Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breaking Down the Bowls

There are enough bowl projections out there to jam up an entire server, so the Guru is not going to go there. So instead of matchups, I'm going to break down the bowl picture by placing teams in categories of possible bowl attainment.

But before we get to that, I want to make it clear that I did not come up with the "Fairness Index" nor do I endorse it. It appeared here simply to stimulate further discussion.

Not to pile on, but I will offer this simple dissenting opinion:

Using the authors' own definition, then "fairness" would be that teams with the best records (or tied for the best records) should get to play for the championship. In every sport other than Division I-A college football, since time immemorial, teams that owned or tied for the best record always had the opportunity to play for the title, no matter how many tiers of playoffs there might have been.

That's just not the case in the BCS era. See the chart below:

2008- 8 (5)
2007- 2 (1)
2006- 1
2005- 0
2004- 3 (1)
2003- 4 (1)
2002- 0
2001- 0
2000- 0
1999- 1
1998- 1

* Total number of teams with (or tied for) the best regular-season record that did not play in the BCS title game. BCS conference teams in parenthesis.

As you can see, in five of the last six seasons (and it's just about assured for this season as well), at least one team that finished with the best regular-season record did not get to play for the championship. Or look at it this way: only 52 percent of these teams (or 73 percent of BCS conference teams) got to play for the championship.

Doesn't seem so fair now, does it? But I digress, and onto the bowls.

There are 34 bowls and 68 slots. As of today, 32 teams have been eliminated from bowl consideration, leaving 88 teams still eligible. These 88 teams are further divided into four categories below:

Florida *
Alabama *
Texas *
Cincinnati *
Boise State *
Georgia Tech *
Pittsburgh *
Ohio State +
Oklahoma State
Penn State
Oregon State
Boston College
Kansas State

* in contention for BCS title game
+ clinched a BCS bowl slot

BOWL QUALIFIED (25) - teams with at least 7 wins
Virginia Tech
Miami (Fla.)
North Carolina
West Virginia
Ole Miss
Air Force
Central Michigan
Northern Illinois
Middle Tennessee State

BOWL ELIGIBLE (19) - Teams with 6 wins
South Florida
Iowa State
Texas Tech
Michigan State
Notre Dame
South Carolina
Fresno State
East Carolina
Southern Mississippi
Central Florida
Southern Methodist

Florida State
Connecticut *
Louisville *
Texas A&M
Baylor *
Michigan *
Arizona State *
Mississippi State *
Wyoming *
San Diego State
Hawaii *
Tulsa *
Army *
Bowling Green
Kent State
Western Michigan *
Toledo *
Florida Atlantic *
Louisiana-Lafayette *

* Unlikely to become bowl eligible

With 15 of the 88 teams unlikely to gain bowl eligibility, the process boils down to 73 teams fighting for 68 spots. There is a remote, but real, possibility that there won't be enough bowl eligible teams to fill all 34 bowls. It's also unlikely that any BCS conference team with 6 wins would be kept out of the bowl season.

This list will be updated next week, as well as the BCS bowl projections below:

BCS National Championship Game - Florida/Alabama winner vs. Texas

Rose Bowl - Oregon vs. Ohio State

Sugar Bowl - Florida/Alabama loser vs. Cincinnati/Pittsburgh

Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. TCU

Orange Bowl - Iowa vs. Georgia Tech


PeteP said...

Since you call some teams bowl qualified and others merely bowl eligible, I think you have not gone far enough. Shouldn't bowl qualified teams by those that actually have 7 wins against FBS schools, rather than merely 6?

Having a lower-division win count towards bowl eligibility is really bad and should be heavily discouraged.

Oh, since RealClearSports is your day job, how did such a garbage article get published by you?

Ute Fan said...

I knew it (the "fairness index") was not your idea, but I'm glad to hear your post wasn't an endorsement. I thought you were off your rocker.

buffalowill said...

1 win vs a FCS school counts...according to the BCS not the Guru. The entire SEC plays at least one FCS opponent every season.

