss to BC in the Beanpot 3rd place game, that helped us in two ways:
1. Harvard losing knocked their RPI down a little
2. BC and BU winning actually bumped up our RPI from .5349 to .5352. My back of envelope math shows we're probably within a 1 game difference of Harvard and UMass-Lowell (important for UML since we won head to head). Not sure if we can jump Vermont yet. A Vermont - UML split this weekend probably is the preferred result.
Revised bottom line is that from this point out, beside Michigan finishing 6-0 or 5-1 with a BTT Finals appearance, cheer like hell for Michigan Tech (easy), BC & BU (not so easy) to make huge runs from here on out. Their (BC & BU) improvements in winning percentage alone bumped us up Monday. They're the only OOC opponents we've played that have a realistic shot of helping us by winning a lot the rest of the season. Plus, all three are already ahead of us in PWR significantly, so a conference tourney win by either of the three helps with addition / maintenence of another at-large slot. It's still going to be tight, but the road to slot #15 is still open.
UPDATE:: Changed projected to real BCS standings and corrected analysis after talking heads on ESPN clarified the 3 SEC possibility... it is as most people have written in the comments, a conference can only get 3 if BCS1 and BCS2 are not conference champs... aka the LSU v Ala even though one of the two lost to Georgia in the SEC championship game scenario...
So when last I left you (two weeks ago), LSU had just defeated Alabama in the most underwhelming 1 v 2 matchup in modern times, Boise St was crusing towards a BCS at-large again but likely to get snubbed out of the national championship game, and the B1G was a muddled mess.....
Flash forward to today, and we have utter complete and no-shenanigans chaos erupting in BCS land. Only one more step friends until we have SEC on SEC violence due to one of their beloved conference teams being shut out from a chance at the national championship... or will there be?
First, the official BCS standings as of tonight, via ESPN:
Official BCS Standings: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. Oklahoma State, 5. Va Tech, 6. Stanford, 7. Boise St, 8. Houston, 9. Oklahoma, 10. Oregon, 11. Kansas St, 12. So Carolina, 13. Georgia, 14. MSU, 15. Michigan, 16. Wisconsin, 17. Clemson, 18. Baylor, 19. Penn St, 20. TCU, 21. Nebraska, 22. Notre Dame, 23. Georgia Tech, 24. Auburn, 25. Texas.
Note:: No Big East teams in Top 25, meaning Houston will be a mandatory pick should they win their conference and stay in the Top 16. The BCS selection rules say that a non-AQ gets a mandatory BCS at-large slot if they win their conference and:
A) are in the top 12
B) Are in the top 16 and are higher than a AQ conference champion (i.e. the Big East sucks rule)
Houston's good anyway since they're in the Top 12-- non-AQ's in the top 12 don't have the "we're better than the Big East" clause. If Houston should stumble, TCU is going to have some work to do since they'll have to get in the Top 16 to get a mandatory non-AQ slot.
- The SEC is poised to blow the 2 teams in the BCS from a single conference rule out the window... the BCS bylaws state:
"No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings ."
This means that should the SEC get two teams in the NCG, they wuold have the possibility of getting a third in the BCS games as an at-large. As we'll see, this is possible.
- Michigan is poised well to get in a BCS game as an at-large.
- The Big12 and ACC crapped their pants and liklely lost their shot at both conferences getting a 2nd team in.
- The biggest benficiaries of the two weeks of chaos are Michigan & Houston.
- The Big East still sucks.
Now the projections.. we'll use the projected standings as our basis. The teams that are GUARANTEED a slot per the BCS rules are LSU (BCS1), Alabama (BCS2), Ok St (B12 chmp), MSU/PSU/Wis (B1G chmp), VaTech (ACC chmp), Louisville (BE chmp per ESPN standings), Houston (non-AQ in top 12 & conf chmp-- Boise is NOT MWC chmp so even though they're higher than Houston, Houston qualifies) :
NCG: LSU v. Alabama
Fiesta: Ok St (B12 champ) v. Stanford (at-large)
Sugar: Houston (non-AQ mandatory) v. Michigan (at-large)
Orange: Va Tech (ACC champ) vs. Lousiville (BE chmp)
Rose: Mich St / Wiscy / Penn St (B1G champ) v. Oregon (Pac12 chmp)
- LSU v. Alabama... I'm going say for simplicity sake, they both win out meaning LSU is the SEC champ, and 'Bama is the #2 team in the BCS.
