Saturday, October 23, 2010

SEC's Stranglehold Is Far From Over

Two weeks ago, somebody must've spiked my iced tea with Jagerbomb as I wrote the now plainly laughable SEC's Stranglehold on the BCS Is Over piece.

Tonight I'll wash down my roasted crow with some moonshine.

(OK, admittedly, the sensationalistic headline was quite calculated to gain attention. But the Guru did sincerely believe that the SEC's four-year BCS run was truly over.)

Somehow, things worked out quite well for the SEC once again, this time, with two unbeaten SEC West teams duking it out on the Plains. Auburn, with a hard-fought victory over LSU, is now the only unbeaten SEC team, with only Alabama in its way of an unblemished regular season and a spot in the SEC title game.

The Tigers won't ascend to No. 1 in the polls, but they'll gain enough points - coupled with their superior computer ratings - to be the new No. 1 team in the BCS standings. Oregon, the consensus No. 1 in the polls, will hold on to the No. 2 spot.

For the first time this season, the top two teams in the BCS standings will control their own destiny. If Oregon and Auburn both win their remaining games, they will meet in the BCS title game no matter what happens to any other team in any other game.

So the big loser of the week is the one that didn't even play. Boise State. The Broncos have a Tuesday night date with Louisiana Tech, but no matter what happens from here on out, they will not have a chance to play for the BCS championship without a loss by Oregon or Auburn. There's a possibility they might even drop to No. 3 in one of the polls this week.

Only seven teams now remain unbeaten: TCU, Utah, Michigan State and Missouri are the others. There may be as many as six undefeated teams at the end of the season (if highly unlikely) since TCU and Utah will face each other. And one-loss teams, particularly Alabama, are now creeping back into the picture.

Yeah, so much for that whole "the SEC is finished" business.

This week's projected BCS standings: 1. Auburn, 2. Oregon, 3. Boise State, 4. TCU, 5. Michigan State, 6. Missouri, 7. Alabama, 8. Utah, 9. Wisconsin, 10. LSU, 11. Oklahoma, 12. Ohio State, 13. Stanford, 14. Nebraska, 15. Florida State.

31 comments:

Wheell said...

Auburn @ AlaBama on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Huge game. Alabama might still control their own destiny at that point depending on what else happens between now and then.

Donald said...

I said it when "Guru" wrote that the BCS is finished that Bama would be in the game if they win out. Now, that's even more true. If Bama wins out, thus removing Auburn themselves, they will reach #2 which is all that is needed to make the game. This is without anyone else losing. If Auburn wins out, they are in the game. Really, as long as neither drop another game, the winner of that game is a BCS title shot play-in game.

Donald said...

Sorry, on above comment, meant to say when "Guru" said SEC is finished.

Anonymous said...

Mizzou beat an Oklahoma team that is clearly not the #1 team in the land. Thus, moving all the way up to #6 would be travesty. The Huskers will beat those rednecks for sure

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy for Oregon to be #2, Number one seems to be cursed on the road this year. 3 #1s, 3 road games, 3 game days visit from ESPN, 3 upsets. I'll take #2 right now

Anonymous said...

Let's assume Mich St and Mizzou lose. If at year's end BCS #5 Bama knocks off an unbeaten, #1 in the BCS Auburn and Oregon, Boise and TCU win, would it be a lock for Bama to jump Boise and TCU in the BCS to get to #2 headed into the SEC Championship game?

Anonymous said...

Assuming Mizzou will lose is a rather large assumption.

Anonymous said...

Mizzou will lose to Nebraska next week. Michigan State's only remaining challenge is finishing the season at Penn State.

Anonymous said...

...or that game next week in Iowa City.

Anonymous said...

I would hardly call Penn State a challenge for Mich St. They are pathetic. But, THEY ARE - PENN STATE.

Anonymous said...

The Guru's prediction is pretty much nonsense that Auburn will vault to #1 in the BCS. We'll see in a few hours. :-)

Bryan Peterson said...

Rednecks? Classy, feel free to leave your name if throw out such ignorant comments.

CuseFanInSoCal said...

Call me crazy. But I think the Mad Hatter beats 'Bama next week, and the Tide wins the Iron Bowl anyway... nicely knocking the SEC out of the picture gain.

Anonymous said...

It's all a joke anyway. Just the mere fact that the cupcakes of the SEC are even being mentioned as championship contenders is a joke. The american people will never see a playoff until the american people make it financially justifiable to do so - but we buy into watching these BcS games so we have something else to talk about at the coffee pot. What really is a shame is that the best team, even if they win out, doesn't control their destiny... Boise State would run the table in the SEC - twice over and then some.

Underdog Rally said...

I have to admit that I love U.S. college football for the drama that arises from die-hard, outraged fans with wild claims of superiority, media coverage with an agenda, sketchy statistical analysis and the sheer brilliance of the BCS business model. Keep on believing!

