BCS & Big10 Bowl Predictions, with BCS standings

Submitted by Wolverine In Exile on November 23rd, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Well now that we got the nagging question of whether we'll play in Detroit, Tempe, San Antonio, or DC out of the way (damn freshman being freshman-y), let's look objectively, without sorrow at the BCS&Big Ten bowl pictures...

First the BCS

Well I think this weekend cleared a lot up. What we know:

1) Fla/Ala winner and Tex are in the nat'l championship game as long as Tex keeps winning. Even a loss by Fla or Ala before the SEC championship game really won't matter as much as the SEC championship game is now essentially a play-in game for the nat'l title slot as either the #1 or #2 seed.

2) Provided TCU keeps winning, 3 of the 4 at-large slots are locked up. Fla/Ala loser, TCU, and a 2nd Big Ten team between Iowa and Penn St. Big East is likely only going to get one team (except for a scenario I'll outline in a second) and that will be the winner of Pitt/Cincy.

3) If Texas slips, it will become a voter free-for-all as to who gets the #2 slot in the title game. Right now, while TCU is ahead of Cincy in the BCS standings and human polls, a big time showing by Cincy against Pitt may be enough to vault Cincy ahead of TCU in human polls and the computer margin narrows to the point where Cincy goes ahead. But I also believe that we are staring right down the barrel of a TCU in the nat'l title game with one Nebraska upset of Texas.

So with that here's the predictions (special citation to Jerry Palm of CollegeBCS.com whose interview on Rivals radio on Friday reinforced some of my ideas) Reminder, only the Top 14 in BCS standings are eligible for selection as an at-large, and only two teams from a conference can be selected:

BCS Nat'l Championship: Fla v. Texas
Rose: tOSU v. Oregon (all but locked in)
Fiesta: Ok St v. TCU
Sugar: Alabama v. Penn St
Orange: Ga Tech v. Cincy

So here's how the selections went for me:
- Fla beats Ala to get the title slot.
- Texas beats Neb to get the title slot.
- Rose gets Big Ten Champ (tOSU) & Pac-10 champ (assumed Oregon, but could be Oregon St if they win next week); Orange gets ACC champ (Ga Tech)
- Sugar gets first at-large selection to replace Florida and they take slam dunk Alabama
- Fiesta gets next selection to replace Texas. While they could take TCU, I think they'll actually take a 2-loss Big 12 Ok St 
- Now we go to the actual "at-large order", and this year its Orange, Fiesta, Sugar. Orange gets first pick and they take undefeated Cincinnati out of the Big East
- Fiesta is next, and they get either TCU (who has to be picked) or an attractive 2nd Big Ten team. I'm going to guess this time they'll take TCU who being from nearer Texas and the populous Dallas/FtWorth area will be a better travel option.
- Sugar gets the remainder, and they take Penn St for a salavating Alabama v. JoePa matchup that will be the 2nd best TV game of the BCS series. Sorry Iowa, but PennSt travels better and has better cache in terms of TV ratings.

Other thoughts:
- Pitt with an upset of Cincy will get the Big East bid, but a loss probably means they knock themselves out of an at large bid unless both TCU and Boise lose, making a potential Fiesta Bowl of Pitt and Penn St a possibility
- A Texas loss will throw the whole system into chaos. Neb would get the Fiesta Bowl bid leaving Texas as an at-large selection to the Sugar or Orange. My guess would be that the Orange would prefer Tex over Cincy/TCU leftover (whoever doesn't get the title game birth), but the Sugar would love them some Alabama-Texas action. That would  mean then that Ok St wuld get knocked out BCS contention (2-team conference rule) leaving Penn St to glide into either Fiesta against Neb or Orange against Ga Tech.
- Clemson is still alive but they have to beat Ga Tech, and in that case, just swap out GT with Clemson in the predictions.

So with that settled, let's go to the Big Ten.

