The BCS Scenario Shotgun

Submitted by Brian on December 4th, 2011 at 12:26 PM


You have no idea how long it took to find a Sugar Bowl image without a corporate logo. Thanks to the Bentley Library.

After last night's events one thing is clear: nothing is clear. Oklahoma State's case for the national title game will come down to winning 40% of the hearts and minds out there and Michigan's destination hinges on that decision. That Sugar vs Houston thing is ancient history.

But we can make some educated guesses. Everyone expects Michigan to crack the top 14. Oklahoma and Houston are projected to drop behind Michigan and according to Palm, MSU's awful computer rankings (average of 20.75) mean they'd have to stay two spots in front of M in the polls to stay in front of them in the BCS. That's not happening. So don't worry. M is in.

[UPDATE: Michigan is 12th in the coaches poll, ahead of MSU. They are in. Oklahoma State got only 13 of 59 second place votes—insane—and it looks like the Fiesta Sugar vs. Somebody.]

Nobody expects TCU to crack the top 16 and earn the non-AQ autobid available to a conference champion ranked above the BE winner. They're out; the available pool of teams once Oregon, LSU, and Clemson are removed from the equation:

  • Maybe Alabama
  • Stanford
  • Boise State
  • Kansas State/Baylor/OU
  • Virginia Tech
  • Michigan
  • WVU

There are two worlds. One in which the rematch happens and one in which it doesn't. Those worlds should be addressed separately.

Alabama in title game

This is the scenario we've been dealing with so far. The Sugar loses the SEC champ. Okie State is locked into the Fiesta. The Sugar picks Michigan first from the motley crew above. The Fiesta grabs the next-most attractive team, which everyone thinks is Stanford, and then it's the Sugar's turn again.

The Sugar Bowl spends several minutes punching itself in the face and then… uh. Mandel says they pick Kansas State. So does Jerry Palm. Other possibilities are matching up RGIII against Denard (ay yai yai!), the Rodriguez Bowl versus WVU, or Boise State getting in because they're actually the best team available.



Your opinion of this will vary with your confidence Michigan can take out a Boise or a Stanford. If you think the chances of that are low, you love taking on a KSU team that can't pass and is in the BCS picture because they beat Texas with 120 yards of total offense. If you think Michigan's got a shot at one of the aforementioned teams, KSU is just Houston except a better matchup.

Oklahoma State in title game

Should sanity prevail—don't bet on it—the conventional wisdom assumes the Sugar takes two nanoseconds to snap up Alabama. The Fiesta then has the next two picks. From this The "BCS Guru" somehow arrives at… Michigan-Kansas State. We can't quit you, Manhattan.

I think that's an error on his part and we will see a Michigan-Stanford matchup in the scenario where the BCS does not condemn college football to a divisional rematch for the "national" title game.  That's what some random other website about the BCS has.


If you like ads, there is a two hour block of programming on ESPN in which there is one piece of information requiring ten seconds to relay you care about tonight, starting at 8:15.




All of that is classic, but "Spartans strengthen brand despite loss" is uber.



December 4th, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

Your opinion of this will vary with your confidence Michigan can take out a Boise or a Stanford.

I would rather get a win than a test at this point. But I'm torn on where. The Sugar sounds a lot more fun.  But I'm probably of the mind I'd rather see Okie State in the Championship game. So the greater good vs. the Greater fun.

And while K-State isn't that interesting, probably the most beatable. Other than West Virginia, which would be great fun, and my pick, but I don't think it's going to happen.


December 4th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

Maize and Blue shouldn't run from ANYONE. I would welcome the toughest team we can get if we are fortunate enough to get a BCS bowl, generally speaking.

But this year is unique in that it is an inaugural year for a new coach.

Hoke's got some great momentum that's translating into some dramatic recruiting success the likes of which we have not seen in a LONNNG time.

Keeping that momentum alive right now is more important than it will be during, say, Hoke's third year. He's writing his first chapter. And it ending with a BCS bowl victory is disproportionately more important than it would be in any other regular Hoke year.

Also, note that this year is special not just for being Brady & Co.'s first, but also because NONE of the old school powerhouses are on the BCS bowl menu (except maybe Bama).

No Texas. No Notre Dame. No Ohio. No Florida. No Oklahoma. No USC.

It's weird. And it's an opportunity for Michigan to stand out onstage, with less competition for attention.

And good attention means good bias. And good bias means good recruiting and getting the benefit-of-the-doubt for future polls.

So in order to build the Hoke mystique, I think we need a LIKELY WIN/easier opponent under the national spotlight more than a prestigious opponent this year significantly more than most "typical" years.