- The Sugar gets one pick to replace LSU.... they take Houston who as commenter Mat points out, is a 40k member school just hours away from New Orleans.
- Then the regular slotting for 2012 takes over (fiesta, Sugar, Orange).. Fiesta takes a 1-loss Stanford with potential Heisman winner Andrew Luck in a regional play, the Sugar goes again and takes a 10-win Michigan team with three quality wins in a row and a fan base itching to get back to the big time. Orange takes the last at-large and gets Lousiville by default.
Who got screwed:
- Arkansas, a 2-loss SEC team who only lost to the #1 & #2 teams and is in the top 5 of the BCS can't go to a BCS game b/c of LSU & Alabama.
- Oklahoma, Boise St, Clemson... these teams were poised to take an at-large from Michigan.
- 2nd B1G team not named Michigan... Sparty could be in the unenviable spot that even though they beat Michigan in the regular season and got to the conf championship game, if they get spanked by, say Wisconsin on a revenge tour game, they do not look good as an at-large Michigan on awin streak against high profile programs (no, I'm not talking about you, Zooker)
Remaining items for Chaos:
- LSU v Arkansas: this has the most potential for upsetting the NCG, but in reality if Ark does beat LSU, all that means is that the one that emerges from the Ark/LSU/Ala triumverate to the SEC champ game goes to the NCG if they win and the 2-nd team in that threesome likely gets the 2 seed in the BCS standings. The SEC tiebreakers are so screwy (go read http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/11/20/2574943/bcs-rankings-standings-projections-predictions-week-13 for detailed explanations), it's going to a lot of backroom talking between voters to see who gets that little bump in BCS standings.
- Iron Bowl: Auburn could throw an even bigger monkey wrench in this if they somehow take down their rivals.... Bama loses and Arkansas wins, its chaos.
- SEC championship: If Georgia somehow beats the SEC West champ, no matter who it is, the entire system crashes into the goddamn mountain- aka the other conference commissioners might band together to change the system so one conference doesn't get 3 slots. This is the 3 SEC team scenario... let's say:
** LSU wins over Arkansas huge and 'Bama mops the floor with Auburn. Going into the SEC championship game, LSU and 'Bama are the undisputed #1 & #2 BCS teams by a wide margin in human polls and computers.
** LSU loses a controversial game in the SEC championship game. Think Spartan Bob type screwing in the Georgia Dome to a Georgia team. Finebaum show is packed for weeks with "Louie from Natchodoches" claiming LSU is still the #1 team in the country and it was a conspiracy by the state of Georgia to screw LSU. Legend and Jim from Crestwood counter with calls taunting LSU fans for losing that game and jumping LSU in the polls because 'Bama has 47 national titles (35 awarded from the Montgomery Free Press & Girl Scout Newsletter).
** Ok St loses to Oklahoma in Bedlam, eliminating the only real 1-loss contender from jumping 'Bama or LSU.
** LSU and Bama in some order come out #1 & #2 in BCS standings after all this, with Georgia the SEC champ. This means the SEC champ gets the automatic Sugar Bowl bid (UGa), LSU & Bama are in the NCG, and like Emeril saying 'BAM' you have 3 SEC teams in BCS bowl games, all played in New Orleans.
** If this happens, the variation to the BCS slots from above would see either Michigan or Houston getting shipped to the Fiesta and the other in the Sugar with Stanford booted out. Since Fiesta goes first with no team that the Sugar has to replace in the NCG, Fiesta picks Michigan over Stanford, and Houston goes to NOLa to play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Even without my maize & blue glasses, I think Michigan is more attractive than Stanford.
- Houston losing: If Houston drops a game, then it will be dogfight between Stanford, a 2nd B12 team, and maybe Va Tech if Clemson upsets Va Tech in the ACC championship for the open at-large slot vacated by Houston. TCU would need help to jump 4 BCS slots to get to #16 and clinch the BigEast sucks clause spot.
Per the sage words from Doc Saturday... rooting interest in the BCS? Chaos... always Chaos.