It's pretty much settled that the Big Ten will get a 2nd BCS team this year (either Penn St or Iowa-- my money's on Penn St as a better TV draw and hence more attractive). Big Ten also only has 7 teams bowl eligible, and with 2 BCS teams, will be left out of one bowl game.

Hence, the predictions:
Rose: tOSU
BCS At-LArge: Penn St
Capitol One Bowl (BT2): Iowa
Outback (BT3): Wisconsin
ChampsSports (BT4): Northwestern
Alamo (BT5): Mich St
Insight (BT6): Minnesota
Pizza Pizza (BT7): no qualifiers

About the only shenanigans here would be the Alamo&Insight swapping teams and really it's not going to make much of a difference. Not too much controversy either... NW / Wiscy is a pick 'em from resume standpoints, but Wiscy travels much much better so the Outback is an easy pick for them.

The biggest intrigue for Big Ten bowls, is actually regarding a non-Big 10 team. A 6-6 ND would get shut out of all their bowl tie-ins leaving them to search for a bowl game. The open games in terms of conferences not having enough teams to fill slots are:
- Pizza Pizza Bowl (BT, Detroit)
- Eagle Bank Bowl (ACC, Wash DC)
- Humanitarian Bowl (MWC, Boise)
- GMAC (ACC, Mobile)

Humanitarian Bowl probably is going to want a Western team just for travel reasons (6-6 Kansas if they win this weekend?), and barring that are going to have to fight tooth/nail for another Eastern time zone team to come out that way (hello MAC!). GMAC may be out if Duke beats Wake Forest and qualifies at 6-6 (this may be sketchy-- would a 6 win team with a conference tie-in get in over a 7-win at-large team? I don't know the rules on that). Pizza Pizza and Eagle Bank seem to be the likely choices for a 6-6 ND. The wrinkle is that a 6-win team can't go if there are 7 win teams available, so according to Mandel at si.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/11/23/bowl.projections/index.html) , Mid Tenn St and No Ill have seven, a Bowl Green win would get them to 7 wins, and if a third Sun Belt team qualifies (LA-Lafayette or LA-Monroe) with 7-wins, ND may not go bowling AT ALL.

Wow, what would be worse, us not going bowling after a 4-0 start roster limitations noted, or 5-Star Charlie's OMG AWESOME recruiting classes not going bowling at all in year 5??



November 23rd, 2009 at 8:59 AM ^

I'm intrigued by the Iowa / Penn State situation. While I agree that Penn State has more "cache", Iowa has a better resume. Penn State has only beaten one BCS team with a winning record (Northwestern). Iowa has beaten three (Arizona, Penn State and Wisconsin). As indicated, Iowa won the head to head matchup (on the road) against PSU.

I think that Iowa travels pretty well so that shouldn't be too much of an issue. Penn State is definitely a bigger "name". Also, Penn State is playing Alabama down in Tuscaloosa next season. That probably won't be much of a factor. It'll be interesting to see who gets the pick.

the Bray

November 23rd, 2009 at 9:04 AM ^

All long shots... but what happens if:

Auburn beats Alabama, Alabama beats Florida?
Florida State beats Florida, Florida beats Alabama?
If Clemson beats GaTech, GaTech could go in front of a 2nd B10 team.


November 23rd, 2009 at 9:25 AM ^

With how weak the Big 10 is considered this year, is it actually a slam dunk that they will get 2 BCS bowl bids? How attractive is an undefeated Boise St over a 2 loss team from a "weak" conference (Penn St)?