December 4th, 2011 at 4:58 PM ^

Someone needs to tell Kirk Cousins that you don't get punished for playing, you get punished for losing.

Concur. In addition, you get punished for losing to ND.

Eligible teams that beat ND:

Michigan, Stanford [Both likely in BCS]

Eligible teams that lost to ND:

MSU [Not likely in BCS]


Picktown GoBlue

December 4th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

OSU a solid 2nd place and Alabama a 3rd place, then you only need the Harris Poll to be a smidge closer in vote totals than the Coaches Poll to put OSU in the MNC (my calculations say if OSU is within 50 total votes or so of Alabama, that would likely be enough).  It's likely to be very tight. 

Last week, Alabama was only #2 in 4 of the computer polls, with OSU #2 in the other 2.  After yesterday's display, plus Alabama being idle, plus the 2 Big 12-heavy polls swinging to OSU's side, I think there's a good chance of OSU getting .9600 in computer to Alabama's .9200.


December 4th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

To be honest, the team that scares me the most out of that bunch is Boise State.  People tend to underestimate BSU, and they really are a solid football team.  I still think last year's Boise St team was better though. 

I think I'd like a match up with Stanford much more than one with Kansas St.  Just because if we're going to play in a BCS game, I want a top opponent to measure Michigan against. 

True Blue Grit

December 4th, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

in Louisiana from a recruiting point of view.  Lots of very good players down there.  Maybe we could give Miles a run for a few of them.  I'll definitely take another Drew Dileo - Michigan's version of Wes Welker.  Go Blue!


December 4th, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

Here's hoping for the Sugar Bowl.  The Sugar Bowl is the only major bowl Michigan has not won.  Rose (multiple), Fiesta (1986), and Orange (2000), but o-fer-Sugar.  Plus I really want to hang out on Bourbon Street and drink and watch all the Jan. 2 bowl games...


December 4th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

Yeah, during much of the Cotton Bowl's heyday the Big Ten only sent one team to a bowl, and only to the Rose Bowl.  There was maybe one year (1975) when Michigan could have played in it, but Michigan got picked for the Orange Bowl, and then Michigan went to three straight Rose Bowls after that.  Seems like the Cotton Bowl pretty much had a three-team rotation or so  (Penn State, Notre Dame, Nebraska) it picked to play the Southwest Conference champion.  It would be interesting to find out how the big bowls selected back then, before there was a system for selection (I am pretty sure it was a free-for-all, and some teams, like ND and Penn St., got multiple bids).   


December 4th, 2011 at 2:32 PM ^

A very small contingent of talking heads has been talking about UM vs. VT. This would be perfect for me as I have just moved to Viriginia after graduating. I moved down the year that VT lost to James Madison. It was awesome because I only had to deal with a couple of weeks of people telling me about THE HORROR before they had the minor horror.



December 4th, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

VT would be eligible, all right.   From the Sugar Bowl's perspective, they want the biggest name, largest fan base they can get, and I don't see TCU/Boise St./Kansas State/Baylor bringing more to the table than VT. 

I'd take that.  Beemer always reminded me of Llloyd Carr, what with his low-key approach and defense-oriented teams.


December 4th, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

If MSU drops out of the top 14, yes, they would be ineligble.  But even if they stayed in the top 14 and Michigan is also in the top 14, the bowls get to decide which team to select, and in that scenario, Michigan is all but a certainty because we will draw more fans and get more tvs tuned in.

03 Blue 07

December 4th, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

I believe they're eligible, they just won't get picked. We will be selected because we are us, we travel, and, yeah. And they won't. And then the Cap One bowl will take Nebraska because of the same reason. So MSU will play in the Outback Bowl.


December 4th, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

The Big Ten No. 1 played in Pasadena and the Big Ten No. 2 got a damn fine bowl invite - to the Orange, Sugar or Fiesta.

Those nice "runner up" days are sadly over.

But somehow I like the scenario where, for example, Michigan loses to OSU in the regular season only to rip out their hearts in the Big Ten title game (a la Wisconsin this season).

Revenge is sugar sweet.


December 4th, 2011 at 3:44 PM ^

Come on Fiesta. I haven't been to a warm weather place in 5 years and there is family there to get free things from for a couple days. 

I firmly believe the BCS will doctor the numbers to make sure it is OSU. There is such a public dislike for the rematch idea, especially between two teams with lousy passing games like this. With the public approval for the system at record lows, the BCS needs interesting more than it needs some twisted version of what is correct.