Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Big Campaign After November 4

After Texas' literal last-second loss to Texas Tech, the BCS standings underwent another dramatic makeover. Now, the battle lines are officially drawn between this season's two top conferences.

Somebody is going to get left out in the cold.

If as expected, Penn State wins its remaining three games, the Nittany Lions will end up in Miami playing for the BCS championship - unless both Alabama and Texas Tech stay unbeaten. If both of them lose once, then Penn State will be facing a one-loss conference champion for the title.

Which one?

Would it be one-loss Florida, or one-loss Texas or maybe a one-loss Oklahoma team that didn't even make it to the Big 12 title game? While the Big 12 looks to have the upperhand at the moment, with three teams among the top six in the latest BCS standings, Florida, at No. 5, actually is quite primed to make a quantum leap.

The Gators' best friend is Alabama. Florida needs the Crimson Tide to stay unbeaten all the way until the SEC championship game. Should the Gators knock off - or even rout - the top-ranked team in the BCS standings, there's no doubt that they would leapfrog all other one-loss teams, all the way up to at least No. 2, and the coveted spot in the BCS title game.

The Big 12, meanwhile, still has a few weeks to sort out its own business. Right now, however, only Texas Tech controls its own destiny. But with next week's game against Oklahoma State and a Nov. 22 trip to Norman still on the slate, the Red Raiders have clinched nothing yet. The Big 12's tiebreaker might need to be summoned to determine the winner of the South Division - and the BCS standings just might be the final arbiter in making that decision (which is hardly the design or purpose of the standings, but that's a topic for another day).

Should Tech lose one of its remaining games, then the SEC champion will have the inside track to the BCS title game. That's why you will see an all-out campaign by both the Big 12 and SEC - not on the football field, but in the media - to state their respective cases for the voters in the coaches poll and Harris poll. After all, the voters at the end will decide who goes to the BCS title game since the current BCS formula is heavily tilted in the direction of human votes.

The Guru will provide a more detailed "Rooting Guide" later in the week, but in the meantime, this is the BCS pecking order for the remainder of the season:

1. Alabama.

2. Texas Tech

3. Penn State - if either Alabama or Texas Tech loses, Penn State is in the championship game

4. Florida - if Texas Tech or Penn State loses, Florida is in if it defeats an unbeaten Alabama in the SEC title game.

5. Texas - needs a Tech loss to either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma and win the Big 12 South via the tiebreaker, a Penn State loss OR an Alabama loss before the SEC title game.

6. Oklahoma - needs to beat Texas Tech and a Texas loss in the Big 12 title game to Missouri, a Penn State loss OR a one-loss Alabama or two-loss Florida winning the SEC championship

7. USC - needs TWO of the following: A Penn State loss; a one-loss Alabama or two-loss Florida winning the SEC championship; Missouri winning the Big 12 title game while both Oklahoma and Texas have two losses

8. Oklahoma State - just don't see it happening so I won't waste anybody's time.

Confused? Well, that's the point, isn't it? If the BCS is so easy to decipher, how would the Guru stay in business?

Seriously, however, expect to be bombarded with the SEC-vs.-Big 12 talking points the rest of the season. CBS will shamelessly campaign for the SEC as it did so wonderfully in 2006. ESPN will try to appear somewhat neutral though it might tilt a bit in the SEC's favor as it has a bigger contract with the SEC.

The Big 12 had better find some media allies - Fox Sports Net alone won't do - and a good ad firm, quick, to get the word out and catch the voters' attention. Otherwise, it risks looking like John McCain come December 7.


TruFloridaGator said...

I think you're shortchanging OU a bit. It looks like they got enough help from the human voters today where they will likely win the Big 12 south tiebreaker if it comes down to that. Florida will still be the slightly better 1 loss team, but it could be very close between OU/UF if they both win out.

bantab said...

I agree with tru. Oklahoma beating TT, if everyone else wins out, will most likely propel them ahead of UT and TT in the BCS for the Big 12 three way tiebreaker. That means OU gets another win in the championship (remember we're assuming everyone wins out here, save TT). It would be extremely close between OU and Florida. OSU, on the other hand, has been getting no love from the humans, so the case is not as strong for them doing the same.

bantab said...

Also, a TT loss to OSU would pretty much ensure UT goes to the Big 12 champ. As a Gator, I am comfortable that UT's remaining schedule will not propel them ahead of UF (should they win out), nor will a Big 12 champ win against Mizzou. So, Gators are huge OSU fans this week (as unlikely as their win might be).

guru2 said...

Root for a Penn St loss!! (I know, not likely) or for the voters to remove their collective heads (again NOT likely). The Big 12 and SEC champs should play for the NC. Anything else is a JOKE! Penn St is just this year's Ohio St, and another national embarrassment of an NC game waiting to happen..

Mack said...

looks like you have some competition, guru, since the REAL bcs has been discovered. this is hilarious!

Richie Rich said...

I'm a gator fan and hope they all go the way.

That said, OSU has a very legitimate path here depending on only 3 games.

OSU beats OU and Tech
Tech beats OU

That leaves a 3 way tie between texas, tech, and osu leaving big 12south it to a BCS ratings tiebreaker. If OSU were to win those 2 games by 10+ point margins, they could deserve the nod over texas. The late loss would doom tech.

OSU is a sleeper here with a legitimate path. USC has no such path.

tech would be eliminated