Does anyone else find it hilarious that MSU is Sagarin's BCS number 2, but is 25 in Sagarin's predictor (meanwhile Alabama is 17 BCS, 2 predictor). It's too bad there aren't enough outraged statisticians to make a dent by boycotting Bowls.

Kevin Combs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaryLee said...

Boise State's schedule difficulty (or lack thereof) is so weak that I would GLADLY love to see almost any of the SEC teams play them - even one of the ones not ranked!

Anonymous said...

BSU's schedule is arguably just as difficult as any over-rated SEC team. The SEC doesn't play ANYBODY of note OOC - noone. Nada. Zilch. And yet, they hype up their conference as if they were made from Thor's hammer. HYPE. Case in point - LSU should've lost to UT. Oregon destroyed UT. Oregon has lost to BSU 2 years in a row. BSU > Oregon > any SEC team. You guys keep saying the SEC is the hardest conference blah blah blah, but you'll do nothing OOC to prove it. HYPE. Now tell me about those 4 consectutive BcS championships... where you never played the actual best teams to win them. Go ahead - keep believing the hype. God, please let Alabama/Auburn play BSU in the champ game!? Please? It's time the SEC woke up from their hype dream.

Anonymous said...

Guru I was wondering if you have changed your mind on your statement that the computers don't matter because they are looking like a factor this year.

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe a Michigan St team with a Sagarin SOS of 65 can even be in the conversation. They needed special teams "trickeration" just to beat Notre Dame (at home) and Northwestern. Ohio St at 72. Wisconsin at 54. All these teams are pretty much consistent with Boise State and TCU.

CuseFanInSoCal said...

The computers have a lot more impact on the BCS rankings when there's a large difference between the computers and the humans, and the humans are unclear (there's surprising unanimity among voters that Oregon is #1 -- which I agree with -- but after that there's a wide divergence). Usually by the end of the season there aren't large differences between the computers and the polls, while the pollsters have pretty much decided who they're going to anoint #1 and #2.

LAprGuy said...

Guru was nearly right, but hard to predict that Auburn would become a fan darling. (Hey, wasn't the Michigan qb the runaway Heisman winner two weeks ago?!)

Keep in mind that the "computers" are selected because of their ability to closely mimic the human polls, which they will do once there's enough Win-Loss data.

The SEC (and Big Ten) puff up their W-L computer "data" by scheduling non-competitive non-conference games that positively impact their rankings and that of their conference mates.

Or, at least it APPEARS that way, but since NOBODY ACTUALLY KNOWS WHETHER THE COMPUTER DATA IS ACCURATE, we get what we get.

In any case, the outrage will not come from 12-0 Boise being left out of the title game, but from 12-0 Michigan State being left out after 12-1 Alabama beats Auburn and moves back into a top 2 computer rating.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the SEC article, the guru also has to retract his article about the value of the computers. Auburn is 3 in the polls, and 1 in the BCS. Strength of schedule is back, as it should be.

Anonymous said...

"You guys keep saying the SEC is the hardest conference blah blah blah, but you'll do nothing OOC to prove it." How's 4 national champoinships in a row for you -- all out of conference. Most of those times, as with UF and LSU, the SEC had to back into the game due to a last minute unexpected loss (e.g. West Virginia, Texas Tech, etc.). There's your proof.

Underdog Rally said...

The way the system is currently set, up, I don't think claiming the 4 national championship is really a claim to superiority. In order to win the championship, you have to get there first, and the fact that a conference produces "national title contenders" so regularly just tells you that it's not necessarily that hard to get through their schedule. Last year, the SEC had two teams go undefeated through conference play! Win out, then scheme for two big games - that's pretty much the argument against Boise, ironically. This shouldn't be a knock against the whole conference, as there are a couple of teams (i.e. LSU, Georgia previously, Alabama recently) that have scheduled aggressively.

Maybe a better pointer would be bowl win comparisons. I claim instead that the SEC is good because they consistently use that extra month well. They don't dominate as much as fans would have you believe, but consistent winning records (6-4 last year, 5-4 AQ) is a pretty good marker.

I don't think any "SEC stranglehold" will end until they start taking heavy end-season and bowl losses. The current computer algorithms have a positive feedback... SEC teams that beat Florida are still getting credit as if they beat last year's Florida team. It's actually kind of funny that both the polls and the computer have such a bias...Tim Tebow lives on!

Bill Brown said...

Gotta love the insanity in some of these posts. I seriously hope none of these folks makes a living as a gambler.

========================
It's all a joke anyway. Just the mere fact that the cupcakes of the SEC are even being mentioned as championship contenders is a joke.
========================
REPLY:
Which cupcakes are you talking about?

===============
The american people will never see a playoff until the american people make it financially justifiable to do so - but we buy into watching these BcS games so we have something else to talk about at the coffee pot.
============================

REPLY:

But you can't blame that on the SEC. The SEC has been screaming for a playoff for 30 years now. It's the Big Ten and their love affair with the Rose Bowl that prevents a true playoff.