Wolverine In Exile

November 23rd, 2009 at 10:28 AM ^

but after hearing Jerry Palm this weekend, it really reinforced the concept that bowl system is not for deciding "most deserving" teams, its for making money for the individual bowl games. Hence, the BCS powers-that-be will let one party crasher (TCU) but only in extreme circumstances would a 2nd be let in. The primary scenario for that unfolding didn't happen this weekend as both Penn St and Iowa won. If both lost, then you can concieve some scenarios where Boise would scoot in (probably in front of a 2nd Pac-10 team and a 10-2 Pitt but still behind a 2nd Big 12 team)

Only the BCS nat'l champ game is bound by the "best teams in the best game" concept via the BCS rankings. Penn St still travels really well-- better than Boise St in any instance-- and JoePa is TV ratings gold. Pair that with a traditional power with national appeal like Alabama, and it is a slam dunk. I would be HIGHLY surprised if a 2nd Big Ten team doesn't get a 2nd BCS bowl bid.


November 23rd, 2009 at 10:24 AM ^

I thought the Orange Bowl had the choice of the ACC Champ or Big East Champ?

Didn't Cincy play in the Orange Bowl last year? If the Orange gets first choice of at-large teams (after Sugar and Fiesta replace the Big 12 and SEC champs), I'd be surprised if they took Cincy for the second straight year.

Wolverine In Exile

November 23rd, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

bound to take only the ACC champ. The Big East champ is guaranteed a BCS bid, but has no permanent game affiliation unlike the other BCS conferences.

The Cincy selection to the Orange is more a factor of who's left at that point. The selections for the Orange at that point are a 2nd (2-loss) Big Ten team and either undefeated TCU or undefeated Cincinnati. I could see TCU getting picked in front of Cincy, but I just have a feeling that Cincy would be the pick over TCU for the Orange. No facts, just a hunch. I would actually love for the Orange to take a 2nd Big Ten team there so that you could get Cincy v Alabama, but oh well.


November 23rd, 2009 at 12:36 PM ^

One note: I don't think Duke can go bowling because they played two FCS teams this season (Richmond and NC Central) and needed to go 7-5 to qualify for a bowl game.

Of course, I could be mistaken about the needing to go 7-5 part...


November 23rd, 2009 at 2:10 PM ^

Conservations such as this are why college football has the worst postseason of any sport collegiate or professional. When you can have an undefeated Boise State team which may not get a BCS bowl, something is terribly wrong. Its the only sport I know where the teams do not have any control of their own destiny. It also makes you feel bad for the athletes themselves on these undefeated teams that have no shot at going to the National Championship game. How do coaches recruit players when they know that they have no realistic shot of never being given a shot at winning a national championship.
And when michigan finally gets on track and competes for national championships, one better hope that the big 10's reputation is slightly higher or we could face the situation as Cincinnati is currently facing. Unless the big 10 can dispel the idea of our conference being very weak, the SEC and big 12 undefeated teams will always be given the edge.
BCS blows, go blue!


November 23rd, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

The BCS sucks even more than usual this year. Alabama, TCU and Cincy, the 3 best teams not in the MNC game, will not get to play each other for political and money reasons. If it works out in the way you predicted, I'm not excited about any of the potential games, and I probably won't watch them. If any combination of Alabama, TCU and Cincy played each other, the game would probably as good or better than Fla/Texas. Instead we get 3 BCS games that will likely be blowouts.

Also, Iowa should be in ahead of Penn State.

At least the Rose Bowl will be a pretty compelling match-up, and it will be entertaining to see Oregon's spread match up against OSU's defense.


November 23rd, 2009 at 4:31 PM ^

I think that Duke could have made a bowl at 6-6 because they lost to one of the D1AA teams. You have to win six games and can only have one of them be a D1AA victory. Since they lost to Richmond, it wouldn't have counted against them in the victory column.


November 24th, 2009 at 6:34 PM ^

Alabama vs. Texas is BCS and Big Tan teams always lose in bowl games besides Mich.Florida doesn't play anybody all seoson except the conference championship and usually the National Championship.Florida loses to Alabama and Ingram rushes for 157 and 2 TDs.Texas beats ALA and gets championship.Ingram gets hiesman.Personally I think Graham should.Everybody sucks this year besides us.Tebow sucks!McCoy sucks!Ingram best player in NCAA.