PeteP said...

The Guru called 7 win teams bowl qualified. Since teams can be eligible with 6 wins, that means the Guru has a judgment call declaring 7 win teams more qualified, than mere 6 win teams.

My question is why stop there -- let's call teams that are bowl eligible but have less than 7 FBS wins unqualified teams. Then we can add in teams with a losing record in conference as unqualified teams.

Sure, they are all eligible under today's silly rules, but does a team with a losing record in conference play and maybe even going 2-6 in conference with 3 wins over Sun Belt/MAC schools and a FCS win really count as having a bowl-quality season? Under current rules, that team would be bowl eligible, but they deserve to get rewarded in anyway?

buffalowill said...

Pete...right there with you on that argument. I would like to see a "stronger" breakdown of the teams. However, i'm pretty sure the guru didn't come up with the "Qualified" and "Eligible" terms. See: NCAA bylaws say that a school with a record of 6–6 in regular season play and at least 5 wins over FBS teams are eligible only after conferences cannot fill out available positions for bowl games with teams having seven (or more) wins automatically eligible (IE QUALIFIED), excluding games played in HawaiĘ»i and conference championship games in the ACC, Big 12, Conference USA, MAC and the SEC.
hmmmmmm......I really don't like that FCS wins count....

The Guru said...

I always thought wins against I-AA teams should not count toward the six for bowl eligibility. Six wins - the bar was set low enough - there was no need to make it easier. And this should discourage teams from scheduling I-AA teams.

But PeteP, I don't make the rules.

LAprGuy said...

It's Saturday and Every Weekend Counts. (Except for Michigan.)

I'm sitting down in front of the TV and .... WTF!?!?!?!? ...

Alabama vs. Chattanooga??
Florida vs. Fla International??


Christopher said...

right there with everyone, the media seems to have a H/O for the SEC. First thing I saw this morning was bama, florida crushed their opponents. Personally I think thats like beating up on a grandma who had already passed out. The Pac-10 on the otherhand, everyday, anyone can win. So do you all think the Pac 10 should follow suit and pad their winnings by splitting the conference into 2? or should the SEC man up and start playing a full schedule? I think a 5 team N v S would be pretty awesome. with a championship game of course.

Anonymous said...

Alright you amateur boys. Here's the lowdown. 1 AA teams....Villanova beat bowl bound Temple.....Richmond beat ( on the bubble Duke).....
As for the at large bids.....Penn state will get the Orange Bowl bid. Previous bowls; Louisville Vs Wake...who watched that. Last years Orange Bowl was a tournament officials and advertisers nightmare.

Clemson will beat GT and face Penn State in the Orange Bowl. It's all about money and fan based travel support.

I'm a grad nof Pitt but who have they beaten? They lost to NC State! They are not BCS material. They will lose to WV at WV and Cinn.

Anonymous said...

Duke cannot become bowl eligible. They are 5-6 with one game left, but one of their wins was over NC Central, who is not D-1 and does not count toward bowl eligibility.

Anonymous said...

Question about what is WORSE for the BCS and more likely to lead to major changes in the BCS ....

What happens to Boise State?

Option A) BSU left out. Undefeated Conference Champ is passed over for 10-2 not even division champ Oklahoma State or 10-2 conference runners up Penn State or Iowa. I see this option as causing POLITICAL problems for the BCS, potentially LEGAL problems for the BCS, and perhaps getting the NCAA involved.

Option B) BSU is in. Small school from small population state Boise State takes bid from Big School from Big State and Big Conference Oklahoma State or Iowa or Penn State. I see this causing ECONOMIC problems for the Bowls in terms of selling seats, ECONOMIC problems for the BCS conferences who have to give up TWO shares of the BCS pie, and potentially ECONOMIC problems for the TV broadcasters for advertising share.

Now the question is, which option is WORSE for the BCS? Which one is likely to bring about some major changes in the immediate future?