Well with Iowa in our rear view, and the "Game of the Century" (cough) over, the BCS picture is clearer... The main points:
- LSU is in the drivers seat for the Nat'l championship game. They can probably even absorb a defeat vs Arkansas and still make it in so long as they beat the SEC East rep in the SEC champ game.
- LSU's opponent is likely Ok St or Stanford in that order if they both go undefeated. Ok St has one more chance to impress voters big time with a win over OU, and if Stanford beats Oregon, they will likely leapfrog Alabama.
- Your at larges at this point (in order) are probably Alabama, Boise St, and maybe Oklahoma??
- The Big East is only getting one team in the BCS.
- The projections for the BCS are (based on Fiesta-Sugar-Orange order for this year):
BCS championship: LSU vs. Ok St.
Rose (B1G v Pac12): B1G champ vs. Stanford
Fiesta (Big 12 v at large): Oklahoma (2-loss, 1st choice at large) v. Boise St (3rd at-large)
Orange (ACC v. at large): Clemson v. Houston/Oregon/B1G runner up
Sugar (SEC v at large): Ala (2nd choice at-large) v. West Virginia (4th at-large)
The biggest factor here is the order of the bowl selections. That will make a HUGE difference as you'll see:
- First the locks by contract: LSU & OkSt in the Nat'l Champ Game, aka the Les Miles Bowl; B1G champ (we'll say MSU for argument sake) and Stanford in the Rose; Clemson (ACC champ) in the Orange. That's it.
- The Fiest goes first to replace OkSt... Alabama isn't as attractive to them as a Big 12 team, so they take a Big 12 team eligible and even with two losses, a sure draw. they take Oklahoma.
- Next, the Sugar goes, and they take another SEC team to replace LSU. Alabama.
- Now we get back to the regular bowl selection order for this year, meaning the Fiesta goes first. they chose between the Big East champ (probably West Va), Boise who gets the non-AQ autoqualify slot, and a bunch of unattractive teams with 2 losses or more from power conferences or Houston. I think the Fiesta goes for undefeated Boise in a BSU v OU rematch.
- Next the Sugar gets an at-large pick, they get their choice of West Va, the same 2-loss teams as before or an undefeated Houston. Since an SEC team just played Oregon last year in the BCS, and teh Sugar doesn't want to take a flyer on Houston, it basically comes down to West Va, a 2nd B1G team (Wiscy? Penn St? Nebraska?), or an ACC at large, the highest ranking would be Va Tech. I think the Sugar goes West Va, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Wisconsin if the Badgers win out from here on and lose tiebreakers to Penn St to get into the B1G champ game.
- Finally the Orange gets to select their at-large team. Basically, they can't take an ACC team since Clemson is already there. So they chose between Oregon, 2nd B1G, undefeated Houston. Probably they take a Wisconsin or Penn St (JoePa's last game?) over the non-AQ Houston or the cross country traveling Oregon.
- If a 1-loss MSU gets to the B1G champ game and loses to Penn St or Wiscy, they probably become a good Orange at-large team... not Sugar since Saban blew their doors off last year.
- If Penn St gets to the B1G game and loses with the Sandusky cloud hanging over them, they might not be a good at-large candidate... this could cause a B1G trickle down with no 2nd B1G team in the BCS and everybody getting slotted one game lower.
- LSU can probably absorb an Arkansas loss, but an Arkansas loss with a loss to Georgia in the SEC title game??? Would the voters keep Alabama or LSU in the #2 slot knnowing that Boise blew out Georgia in the Georgia Dome to open the season? This will be the litmus test for SEC backlash.
- If Stanford gets to the BCS title game via a Ok St stumble against OU, look for Oregon to be the Rose fill-in for Stanford and no 2nd B1G team in the Orange or Sugar.
Could Michigan stil get in?
- Probably not but maybe.... it would take
1) us winning out including convincingly against Neb and OSU.
2) Wisconsin dropping another game, probably to Penn St
3) Penn St to lose in the B1G champ game in a blow out and have turmoil in the coaching / AD as a result of the Sandusky scandal.
At that point, we're a 2-loss team competing with a 2nd ACC team and the Big East champ for the right to go to the Sugar against Alabama. We might be prettier than West Va or Va Tech to the Sugar, although with the 2012 season game against Alabama, we're probably a better bet as an at-large to the Orange vs Clemson with West Va facing Alabama in an SEC sacrifice game.