========================
What really is a shame is that the best team, even if they win out, doesn't control their destiny... Boise State would run the table in the SEC - twice over and then some.
========================

REPLY:

Boise State? The same team that is 0-5 against the SEC in its history would win out?

Sure they would. That's why they never schedule more than one tough game per year.

Bill Brown said...

Now here is where the Boise fans like to cherry pick their "facts."

==============
Case in point - LSU should've lost to UT.
=============
REPLY:
Arguable point. LSU shouldn't have needed the Milacle to win, but so what?

================
Oregon destroyed UT. Oregon has lost to BSU 2 years in a row. BSU > Oregon > any SEC team.
================
REPLY:
So let's follow the logic here:

2010 Oregon beat 2010 Tennessee. But 2008 and 2009 Boise beat 2008-09 Oregon (Note - not even the same team)...and therefore, BSU is better than "any" SEC team?

Now notice what Boise fans NEVER talk about - if you go back to 2008 when you beat Oregon, gues what? You LOST to TCU. So how can you folks say you deserve to be ahead of TCU, who plays a tougher schedule and is 2-1 against you since 2007? How exactly do you do that?

=================
You guys keep saying the SEC is the hardest conference blah blah blah, but you'll do nothing OOC to prove it. HYPE.
=================

REPLY:

19-9 in bowl games last 3 years and 3 losses were by one team.

Oh -and what exactly has BOISE done to prove anything? Beat Oklahoma four years ago with a different team? Beat a Va Tech team by FEWER POINTS than James Madison did?

===================
Now tell me about those 4 consectutive BcS championships... where you never played the actual best teams to win them.
===================

REPLY:

Well, duh, this goes without saying. If you ARE the best team then you can't really PLAY the best team now, can you
========================
Go ahead - keep believing the hype. God, please let Alabama/Auburn play BSU in the champ game!? Please? It's time the SEC woke up from their hype dream.

=====================

Sure. Hype. Four national titles and not a thing you can do about it.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think claiming the 4 national championship is really a claim to superiority." <<<=== How many national championships in a row do you need then? One year, LSU had 2 losses -- demonstrating the difficulty of the SEC schedule. Don't forget also that the SEC players are in a war just about every week...playing tough games over and over is the trick. Playing 2 "tough" games as Boise claims in the course of an entire season is much easier -- many teams can handle that just the same. Boise can prepare for weeks in advance, and their players don't get injured nearly as much. That's the difference between a tough schedule and a easy one.

Underdog Rally said...

@Anonymous
Would you claim that the big 10 was the best conference when Ohio State won, or that the Pac-10 was the best conference when USC was on top?

I'm not actually sure where this "tough SEC games" idea comes from, except that I hear it a lot from fans and on ESPN. All the conferences have had up and down years. If you're an SEC fan defending your conference, that's fine. But if you're actually interested in the BCS business model, and the math/methodology behind it, then I'm not sure how to clarify this. Tough conferences don't let two teams run through undefeated.

Note that the SEC NC run has come after the BCS formula was tweaked multiple times to give the desired output. Billingsley's system currently gives Alabama credit for beating last year's Florida team. And Boise is getting credit for beating TCU!

The 2-loss LSU example isn't that great either. Ohio State-LSU was a lucrative game, and funnily enough, neither of those two teams had the highest computer rating! They were quite literally voted in. I'm an LSU fan AND an Ohio State fan, and I thought it was great they played each other! But I also thought that the way they fell into the NCG was really dubious, even if it was predictably dubious.

As I wrote before, to win the BCS championship, you have to get there first. #wins vs SOS is valued differently by each computer, but voters have a history of preferring #wins (or more accurately, #televised wins). The end result is that "tough" conference schedules don't produce national championship contenders - especially now that you need 1 loss or less. The best route to BCS is what Ohio State and the top SEC teams have been doing - a few cupcakes, one decent OOC, an easy conference schedule with 2-3 tough conference games, and a big fan base.

The BCS is a business to make money through lucrative games. They brand their feature game as a National Championship, but they do it with really bad math, coaches who don't watch the games, and voters who pick the teams as they want the outcome to be. I don't think it makes sense to ask them for impartial analysis anymore than you could ask McDonalds to grill you up a fresh steak...that's not their product.

So that's why I claim that BCS championships aren't a good indicator, while bowl records against supposedly evenly matched teams is. If you want to claim that the SEC is good, point to the 48-31 bowl record over the last decade, rather than to 4 National Championships.

LAprGuy said...

@Underdog Rally - Props for a very thoughtful post.

captain said...

anon,your a fine example of no football understanding.if the S.E.C. is cupcake as you say why do we keep so many teams in the top ten EVERY year.not to metion the top 25.you sound like an addict defending the use of the crack pipe.FACTS friend.you cant see the forest for the trees.

Google