- for chaos and death to the BCS: Stanford, Ok St, and Boise to win out with an embarassing LSU loss to Georgia in the SEC champ game.
- Michigan in the BCS: us to win out, Penn St to beat Wisconsin but lose another game
Now that we're within the sight line of the finish to the regular season, I thought tonight would be a good chance to post my inital (but still early in the process) BCS Outlook:
The main points:
- Barring unbelievable upset in the SEC championship, either Alabama or LSU will be in the BCS championship game.
- The SEC is getting two teams in the BCS.... again. The question is whether it will be either the Alabama-LSU loser, Arkansas, or the East Division winner (likely Georgia or South Carolina)
- Boise is in a BCS game unless they lose from here out. If Oregon beats Stanford and Ok St loses to Oklahoma, they might be playing the SEC champ for the title.
- The Big East and ACC are only getting one team each in the BCS. There will be significant competition for the at large slots
- The projections for the BCS are (based on Fiesta-Sugar-Orange order for this year):
BCS championship: Ala/LSU winner vs. Ok St.
Rose (B1G v Pac12): B1G champ vs. Stanford
Fiesta (Big 12 v at large): Oklahoma (2-loss, 1st choice at large) v. Boise St (3rd at-large)
Orange (ACC v. at large): Clemson v. B1G runner-up/Houston
Sugar (SEC v at large): Ala/LSU loser (2nd choice at-large) v. West Virginia (4th at-large)
- A 2 loss Oklahoma even if they lose to OkSt will still be ranked high enough to justify an at-large slot and will be attractive as a replacement pick for the Fiesta who loses OkSt to the NCG
- the Sugar will happily take LSU or Ala or even Arkansas as a replacement pick for the SEC champ in the NCG
- A Boise v Oklahoma rematch may be a good draw for the Fiesta.
- West Virginia as a Big East champ may be a better draw than a weakened Big ten 2nd team, especially in a Sugar Bowl.
- The last at-large for the Orange Bowl can't be an ACC team (sorry VaTech), SEC & Big12 already have their two teams, so that leaves either a 2nd Big ten team, a possibly undefeated Houston, or a damaged Oregon / Arizona St team. Pac12 teams don't travel well and a 2-loss Oregon isn't as sexy as a 1-loss Oregon. That basically means its either a 2nd B1G team (Mich St? Neb? Penn St? a Michigan that loses to Penn St or Wiscy in the B1G champ game?) or an undefeated Houston. My guess is a second B1G team.
Craziness in the NCG?
- How could the SEC winner not get inthe NCG? Well if it's not the SEC West winner ... a 1-loss LSU or 1-loss Ala who beats the SEC East winner is going to the NCG. But the only other craziness would be if the LSU/Ala winner loses to their rival (Ark for LSU or Aub for Ala) before the SEC championship allowing some weird tie-breaking formula to get Ark in the SEC championship game.
- Stanford is the next in line to take OkSt's place should OkSt slip up. If Stanford loses before the Pac12 champ game, good googily moogily.... Boise St is probably next in line given voter's likely backlash preventing an Ala / LSU rematch. We could have BCS armageddon if OkSt loses to Oklahoma, and Stanford loses to Oregon / Pac 12 champ game.
Could Michigan get in without winning the conference?
Yes, maybe in two situations:
1) Michigan wins out, but so does Michigan St including the B1G champ game meaning a 1-loss Michigan (who didn't get a chance in the B1G champ game) with wins against ND, Neb & OSU would be a mortal lock for at least the Orange if not Sugar Bowl.
2) Michigan wins out the regular season, Michigan St loses twice, and Michigan loses to Penn St / Wiscy in a B1G championship game closely. At that point, a "reborn" 2-loss Michigan team may be more attractive than even an undefeated Houston for a Sugar Bowl match against an SEC powerhouse or a Orange against Clemson to boost TV ratings.
More in weeks to come.....
BCS standings for Wk 13 as of 8:15p EDT (bcsfootball.org):
Pretty much there are still limited permuations of the BCS if the favorites continue to win... I'm going to start with the pretty much locks:
ACC, Big East, and Big 12 will likely only get one team in the BCS game. ACC and Big East due to the general ineptness of the conferences. These will likely be:
- ACC: winner of Va Tech v Florida St/NC St championship game. This winner will go to the Orange Bowl.
- Big East: Who the hell knows... could be Pitt, West Va, even UConn(!!! who would have thought that the most impressive win on our schedule at the end of the year could be a BCS conference champion NOT named Ohio St). Bottom line is this team will likely be the last team picked by BCS bowls when picking opponents for the mandatory games.
Big 12: With last night's
chokeloss by Nebraska, all this did was make it more difficult for a Big 12 team to get an at large bid. It likely will be the winner of Oklahoma v Oklahoma St against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, with the either a 1-loss conference champ and a 3-loss runner up, or a pair of two loss teams. Anybody hoping Nebraska wins and goes all Chris Benoit on the last night of Monday Nite Nitro by accepting the conference title trophy and then dumping it in the trash bin on the way out the door?
- SEC: They're still probably going to get 2 teams in the BCS no matter what. If Auburn gets in the BCS champ game, then a 1-loss LSU or a 2-loss Arkansas is your likely 2nd team in the Sugar Bowl. If Auburn loses to Alabama, it'll be the winner of the SEC champ game as the Sugar Bowl rep and a 1-loss LSU/2-loss Arkansas/2-loss Alabama as an at-large. If Auburn beats Alabama but loses in the SEC championship to So Car, it'll be So Car in the Sugar Bowl and either LSU or Auburn as an at-large. Even if Cam Newton is arrested tomorrow for money laundering and fraud at Fannie Mae, bottom line: SEC's getting 2 teams. Damn.
- Non-AQ's: One of them is getting in for sure. Two is wholly dependent on if Boise or TCU qualifies for the Natl Champ game. B/c of a contractural quirk for this year, if a non-AQ makes it as an at-large and a Pac-10 team is in the MyNCG, then the non-AQ must go to the Rose Bowl. Still a shot for an at-large in the Orange Bowl, but that may be dictated by who wins the ACC (see below).
So assuming the season holds in terms of chalk teams winning, we'll be looking at:
- BCS Champ: Oregon v Auburn
- Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. TCU/Boise (whoever ends up higher in BCS if they're both undefeated, autobid as per BCS selection rule 3A/B)
- Sugar Bowl: LSU/Arkansas/Alabama vs. at-large
- Orange Bowl: Va Tech/FlaSt/NC St v. at-large
- Fiesta Bowl: Neb/OkSt/OU v. at-large
So let's analyze the competition for the at-large slots. It is impertive to understand that the order of selection will play HUGE in this decision. I'll analyze them in the order of the at-large selections:
- Sugar Bowl: already made LSU the replacement pick for Auburn in the MyNCG (but it could just as easy by Arkansas if they beat LSU or Alabama if Auburn loses the Iron Bowl but wins the SEC). So looking for 1 at-large team to match-up against LSU. The choices are either a 1-loss Big Ten team (tOSU, Mich St), a 1-loss Stanford, or an undefeated Boise St/TCU (whichever left out of the Rose Bowl- at this point it's still Boise St as TCU is higher in BCS and gets the non-AQ autobid). My thinking is that from a bowl organizers point of view, a Big Ten team, especially tOSU probably gets more butts in seats and generates a better TV viewership than Stanford. So now the choise is really between tOSU and an undefeated non-AQ. Since a non-AQ is already in the BCS, I say tOSU gets the at-large slot
- Orange Bowl: Already have the ACC champ... if it's Va tech, then a Boise at-large here is unlikely as common thought is to avoid rematches (especially since it wasn't that good of a game in the first case). Va Tech vs Stanford might be attractive here, or the Orange might bite the bullet if convinced by the rest of the BCS hierarchy and take the Big East champ. If it's not Va Tech, then Boise might be a good selection to prop up a not as attractive FlaSt / NC St ACC champ.
- Fiesta Bowl: already have the Big 12 winner, so looking for someone to matchup with Neb / Ok St / OU. Here its a crap shoot and dependent on who the Orange takes. Orange takes Boise, then the Big East champ has to go here. Orange doesn't take Boise and takes the Big East champ, then I could see either Stanford or Boise St, and frankly a Big 12 v Boise St rematch may be more viewer friendly than Stanford (especially if Boise St has a Heisman finalist Kellan Moore at QB, sorry Andrew Luck). Stanford though is still a national name (albeit with a weak in-person following), and I'm torn. I'd say you could flip a coin and land with either Stanford or Boise St.
The wrenches in the plan
There are a couple big wrenches that could be thrown in the gears here:
- the Big Ten doesn't end up with both Ohio St and Wisconsin with 1-loss: in real terms, a 1-loss Mich St doesn't matchup as well in a at-large comparison with undefeated Boise St or a 1-loss Stanford if they don't get the Rose Bowl bid. They way it's working right now, if Sparty ties with Wiscy only, then they''ll get the Rose Bowl as a result of a head to head win against the Badgers. Wisconsin then would still be a pretty strong at-large bid for either the Sugar or Orange Bowl. If its Mich St and tOSU, then tOSU will get the Rose Bowl and Sparty will be left to fend for the at-large against Boise & Stanford, and frankly I don't think they win that comparison.
- tOSU jumps Wiscy in BCS standings: this one just popped up this week when I actually looked at the numbers... tOSU is not that far behind, maybe there's a voter backlash against Bielema in the last two weeks??? Who knows. What I know is that if tOSU jumps Wiscy in BCS standing, then the three way tie formula in the Big Ten sends Ohio St to the Rose Bowl, and leave Wiscy and Mich St battling Stanford and Boise St for an at-large. At this point, I think its a real possibility that Boise AND Stanford are looked more favorably than Wiscy and Mich St. Especially if Stanford keeps rolling out body bags and some body gets sentimental at the Sugar Bowl for a Bo Schembechler reunion tour game between Harbaugh and Miles.
- Oregon loses: that vaults either TCU or Boise into the MyNCG, Oregon to the Rose Bowl and then by my reading, as long as the other TCU / Boise team is still in the rule 3A/B auto-bid position, they'll get in as an auto-bid, probably in the Sugar or Fiesta and knock out Stanford or a 2nd Big Ten team from the BCS
- Auburn loses: here it matters when Auburn loses. they lose to Alabama in the Iron Bowl but beat So Car, they still have a shot at the MyNCG bid as the #2 team. They lose to So Car in the SEC champ, they'll be in a fight with LSU for an at-large in the Orange Bowl, since So Car will be in the Sugar Bowl, and the Sugar won't have SEC v SEC (Orange Bowl will almost certainly pick a 2nd SEC team over the Big East champ or anybody else)
Your weekly sign of the apolcalypse:
- Still looks like only way Boise and TCU meet in the MyNCG is if Auburn and Oregon lose, most likely Auburn losing in the SEC championship game. But if that happens, both non-AQ's are well positioned with human pollsters to jump into the #1 / #2 slot needed to overcome computer softness. There's some open politic-ing going on with Les Miles trying to say LSU w/ 1-loss should be ahead of the non-AQ undefeateds, but I don't think that's going to sway voters.... UNLESS
- If the Cam Newton thing goes REALLY BAD and he's found to have been ineligible for this season, preferably after the Iron Bowl, then Auburn will have to forfeit all games he played in (all of them), become ineligible as a team for the BCS, and THEN you might see southern voters backlash against the ruling and cast all their Auburn muscle that was in the polls behind the next likliest SEC-brotherhood team.... LSU. I would think there'd be enough of a majority of voters who finally throw up their hands if this happened and just say, "all right TCU/Boise St, with all this shit going this year, here's your ONE TIME golden ticket", but keep your eyes peeled about this if the Cam Newton things breaks toward ineligibility in teh next week or so.
See you next week as the picture becomes much clearer after the Big Ten season wraps up and the Iron Bowl is played.
Big Ten play is done for this week, so lets look at the bowl outlook.
First the standings (from Bigten.org)
|11 Michigan State||6-1||201||150||4-0||2-1||10-1||348||219||7-0||3-1||2-1|
|8 Ohio State||6-1||236||98||3-0||3-1||10-1||436||153||7-0||3-1||1-1|
First, we eliminate the non-qualifier teams for bowl games based on already having 7 losses overall. These are Purdue, Minnesota, and Indiana.
So the bowl placement standings (based on overall record w/ conf standings in parenthesis) are:
Wisconsin, 10-1 (6-1), tiebreaker with best BCS ranking
Ohio St, 10-1 (6-1), higher BCS than MSU
Mich St, 10-1 (6-1)
Iowa, 7-4 (4-3)
Penn St, 7-4 (4-3)
Northwestern, 7-4 (3-4)
Michigan, 7-4 (3-4)
Illinois, 6-5 (4-4)
The only remaining question with one week of play left is how many BCS teams the Big Ten is going to get... I'm going to analyze that tomorrow when the BCS standings are released. For this, I'm going to go on the current standings and expect that next week, Wisconsin, Ohio St, Michigan St, & Iowa are going to win (favorites). We'll also assume Illinois will beat Fresno St on the road. That would mean we would have standings that would look like this:
1) Wisconsin, 11-1 (Rose Bowl, BCS autobid as highest BCS team in 3-way tie)
Ohio St, 11-1 (BCS at-large, Sugar or Orange Bowl)
Michigan St, 11-1
2) Iowa, 8-4
3) Penn St 7-5
For the bowls, I'll go in order of selection:
Capitol One Bowl
First pick after BCS Bowls. MICHIGAN STATE. This one is easy as Michigan St is the co-champ and can't be by-passed by anyother Big Ten teams for this slot. Looking at playing the top SEC that doesn't make a BCS game, so likely LSU, or So Carolina, but if the Cocks get pasted in the SEC championship, Bama may slide in here.
Big ten #3. IOWA. Iowa being all alone in 4th place and a good traveling team makes this an easy pick as well. Hawkeyes will play the SEC 3/4/5 team, so probably Arkansas or Alabama.
Big Ten #4/5. Probably PENN ST. JoePa factor, they beat us head to head, travelling following is about equal with Michigan or maybe slightly ahead. I'll say Penn St slots above us in bowl selections. The Nittany Lions will play the SEC, probably the #6 team, so Florida or Miss St.
Big Ten #4/5. Probably MICHIGAN. When compared with the remaining selections available (NW, Illinois) we win most comparisons that matter to bowl committtees. We won head to head against Illinois, are a more "exciting" team (especially with a record setting and probable Heisman finalist Denard Robinson), and travel well to warm locations. Tempe ain't Boise so we'll probably do fairly well along with being our first bowl game in 3 years. We'll play the Big 12 #6, right now looking like Kansas St, Baylor, or Texas Tech.
Big Ten #6. ILLINOIS. Illini are a shoo-in over Northwestern now as long as they get to 7 wins, and may be a higher selection at 6 wins. It's another Big 12 opponent, so the lower of the Kansas St / Baylor / Texas Tech triumverate.
Ticket City Bowl
Big Ten #7 NORTHWESTERN. Last remaining slot for a Big Ten team that's bowl eligible (thanks Purdue!). Some confusion here as the Ticketcity Bowl website says that since its the newest bowl it has to defer its selection until all the other established bowls have selected, which by my reading would mean the Little Cesar Bowl gets the last Big Ten eligible team if there's not enough, but I could be wrong as the TCB site also says that the Big Ten is the anchor conference for the first four years... So we'll assume the Big Ten #7 goes here and plays a Big 12 team if they have enough (and it looks like they do), the last of the KSt/Baylor/Tex Tc grouping.
If-I-Have-To Projected Matchups:
Rose Bowl: Wiscy v. TCU or Boise St
Sugar Bowl: LSU v. Ohio St
Capitol One: Mich St v. South Carolina
Gator: Iowa vs. Alabama
Insight: Michigan v. K St
Texas Bowl: Illinois v. Baylor
TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern v. Texas Tech
I would say if this is the case, Big Ten is favored in Capitol One, Insight, & Texas Bowls, being underdogs in most others. But who cares? We're back in and have a winnable bowl game ahead of us....
Barring major upsets next week, this is pretty static. The only changes would occur if the Big Ten only gets one BCS team (Say Stanford and an undefeated Bosie/TCU get at-larges ahead of Ohio St or Mich St).. that happens and move everybody down one slot with Northwestern going to the Little Cesar Pizza Bowl, meaning we'd end up in the Texas Bowl, which, eh, could do worse considering the Texas Bowl is one day later than the Insight Bowl (Wed vice Tue night), Houston vice Tempe, and 6p kickoff vice 10p.